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Date: 11 July, 2019
Text: Hosea 10:12
ill. Israel trip - Tel Dan Nature Reserve- Northern point in Israel beneath Mt. Hermon. We looked from there into Syria and Lebanon.
Israel and Judah were both ruled by King David and King Solomon. But, when Solomon's son, Rehoboam came to power, Israel Rebelled - (Jeroboam, Solomon's servant became King of what was the Northern Kingdom.)
He immediately sets up an idolatrous temple. We saw the remains of this temple in Israel.
Hosea, the prophet who wrote the book of Hosea, is a prophet to this northern kingdom. He is ministering 200 years after the kingdoms are divided and Israel as a nation is very wicked.
ill. In Chapter 3 God gives a picture of Israel of His love.
Hos 3:1 Then said the LORD unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.
In Chapter 4 God declares their great spiritual adultery against Him.
1 Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.
2 By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood.
3 Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away.
9 ....and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings.
10 For they shall eat, and not have enough: they shall commit whoredom, and shall not increase: because they have left off to take heed to the LORD.
11 Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart.
12 My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them: for the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from under their God.
13 They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, and burn incense upon the hills, under oaks and poplars and elms, because the shadow thereof is good: therefore your daughters shall commit whoredom, and your spouses shall commit adultery.
exp. Because of their idolatry and sinful ways - THE SPIRITUAL FIELD OF ISRAEL WAS A BARREN WASTELAND. (Hosea 8:7 For they have sown the wind....)
Hosea 8:7 For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.
Israel did not have spiritual blessing.... BUT GOD IN HIS MERCY OFFERED IT STILL TO THEM.
exp. He said through His prophet, Hosea.....
Hosea 10:12 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.
My message this morning from this single verse is, "Cultivating a spiritual blessing."
exp. Israel did not have this blessing but she could have it if she would cutlivate her field.
We need to cultivate a spiritual blessing. (You may already have this - if you do - you have cultivated it. You may not have this - if you don't - it is because you have not cultivated it.) Are you cultivating your spiritual blessing?
How do you cultivate a spiritual blessing?
quote. Song from Sound of Music, "Nothing comes from nothing, Nothing ever could."
exp. If you see something accomplished, it took work to get it done.
ill. If you have ever seen something wonderful, someone worked to do it.
Creation - God worked and he rested on the 7th day.
National Galery - artists worked to paint their masterpiece.
Royal Mile - mason's worked to carve the stones and put them in place.
Fire Works - someone wired it, someone timed it, someone made them.
note: To stay with the idea in our text of cultivation..... beautiful farm fields don't just happen.
A. There is work to do. Sow to yourselves in righteousness....
exp. If you are going to sow, you will have to work at it.
question: Are you willing to work for spiritual blessing?
ill. Mac interrupted by studies at this point to write down words to his song...
"Jesus loves everybody in the house.
Noah built the ark.
Everyone died in the flood.
Noah built his ark every day."
exp. He'll get better - I'm sure. But, his song said.... Noah built his ark every day.... for 120 years.
It was work.
app. The ark didn't just happen. Cultivate spiritual blessing doesn't just happen. IT IS WORK.
B. There is work for you to do. Sow to yourselves in righteousness....
exp. If your field is going to be cultivated, you have to do it.
ill. In this day of cut backs.... hedge trimming.... we realized that if it was going to get done, we would have to do it - the Shore kids and their mum, when I got back I helped.... It got done, praise the Lord and it looks lovely.
exp. If the spiritual hedges around your field are in disrepair, you are the only one who can sort it.
ill. Led a young man to the Lord this week - Andy, alcoholic, 35 - been rough sleeping since 15.
exp. If Andy is going to get a spiritual blessing, there is work that HE MUST DO.
app. If you want a spiritually cultivated field, you're going to have to motivate yourself to work.
C. The work is sowing righteousness. Sow to yourselves in righteousness....
ill. Had a beautiful garden at our Clerk St. house. When we bought the home in Auchendinny, I thought, we'll never have a beautiful garden here. Even the grass was bad.
note: I could have felt badly for myself and accepted that it would just be a bad garden. BUT INSTEAD....WE....
1. Hand thatched the grass - 1-2 hours on each of the 4 lawn patches.
2. Walked with spikey shoes.
3. Fertilized, Watered, transplanted some grass.
4. Put down seed.
exp. I sowed to my garden RIGHT - good things and everything in my garden started to change.
app question: Have you just accepted the badness? Or have you cultivated spiritual blessing BY WORKING AT PUTTING RIGHT THINGS INTO YOUR LIFE.
