Hosea 10:12 says: “Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the LORD, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.” Israel was guilty of sin. Despite God’s constant love and attention, His own special people repudiated their status as chosen people. God’s prophets (in this case Hosea) sounded warnings as they sought to bring Israel to repentance. Their rebellion and the possibility of captivity might be averted if God’s people would turn, repent, and be faithful service to their Creator. Deceitful hearts could only bring spiritual ruin (Hosea 10:2). Turning from their luxuriant prosperity, Israel turned to idols. Israel’s kings were ineffective in protecting their citizens from the imposing threat of Assyrian invasion. Conditions worsened to the point that any king would be without power to help.
Promises made but not kept, oaths sworn but lightly ignored, and treaties with pagan nations, added to the ruin of God’s people. Poisonous weeds choked the life out of Israel (Hosea 4:4). God’s people lost their focus. Instead of being concerned about true worship, Israel was more concerned about their false gods. It would only be after God’s people were carried into captivity that they would see the folly of their sin—if then. Helpless idols would be swept away as lifeless twigs in a river.
What could God’s people do? They could once again sow righteousness. How often had they perverted what was right? How often had they taken advantage of the poor and downtrodden? Just as plowing the field is hard work, it would be difficult for Israel to change—but they could change if they wanted to! Only by seeking the Lord and His right ways could Israel prevent the impending invasion of the Assyrians and the soon-to-come captivity.
Changing one’s life is hard work. It is hard work because it requires an honest examination of one’s own heart. Our motives, our desires, and our agendas, get in the way of the critical evaluation we need to make to help us see our greatest need! Seeking righteousness involves regarding others in the right way; Israel missed the essential, everyday opportunities to do good to others. Anytime we become absorbed in ourselves, we tend to discount the value and needs of others. Sadly, this kind of life leads us away from God. Seeking a relationship with Him becomes our greatest challenge and remains our greatest need. Remember: Israel could have changed. So can we.