Being the gardener that I am, the Bible verses that mention growing things always catch my attention. Sowing and reaping in the Bible are particularly interesting because they can be used in so many illustrations.
Sowing and Reaping in the Bible
Let’s begin with scriptures on sowing and reaping. I think the most well known is the one from Hosea 10, but there are several scriptures on sowing and reaping in the Bible.
Sometimes their meanings are easy to understand such as Leviticus 19:9.
“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.”
I have often thought about what a kind, merciful, and generous God we serve that He commanded people to leave a portion of their crops to help the poor. Isn’t that just like him? It forces me to think back to my garden this summer and check to see that I shared my own harvest. How often do we need a reminder to share?
“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Corinthians 9:6)
Paul is talking about giving in this verse. I think it can apply to many aspects of life. The more time you invest in a relationship, the healthier it will be. The more effort you put into a project, the more successful it will be. Sowing and reaping is a concept we see over and over.
What I want to share with you today is a verse that has been on my heart all week. Last Monday morning, I opened my Bible to Hosea chapter 10.
It begins with “Israel is a luxuriant vine that yields its fruit”.
God goes on to say that they are idolatrous and that He will destroy their altars. Isn’t it something though that they start out as a luxuriant vine? I want to be a luxuriant vine! Images of morning glories and clematis fill my head. Thick leaves with beautiful flowers. Grape vines heavy with fruit is my next thought. Yes, I do want to be a luxuriant vine!
Jesus says, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
We can be a luxriant vine through Christ and our obedience to him! But back to Hosea.
This chapter isn’t exactly happy. Israel, Judah, and the surrounding nations have not served God and are suffering because of it. The verse that has been swirling around my head this week is verse 12.
“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.”
Sow, reap, break up, rain. These are all gardening terms. I sow my seeds, reap my harvest, till my ground, and pray for rain. My summer is right here in this verse. BUT what about the rest? righteousness? mercy? seek the LORD? Have I also diligently thought about these necessities?
What Does the Bible Mean by Sowing and Reaping?
Sowing and reaping are directly related.
To sow would mean to plant. How does one plant righteousness? For me, as a mom, I feel as if I’m planting rightousness by setting a good example for my kids. When I seek God’s direction in my every day life and follow the instructions in His word, I am planting righteousness. Unfortunately, I fall short of this daily.
How do I sow righteousness in my heart? I think that is something that comes by reading God’s word and then applying it to our lives. Do you ever read a verse that you’ve read a dozen times before and suddenly it speaks to you? As people, we are constantly growing and changing. The word of God is alive and ready to teach us if we allow God to sow it in our hearts.
Reap in Mercy
One definition for mercy is “compassionate treatment of those in distress”. This conjurs up the homeless person on the street corner or an abused child. Of course, we should help them too, but what about the every day people in distress? The sibling whose car broke down, the friend who is dealing with depression, or the grandmother living in a nursing home? How often do we overlook our neighbors? Do you even know your neighbors?
How often do I have the opportunity to show mercy to those close to me and miss it because I’m consumed with my own life, thoughts, and feelings?
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Break up your Fallow Ground
I will be honest, I had to look up the definition of fallow. It means “cultivated land that is allowed to lie idle during the growing season”. This brought on an “aha!” moment! Just like the flashlight in “How God’s Light Overcomes Darkness and Fear”
How often has my heart been fallow? Sitting idle, resting, not producing. God says to break it up! Plant it so that it bears fruit! Sometimes we need those seasons of rest, especially after a particularly troublesome time. Don’t stay there! Grow!
Growing is something that has been on my heart since I lost Rebekah. I don’t want this horrible time in my life to be a waste. I don’t want her to have died in vain. My prayer has been just that. Let her death bring about something for your glory.
For it is time to seek the LORD (with all your heart)
It is time to put away our idleness, selfishness, and idolatry (whatever that is in your life) and seek our Creator. Look to Him for guidance, peace, joy, and love. It’s there, we just need to seek it.
Seek is an important word here. We all expect blessing to flow, don’t we? There are various teachings on this. Some say to proclaim your blessing. Others say to faithfully wait. Hosea says to seek the LORD that He rains righteousness upon you.
“But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deurteronomy 4:29)
What is Righteousness Anyway?
By definition righteousness is “acting in accord with divine or moral law : free from guilt or sin”. We know that we cannot be free from guilt or sin- that’s what salvation is for. So then how will He rain rightousness upon us?
Obedience to HIs word and submission to His will are the two things that come to mind. Remember that God is talking here to people that have fallen into idolatry. It is time to put those idols away, to destroy their altars, and to seek the true God. When we seek Him, we will see Him in His righteousness and want to be like Him.
Sowing and Reaping in the Bible
What about you? Which part of this verse speaks to you? Sowing and reaping in the Bible is a wonderful concept to explore. Do you have a sowing and reaping scripture that you apply to your life?
God speaks to me so much through gardening. Isn’t it amazing how He meets us where we are? If you are a gardener, I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments below (or even if you aren’t a gardener!).
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