Scripture: Jeremiah 4:3-18
“Plow up the hard ground of your hearts! Do not waste your good seed among thorns. O people of Judah and Jerusalem, surrender your pride and power. Change your hearts before the Lord, or my anger will burn like an unquenchable fire because of all your sins” (Jeremiah 4:3, 4, NLT).
Through Jeremiah’s message, God announces to the ancient Israelites that destruction is on the way. Their evil choices have brought it about (v.18). Though they rebelled against him (v.17), God begs his people to cleanse their hearts so he can save them (v.14). Using a farming metaphor, he asks them to ready themselves to receive his mercy and grace by plowing up hard hearts and ridding themselves of thorny evil thoughts.
Plowing the soil requires that I surrender my pride (v.3). I must relinquish my ideas of why God should save me. I cannot trust in my efforts to justify myself through good works, Biblical knowledge, or conformity to rules. Plowing the soil also requires that I surrender my power. I must acknowledge that I can do nothing to save myself. I must stop engineering my own righteousness and allow Christ to transform me. Christ alone can save; I must receive his grace. Finally, I must not waste the mercy and grace Christ has sewn in me by allowing thorns to grow and choke these good seeds. I must be willing to let his Spirit expose and root out what doesn’t belong—nursed hurts, envy, jealousy, selfishness, resentments.
Father, I cannot save myself. I confess my paltry attempts to justify myself. I confess that I have chosen to do so in order to live by my standards and not yours. Forgive my proud, rebellious heart. Create in me a new clean heart, plowed and ready to receive your grace and mercy. Root out what doesn’t belong; make me willing to obey you. Save me because of your great love given me through your Son. In whose name I pray, Amen.