Fallow Fields and Hard Hearts
(Jeremiah 3:6-25; 4:1-31; 5:1-13)
In today’s Scripture readings, we have discovered more detail about the Lord’s love for His people. In addition, we have found, in the Old Testament book of Jeremiah, how God has called His own by such fond and familiar names as sons, daughters and even spouse. Throughout the Bible, Jehovah refers to His people as His bride, His beloved and even the treasure of His heart.
Jeremiah declared a promise of God, offering true and loyal leaders to guide the people belonging to the Lord:
"’Return, faithless people,’
declares the Lord,
‘for I am your husband. I will choose you –
one from a town and two from a clan –
and bring you to Zion.
Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart,
who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.’”
(Jeremiah 3:14-15, NIV, emphasis added)
However, the Lord also issued conditions for this promise. Jehovah vowed to return His exiled people, restoring them in the homeland He had declared to be their heritage, if only they would return to Him. Ever since Abraham, God had called His people to be circumcised, as a sign of their faith and commitment to the Lord.
However, Hebrew circumcision was only to be an outward indication of a heart-centered covenant. Clearly, the Lord valued the condition of the heart even more. Jeremiah called God’s people to a spiritual and attitudinal circumcision of the heart itself.
“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.
Change your hearts before the Lord,
or My anger will burn like an unquenchable fire
because of all your sins.’”
How might we have become hard-hearted? If we consider the human heart as a homeland for the Holy One, in what condition does He find it? Do our attitudes offer arable acreage? Does our faithfulness make room for the Father’s farming? What will it take to break up the hardness of our hearts, so that the Holy Lord may plant His truth and bring His spiritual fruit in our lives?
Will you pray with me?
You have promised to be
For You love us more than we can fathom.
Soften our hearts.
Guide us gently
To make room for more of You.
Cultivate our souls,
So that only Your fruit may appear,
Blessing Your own heart.