“Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love…But you have planted wickedness, you have reaped evil.”
Hosea 10:12-13 (NIV UK)
The month of June is a time of planting in many agricultural areas. The plan is to prepare for a good harvest.
Surely we want a harvest that will not fail: this is Hosea’s thought in the above passage. He has explained already that the Israelites placed too much confidence in themselves. He warned, “You have depended on your own strength”. By using sowing and reaping as an analogy for human activity, he explained that people were sowing wrong habits that in the end would result in trouble, sorrow and disaster. Previously Hosea wrote, “They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind” (8:7).
Paul echoes Hosea’s message in Galatians 6:8, “The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction”. Paul describes the “acts of the sinful nature” as “obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies and the like”. This broad description more or less takes in the history of humanity, and, perhaps, if we are honest with ourselves, each of us has participated to some degree in one or more of those acts.
Can we avoid reaping the negative results of the bad things we have sown? This is what the Gospel of Jesus is about. Jesus has stepped in and broken our own personal cycle of self-destruction. We don’t have to reap what we have sown. “He forgave us our sins”, that is, the evil we sow; and, as for reaping the harvest we were due, “he took it away, nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:13-14). Now having been saved by Christ, we participate in the sowing of his righteousness, the end of which is, as Hosea wrote, “unfailing love”.
How do we participate in Christ? It is by accepting his grace and by his working in us to produce the harvest of the fruit of the Spirit – “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 6:22).
As Paul explains, again in Galatians 6:8, “the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life”.
Study by James Henderson from Day By Day