Monday, January 8, 2018

Hosea: fallow ground

In this blog on Kelly Needham's inductive study on Hosea, I will go through her techniques, and then just jump to my conclusion.

Here is the text: Hosea 10:11-15

11 Ephraim was a trained calf that loved to thresh, and I spared her fair neck; but I will put Ephraim to the yoke; Judah must plow; Jacob must harrow for himself. 12 Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you. 13 You have plowed iniquity; you have reaped injustice; you have eaten the fruit of lies. Because you have trusted in your own way and in the multitude of your warriors, 14 therefore the tumult of war shall arise among your people, and all your fortresses shall be destroyed, as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel on the day of battle; mothers were dashed in pieces with their children. 15 Thus it shall be done to you, O Bethel, because of your great evil. At dawn the king of Israel shall be utterly cut off

1. Define words such as thresh, harrow, and fallow.

Thresh means to separate grain from a plant, usually with a flail or repetitive motion. 

Harrow is an implement consisting of a heavy frame set with teeth or tines that is dragged over plowed land to break up clods, remove weeds, and cover seed.

I usually think of the term "harrowing" to describe a scary experience.

Fallow means farmland that is left plowed and harrowed but unsown so that it will regain its fertility.

When God calls someone to repent, that person's salvation is all the work of God and nobody else.  Nothing you did made God choose you for salvation.  He just did it because he wanted to.  But afterward, you have to work to repent and change your life.  And God usually dumps your whole world upside-down. And it is harrowing.  I discovered anger and impulses in my life that need to be totally stripped away, and it has not been fun.  I've even experienced a threshing, a return to boring repetition that seems meaningless and back to square one.  Maybe soon I will see a light at the end of the tunnel and be restored to something else.

2. Look at the cross-references.

3. Use the rest of the Bible.

4. Reread the passage.

At the end, the main thing I thought about was the parable of the sower that Jesus tells.  There are four soils.  One is a path where seed falls, but birds eat it up and nothing happens.  The other soils are rocky or thorny.  Plants grow for a time but soon die away due to having no true root in Jesus or by being choked by worries and other people.  And the last is good soil where the plants thrive. 

And I think, the good soil was probably rocky and thorny once.  It might even have been a path.  But God came with a bulldozer and cleared the land and slowly chipped away things I thought were important so that I could focus on the Lord and not worry about what other people think.  It's painful, but it's wonderful, too.  It makes me realize that I'm not as amazing as I think I am.  But God is.  I am not enough, but Jesus is.

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