1. Salvation (Putting Jesus in) and believer's baptism (Putting obedience in), the Lord's Supper
2. Church membership and attendance.
3. Personal and family Bible reading.
4. Personal and family prayer time.
5. Personal evangelism.
6. Worshipping God in giving God praise in Song and giving back to God.
final app. Your spiritual blessing isn't going to be cultivated without effort. You have to work at it.
exp. If you are going to work, you want to know it is a good investment of your labours.
ill. The Brea in Auchendinny has a one way bridge at the bottom of it.
- the chicane's had broken plastic cones
- debris filled the bike lanes on either side....
My boys and I went down to clean it up and when we got done it was beautiful, until the wind storm the next day blew so much debris over everything we had done.....
question: What is our hope if we work at cultivating a spiritual blessing?
A. The harvest is coming ...reap in mercy....
exp. God has given laws about sowing and reaping.
Gal 6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
exp. What you put in is what you will get out.
ill. Vegetable gardens in the States - do very well. Katie and I put in a small garden that was about 12x12. Benson as a 2 year old loved it. He would toddle over and start popping cherry tomatoes into his mouth. Unsuprisingly, we never harvested something we did not plant and always harvested what we did plant.
Gal 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
ill. A farmer could lose hope in the harvest and abandon a field, or he can dig in with confidence that sowing and reaping are God given laws of nature and keep farming in hope.
app. Don't give up on sowing the good things into your life. WHY? Because you will reap if you keep at it.
B. The harvest is certain. ...reap in mercy....
exp. Israel had to WORK at cultivating spiritual blessing. But, harvest would come BECAUSE OF God's mercy.
ill. I like guarantees on plants. I mentioned recently that I bought some juniper trees for my garden. They are called blue arrows and can grow up to 20 feet tall while being just two to three feet in diameter. I think they came from Norway. I had peace of mind when I bought them because they came with a five year guarantee.
exp. God has a guarantee for us in His Word as we sow righteousness - IT IS THAT HIS MERCY GUARANTEES YOUR LABOUR IS NOT IN VAIN.
ill. Kay Lee - our sowing righteous parenting seemed in vain - we were nearly hopeless - PRAISE GOD - there came a day when things changed and we realized that God had rewarded our sowing in her life.
1Co 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
app. Have you become discouraged in sowing righteousness because it seems vain? To cultivate your life, you must HOPE, WORK....
exp. We don't like change and it is often to our detriment.
ill. Grandma Shore was very independent. She got dementia and we began to realize that grandma had dimentia. She drove into an automated car wash, paniced and drove out of it. She had to give up her keys, eventually had to give up her house, then her flat....
app. My dad and mum have determined that they are going to learn from that and be ready to change earlier rather than later.
exp. As human beings we resist change - but the changes here are for our good. The sooner we let God change us the better.
A. Things need to change. ...break up your fallow ground:
exp. A spiritual plowing and breaking apart needs to take place.
ill. Soil has a way of melding together. My dad used to illustrate marriage (two lives becoming one) as two dirt clods that are melded together.
exp. That was a good illustration because soil becomes inseperable until you put in the plow and begin to break it apart.
app. There are things to which we feel inseparable. God says, "Break it up." It is time to change.
B. Things in your life. ...break up your fallow ground:
old song: 1 Not my brother, not my sister, but it's me, O Lord,
Standin' in the need of prayer;....
It's me, it's me, O Lord,
Standin' in the need of prayer;
It's me, it's me, O Lord,
Standin' in the need of prayer.
2 Not the preacher, not the deacon, but it's me, O Lord,
Standin' in the need of prayer;....
3 Not my father, not my mother, but it's me, O Lord,
Standin' in the need of prayer;....
4 Not the stranger, not my neighbor, but it's me, O Lord,
Standin' in the need of prayer;....It's me, it's me, it's me O Lord.....
app. What needs to change in YOUR life? We can think of plenty of things in other's lives, but YOUR FIELD is what needs cultivating! Are you ready to change?
C. Things that are unprofitable. ...break up your fallow ground:
exp. Fallow ground is wasted ground.
ill. Israel's ground was so bad - it had thorns, thistles and hemlock growing in it.
ill. Nature hike at Botanical gardens with children, terrifying story of hemlock as we got started and we abandoned the hike. You don't want to mess with hemlock as it is poisonous.
note: How many believers today has wasted fields or fields growing poison instead of cultivated blessings?
ill. I despise going to funerals where the only thing memorable about a man's life is how dedicated he was to football, or some hobby.... (fallow ground) I'd rather go to a funeral of a man of God who had a rich and blessed life for God.
app. Are you ready to change? You can't cultivate a field without changing it.
ill. Amber said - her parents told her brother that they were expecting Amber he said, "Good. Now I'll have someone to play hide and seek with." yes.... in five years. At that point Amber said he would probaby have hid her and not sought her....
exp. GOD IS ONLY FOUND BY THOSE WHO SEEK HIM.
