Monday, June 18, 2012

Pulling out the plow...

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Last Thursday, I found myself in my usual spot of no time...I needed to put in a full day of work AND do a week's worth of laundry, both since I'd just cleared the calendar to enjoy my in-laws' visit and then sew the linen shirts AND, by the way, go to choir practice. 

I was fighting...and I mean that in pretty much every sense of the get some Quiet Time.  Some seeking time.  The spirit wanted to find a corner and tarry; the flesh was hollering, 'You haven't got time!  You need to get going!  You're behind and getting behinder!'

Kind of in desperation, for something I could do without pulling out all the books and journals and translations,  I pulled up the summary list of the Faithful Friday Faves verses and started skimming down through them...and one verse caught my attention.  Actually, one phrase in a verse caught my attention.

Break up your unplowed ground

I needed to chew on that a while.  I put it up as my facebook status, and carried that around in my spirit for the rest of the day.

I intended to put up a different phrase from a different verse the next day, but when Friday rolled around I was still pondering the unplowed ground, so I decided not to rush on to another verse, but let this one speak to me.

Now, unplowed ground is not the same as unbroken ground. Unbroken ground is sod...ground that has never been tilled.  Unplowed ground is fallow ground...cultivated land that has lain idle for a span of time.  At least one growing season.

There are a couple of reasons for the land to lay idle like that.  Of course, the one we think of first, and the one that we usually apply that verse to, is land that has been ignored and neglected, for whatever reason.  It should have been producing and it was not.  Repentance advised.

But there is another reason why land may lie fallow for a season.  In any farmer's crop rotation, there is always a portion of ground that is uncultivated.  A smart farmer sows his acreage in a variety of crops, and never plants the same crop two seasons in a row in any given plot of land.  Furthermore, included in that mix is  a bit of unplowed, untilled ground that is left unproductive for the season. Then, the next season the crops all shift and the field that was left idle last season is tilled up, and the all the wild growth from the fallow season is tilled back into the soil to break down and restore the nutrients while a field that has been tilled and harvested several seasons in a row is given a rest.  Some ground is deliberately left unproductive every year so that it might be more productive later.  That is not a cause for repentance;  that is wisdom.

It's actually a modification of the Hebrew law.  Moses instructed that all the land was to be left untended every seven years; this was the sabbath rest for the land.  Breaking up that unplowed ground was the return to productivity after a time of rest.  The difference is that our smart farmer always has fields in production and fields lying fallow; in the Hebrew sabbath year, all the fields were left uncultivated and the people were to depend on God to provide their sustenance.

I went back and re-read the FFF post from Hosea, and saw that I was talking about actual, physical house cleaning.  The stuff that I had pulled out and had in disarray did get all put away, but there is more that needs attention; more so since we're still dealing with the displacement from the sunporch remodel.  That is not going to get finished up any time soon; I need to get a fresh vision and begin to deal with that stuff instead of waiting for the space to open up. 

But I also have been trying to figure out how to do everything that needs to keep going without burning out.  And it may be that the crop rotation is the answer; just a recognition that all areas are not going to be producing at peak capacity all the time.  There is always going to be fallow ground to break, and there is always going to be an area that is out of production for a time...which means that something will be producing really well. 

Obviously, I don't have it All Figured Out, but I have never quite considered this verse in this light.   At this point, it doesn't matter so much why the ground has been fallow; what's important is that it's time to break it up.

It is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you


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