If the grace of God prevail not to destroy the love of sin in us,
it is just that the providence of God should destroy the fuel of sin about us,
and that what men have made idols of should be spoiled.
Because God does not desire the ruin of sinners, He does desire their chastisement.
1 Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself: according to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images.
2 Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty: he shall break down their altars, he shall spoil their images.
3 For now they shall say, We have no king, because we feared not the LORD; what then should a king do to us?
4 They have spoken words, swearing falsely in making a covenant: thus judgment springeth up as hemlock in the furrows of the field.
5 The inhabitants of Samaria shall fear because of the calves of Beth-aven: for the people thereof shall mourn over it, and the priests thereof that rejoiced on it, for the glory thereof, because it is departed from it.
6 It shall be also carried unto Assyria for a present to king Jareb: Ephraim shall receive shame, and Israel shall be ashamed of his own counsel.
7 As for Samaria, her king is cut off as the foam upon the water.
8 The high places also of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed: the thorn and the thistle shall come up on their altars; and they shall say to the mountains, Cover us; and to the hills, Fall on us.
9 O Israel, thou hast sinned from the days of Gibeah: there they stood: the battle in Gibeah against the children of iniquity did not overtake them.
10 It is in my desire that I should chastise them; and the people shall be gathered against them, when they shall bind themselves in their two furrows.
11 And Ephraim is as an heifer that is taught, and loveth to tread out the corn; but I passed over upon her fair neck: I will make Ephraim to ride; Judah shall plow, and Jacob shall break his clods.
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.
13 Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men.
14 Therefore shall a tumult arise among thy people, and all thy fortresses shall be spoiled, as Shalman spoiled Beth-arbel in the day of battle: the mother was dashed in pieces upon her children.
15 So shall Beth-el do unto you because of your great wickedness: in a morning shall the king of Israel utterly be cut off.
Hosea 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Hosea 10 – ”Break Up Your Fallow Ground.”
Israel brought forth fruit, but not such as God could delight in. It was corrupt and evil. How great a disappointment to the Great Cultivator! The land was covered with obelisks and altars, the symbols of idolatry, and the Canaanites themselves had not been more shameless in sin. But notice the terrible judgments that must befall. There would be revolution, for when men say, We fear not the Lord, they will go on to say, We fear not the king. Beth-aven, the “house of vanity,” would replace Beth-el, the “house of God.” The golden calves would be carried off by the conqueror. The king would perish as foam upon the water. The yoke of conquest would be placed on Ephraim’s fair neck. The fortresses of Israel would be carried by assault, with all the accompaniments of savage warfare. Is it not “an evil thing and bitter” (Jeremiah 2:19) to forsake the Lord!
Is it not time that we should look into our hearts and lives, break up the fallow ground, now covered with thorns and thistles, and begin to sow in righteousness? Let us ask God to drive the plowshares of deep soul-searching and conviction across the hard and sterile acres of our hearts, and sow them with his good seed. (Meyer)
Hosea 10:12—Break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD.
The fallow ground. — There is a great deal of fallow ground in our hearts and lives; it has borne no crops of righteousness. Weeds have covered the unfruitful acres with their rank growth, and have scattered their thistledown into other lots. The rain has fallen and the man has shone in vain. In some cases our daily business life—in other cases our social life—is a blank, so far as religious usefulness is concerned. God gets no revenue from these barren fallow tracts. But the prophet bids us ascertain what they are, and break up the hard, caked surface by ploughshare and spade.
Breaking up the clods. — In his great sermon on this text, Finney exhorts to break up the fallow ground by the payment of neglected debts; the putting aside of evil habits; the righting of old wrongs; the forgiveness of old injuries.
It is time to seek the Lord. — The days are passing over us so rapidly, and we shall be at the end before we are well aware. “It is high time to awake out of sleep: … The night is far spent, the day is at hand” (Romans 13:11-12). May not the time past suffice us to have been barren and unfruitful; and shall we not make the best of the time which remains?
He will come and rain. — What a glorious promise! He will come and rain down righteousness. It is parallel to the words of the psalm (Psalms 85:11): “Righteousness shall look down from heaven.” It is certain that righteousness will never spring up in the furrows of our souls unless it has come down to us from the heart of God. In us are only the dark, bare, liveless clods, lying open in their need: in Him all that is pure, and holy, and righteous—but God waits to rain it down in plentiful showers. (Meyer)