Act 17:27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
App. God is the master gardener - he made the Garden of Eden. He alone can make our fields what they ought to be.
A. There is an urgency. ...for it is time to seek the LORD....
Ill. Children's funny skit in Germany - "Is it time?" One get's up, they all move over.
ill. Witnessing the Andy, Alcoholic, when I asked him, "Do you want to get saved?" He said he couldn't and pointed at his booze. He said, "I can't give that up. I need it." I said, "Andy, you need God." He poured it out on the ground and asked Jesus to come into His heart.
exp. You need to make the right decision today to obey Jesus! IT IS TIME!
hymn: Ira Sankey
1 Why do you wait, dear brother,
O why do you tarry so long?
Your Savior is waiting to give you
A place in His sanctified throng.
Why not, why not,
Why not come to Him now?
Why not, why not,
Why not come to Him now?
B. There is an activity. ...for it is time to seek the LORD....
Exp. How do you find Jesus?
ill. Ricky - Why has God allowed me to have this happen in the last three years? Doesn't God care? Can't he fix it? I said, "Ricky, it's not about a religion. It's about a relationship. Don't you realize God has a Baptist Minister talking to you right now letting you know that God does care and that God wants to meet your need? (I gave him a John and Romans and encouraged him to seek God.)
app. Are you blaming God for your fruitless life instead of seeking Him to make it right?
C. There is a deity. ...for it is time to seek the LORD....
exp. I don't even know what Ricky's problem is, but I know God can meet His need.
Gen 18:14 Is any thing too hard for the LORD?
ill. Stephen Saint - telling how much his dad loved the Waarani indians, his aunt love them too, he thought they must be a very special people to be loved so much. I watched as he spoke with his arm around the man who speared his father to death. He loved this man because God had made this man new.
app. If a man could love the murderer of his father, is there anything too hard for God? If you want your fallow field to be fruitful, you need to SEEK the master Gardener. WORK, HOPE, CHANGE, SEEK, ....
ill. A farmer must often wait.
1.) Wait for the right season.
2.) Wait for the right weather. (Bobby, farmer by us....making hay, haylage....)
a. Rain to water the crops.
b. Rain to go away to harvest the crops.
exp. Fields aren't cultivated and grown to blessing overnight. If you want spiritual blessing you will need to be patient and wait.....
A. Wait for Him. ...till he come and rain righteousness upon you.
exp. Israel was far from God, but if they would get to work on their field, they could expect God to show up.
ill. I enjoy helping people. But, I don't like to help someone who doesn't help themselves.
Jas 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.
app. Are you expecting God to show up when you don't? Why aren't you there to meet Him. He NEVER fails to meet with those who WAIT ON HIM.
B. Wait for blessings. ...till he come and rain righteousness upon you.
exp. Farmers patiently wait for God to water their fields.
Jas 5:7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
GOD WILL SEND THE SPIRITUAL SHOWERS TO YOUR FIELD.
Eze 34:26 And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.
hymn: 1 There shall be showers of blessing:
This is the promise of love;
There shall be seasons refreshing,
Sent from the Savior above.
2 There shall be showers of blessing--
Precious reviving again;
Over the hills and the valleys,
Sound of abundance of rain. [Chorus]
3 There shall be showers of blessing:
Send them upon us, O Lord;
Grant to us now a refreshing;
Come and now honor Thy word. [Chorus]
4 There shall be showers of blessing:
Oh, that today they might fall,
Now as to God we're confessing,
Now as on Jesus we call
app. Does your heart cry out like the chorus of that hymn
- Showers of blessing,
Showers of blessing we need;
Mercy drops 'round us are falling,
But for the showers we plead.
app. The blessing is coming. WAIT FOR IT! He will rain righteousness.
C. Wait for revival. ...till he come and rain righteousness upon you.
Ill. Picked up a rain guage this week - .4 in of rain, .45 in. of rain.... DON'T COMPLAIN ABOUT THE RAIN IT IS WHAT BRINGS LIFE TO OUR GARDENS.
exp. When God comes and rains righteousness on a cultivated field (upon you) your field is going to come alive - IT WILL BE REVIVED!
app. If you are cultivating a field, you must WAIT ON GOD!
Israel was living a barren spiritual life - but it didn't have to be that way.
God said - CULTIVATE A SPIRITUAL BLESSING.
Work - It won't just happen.
Hope - Mercy will make certain it happens IF you work.
Change - You can't stay the same and cultivate a spiritual blessing.
Seek - you need the master Gadener
Wait - He will come, blessing will come, revival will come!
What is your field like today? Do you need this message? Are you going to stay that same or cultivate a spiritual blessing?