Let the Word Speak!

Hosea 10:12: Stop Digging!

Sow for yourselves righteousness;

reap steadfast love;

break up your fallow ground,

for it is the time to seek the Lord,

that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.

English Standard Version

One of my favorite adages is “When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging!”

Hosea expressed this same thought in the verse above. In his messages, Hosea described how God’s people had rejected God’s teaching, built worship places for pagan gods, and chosen to believe in their own armies and alliances for their protection. Hosea, like other prophets, called the people to repent. In this verse, he makes repentance easy for people to understand – stop digging.

Do you see God’s grace at work in this verse?

God could have told the Hebrew people first to destroy all the pagan temples, melt all the idols, and execute the pagan priests. God could have required thousands of repentance offerings burning on altars all across the country, with every man, woman, and child dressed in sackcloth. After the people had shown their rejection of all the evil they had perpetrated, God could have agreed to forgive them.

Instead, God’s requirement for repentance starts very small: “do good.”

Simple acts, choosing righteousness over evil, as tiny as seeds, yield crops of God’s unfailing love. Simple acts of faith, like tilling the ground, show faith that God will bring blessings, and God is always faithful to us. Naturally, God’s plan for the Hebrew people included greater evidences of repentance, including ridding the country of pagan worship, but God’s first step is intentionally small.

When we find that we have done wrong, whether through our choices, our treatment of others, or our negligence, we want to make things right and fix those things that we caused to break. Our intentions are good, but our plans for our own repentance and reparation may be unrealistic and self-centered. We don’t have enough strength or insight to make significant changes in ourselves – but God does. We don’t have enough resources or wisdom to fix what we have broken, and often, we are too embedded in problems we have created to be solutions – but God can.

What God through Hosea called the Hebrew people to do, and what God today calls us to do, is the same as God called Saul to do when God confronted Saul at his conversion experience on the road to Damascus: “Saul, why do you keep kicking thorny bushes?”

Stop digging, and let God fill the hole.

The evil we see around us seems so large. The evil in the world shocks and saddens us when we consider how much damage hatred, greed, arrogance, and violence are causing in the world. The evil around us grieves us, especially when we recognize how our bad choices and selfish motives have contributed to those problems. We feel powerless and hopeless.

God is bigger than evil in the world, and God is bigger than evil that we have inflicted on ourselves and others. God is the Great Physician, eager to heal what is around us and in us, fixing body, mind, and soul.

We can assist the Great Physician! We’re not called to be operating room technicians supporting the work of the perfect Surgeon, we’re not trained to be recovery room nurses monitoring vital signs, and we’re not even equipped to be hospital administrators ensuring the right supplies are available when needed. Our job is to start doing good.



The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Copyright © 2014 Jonathan Morris
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