"For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: ' Break up your fallow ground, and do not sow among thorns.'" --Jeremiah 4:3 (NKJV)
Fallow ground---that brand new piece of property we bought, so we could break it up and plant watermelons---right? It shouldn't be too hard to knock out those few bushes and weeds, right? Wrong!! Think again.
Fallow ground is earth that has been cultivated before. It's been broken up, conditioned, nourished. It's soaked in the spring rains and pushed up a bounty in the summer. But not lately. Not for a while. Whether through neglect, or perhaps deliberate planning, the farmer has left the land uncultivated for a time. And, that's what makes it a chore!
Uncultivated soil---rich, plowed, but idle---is the favorite of weeds. Tough, thorny, stubborn, opportunistic weeds form a thick blanket across the field, until not a square inch of soil remains for a useful crop.
It's a grim picture when the Church lies fallow. After all He's invested in us, the leafy, fruitful crops of our First Love have given way to choking thorns. And thorns never look so healthy as when they suck the God-given life out of the soil of our hearts.
The LORD delivered His clear message through Jeremiah: "Break it up! Tear up those thorny weeds without mercy! Wipe your hearts clean through repentance so useful crops can thrive there again."
Hosea 10:12 goes on further to say, "...break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you."
We have no control over the rain, but He's promised to send it---if we're willing to seek Him and willing to let Him wipe out the thorns.