Cultivate the hardened ground
“O Israel,” says the Lord, “if you wanted to return to me, you could. You could throw away your detestable idols and stray away no more. Then when you swear by my name, saying, ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’ you could do so with truth, justice, and righteousness. Then you would be a blessing to the nations of the world, and all people would come and praise my name.” This is what the Lord says to the people of Judah and Jerusalem: “Plow up the hard ground of your hearts! Do not waste your good seed among thorns. O people of Judah and Jerusalem, surrender your pride and power. Jeremiah 4:1-4
From the text, God has to rebuke the Israelites through prophet Jeremiah. They have hardened their hearts by throwing away what they used to do, worshiping God and instead they replaced it with their worship of idols. They let the seed of God’s word thrown among the thorns. Instead of letting their hearts get cultivated so that it will be sown with God’s word, they left it unattended. Another instance where the Hebrew word was used and translated in English “hard” as in v. 4 was in Hosea 10:12; “‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.’” It will not be wise if a child of God after receiving God’s righteousness will not cultivate the new life received and will not let the grace of God continue to abound so that growth will take place that will produce a great harvest. This kind of decision will lead to choosing philosophies and wisdom of this ungodly world. Now that there are more opportunities to experience the growth God intends for a believer today compared with ancient Israel and yet there are Christians who are guilty of not taking advantage of these opportunities. The ancient Israel did not have the completed word of God while Christians in modern times have an easy access to the Bible. Christians are indwelt by the Holy Spirit so that their lives will not get cluttered by the pursuit of the things of the world. It is time to break and plow the hard ground of your heart and let God’s righteousness be sown in it and let God’s mercy and forgiveness prevails. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:7-8).