“O Israel,” says the Lord, “if you wanted to return to me, you could. You could throw away your detestable idols and stray away no more. Then when you swear by my name, saying, ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’ you could do so with truth, justice, and righteousness. Then you would be a blessing to the nations of the world, and all people would come and praise my name.”
This is what the Lord says to the people of Judah and Jerusalem:
“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 4:1-4)
Throughout the Old Testament, God consistently revealed his intentions to bless the nations of the world through the people of Israel. But the people’s hearts had become hardened to God’s will, and their privilege as his chosen people was in jeopardy as long as they insisted on disobedience and idolatry. Their hearts were like soil that had not been tilled for a long time. So Jeremiah told the people to plow up the hardness of their hearts as a plow breaks up unplowed ground. Once their hearts were broken and cleaned up, the good seeds of God’s commands could take root.
Just like the people of Israel, we must remove the sin that hardens our hearts if we expect God’s Word to take root and grow in us. Soften your heart by asking God to change your heart and life. Read God’s Word daily, letting God’s Spirit break up the hard soil and plant the good seed of God’s Word in your life.
Open your heart to God through confession and repentance. As God works on your heart, let him change your ways. Then you can be a blessing to others, just as God intended.