Jeremiah 4:3, 4 - Breaking Up Fallow Ground.
Jer 4:3, 4: Breaking Up Fallow Ground.
CONTENT; What's in the verse; Translations; Paraphrase; Word
Jer 4:3, 4 (KJV) For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah
and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among
thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins
of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest
my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it,
because of the evil of your doings.
Jer 4:3, 4 (TEV) The LORD says to the people of Judah and
Jerusalem, "Plow up your unplowed fields; do not plant your seeds among
thorns. Keep your covenant with me, your LORD, and dedicate yourselves
to me, you people of Judah and Jerusalem. If you don't, my anger
will burn like fire because of the evil things you have done. It
will burn, and there will be no one to put it out."
Jer 4:3, 4 (NCV) This is what the LORD says to the people of
Judah and to Jerusalem: "Plow your unplowed fields, and don't plant
seeds among thorns. Give yourselves to the service of the LORD, and
decide to obey him, people of Judah and people of Jerusalem. If you
don't, my anger will spread among you like a fire, and no one will be
able to put it out, because of the evil you have done.
Jeremiah 4:3, 4 (NLT) 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. Cleanse your minds and
hearts before the LORD, or my anger will burn like an unquenchable fire
because of all your sins.
Jer 4:3, 4 (AMP) For thus says the Lord to the men of Judah and
to Jerusalem: Break up your ground left uncultivated for a season,
so that you may not sow among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the
Lord and take away the foreskins of your hearts, you men of Judah and
inhabitants of Jerusalem, lest My wrath go forth like fire [consuming all
that gets in its way] and burn so that no one can quench it because
of the evil of your doings.
Fallow ground: Untilled ground. [Ryrie SB]
Fallow ground: refers to the unplowed ground which is sunbaked
and possibly covered with weeds. God says, "Break [plow] it up."
Fallow ground: Unless the thorns and weeds were removed, they
would choke the seeds of reform. It was necessary for Judah to make a
clean work of ridding herself of idolatry and moral and social evil.
Fallow ground: Unplowed fields. A figure of speech standing for
hard, rebellious attitudes toward God. [Passages Of Life SB]
What does it mean to circumcise your hearts? (4:4)
This was a figurative way to call the people to cut sinful
impurities from their lives, just as in physical circumcision the foreskin
was removed. Jeremiah was advising the people of Judah to remove the
sinful practices that hinder spiritual growth. The apostle Paul also
used the metaphor of a circumcised heart (see Romans 2:28-29; Col.
2:11). [Quest SB]
Circumcise: The intent of God was always that the outward symbol
should be a sign of an inward reality of total devotion to Him [Nelson
Circumcision was intended to be a symbol of the devotion of the
heart to God and a mark of separation from idolatry. To remove the
foreskin of the heart meant to put away all impurity. True circumcision
is inward rather than outward. [SDA Commentary]
Circumcise yourselves. Here the meaning is figurative and has
the idea of purifying, separating from the sins of the flesh. [Ryrie
Circumcise your hearts.: Consecrate your hearts [NIV SB]
Circumcision was an outward witness of an inward, spiritual
reality. The command "Circumcise yourselves" (4:4) spoke figuratively of
the need to separate oneself from sin and reconsecrate oneself to
God. [New Bible Companion]
CONTEXT; What's around the verse; Overview; Topic:
Judah had forsaken God in favor of pagan idols, despite His
loving care (2:1-37). Even so, spiritually unfaithful Judah was urged
to return (3:1-25), before judgment came from the north (4:1-31).
Josiah's religious reformation had not touched Judah's heart (5:1-31),
and the enemy was commissioned to punish the Holy City (6:1-16).
Everyone listening to Jeremiah stood at a crossroads: the way he or she
chose would determine his destiny (vv. 17-30). [The 365-Day Devotional
A Call to Repentance
Coming Judgment against Judah
CROSS REFERENCES; What's in verses elsewhere.
Hosea 10:12 (KJV) Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in
mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord,
till he come and rain righteousness upon you.
Mark 4:18-19 (KJV) And these are they which are sown among
thorns; such as hear the word,  And the cares of this world, and the
deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the
word, and it becometh unfruitful.
Luke 8:14 (KJV) And that which fell among thorns are they,
which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and
riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
Deut. 30:6 (KJV) And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine
heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all
thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.
Ezekiel 18:31 (KJV) Cast away from you all your transgressions,
whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit:
for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
Ezekiel 24:13 (KJV) In thy filthiness is lewdness: because I
have purged thee, and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not be purged
from thy filthiness any more, till I have caused my fury to rest upon
Amos 5:6 (KJV) Seek the Lord, and ye shall live; lest he break
out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be
none to quench it in Bethel.
Mark 9:49, 50 (KJV) For every one shall be salted with fire,
and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.  Salt is good:
but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it?
Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.
Col. 2:11 (KJV) In whom also ye are circumcised with the
circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the
flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
COMMENTARY / APPLICATION: Moving From The Head To The Heart
What is God teaching here? What does it teach about Jesus?
SITUATION Many sinful kings led the people astray in both Judah
and the Northern Kingdom. Eventually, the Assyrians captured the
Northern Kingdom (722 B.C.). Judah was on the verge of similar
punishment from Babylon. Jeremiah began his prophecy against Judah by
outlining the people's unfaithfulness to God and urging them to repent or
face strong punishment.
OBSERVATION Any severe and prolonged pattern of sin,
practiced by people who claim to be devoted to God, invites punishment
INSPIRATION Many people will profess faithfulness, but very
few will demonstrate it. The virtue of faithfulness is often
costly, and few people are willing to pay the price. But for the godly
person, faithfulness is an absolutely essential quality of his
character, regardless of what it might cost. What is faithfulness? How do
we practice it, and when do we exhibit it in our lives? The
biblical word denotes that which is firm and can be counted upon. . . .
The faithful person is one who is dependable, trustworthy, and
loyal, who can be depended upon in all of his relationships, and who is
absolutely honest and ethical in all of his affairs.... If we are careful
to be honest in the little things, we will certainly be careful to
be honest in the more important things of life. . . If our society
needs to reemphasize the virtue of honesty, it certainly needs to
place great importance on dependability.... Reliability is not just a
social obligation; it is a spiritual obligation. God is even more
concerned about our faithfulness than the person who is relying on us in
some particular situation. . . . The faithful person is not only
honest and dependable, but also loyal.... Whether it be in honesty or
dependability or loyalty, faithfulness is frequently a costly virtue, only the
Holy Spirit can enable us to pay that price. (From The Practice of
Godliness by Jerry Bridges)
APPLICATION Do you gossip about others? Do you criticize
others? Do you lustfully think about someone? Last April, did you
cheat the government? Do you work hard on your job, or do you waste
time? If you repeat sin again and again, you will experience God's
discipline! Consider your life and ask the Holy Spirit to help you get rid
of sin. [Inspirational SB]
Staying On The Path; Jer.4:1-4; Step 10
Even before we began our Twelve-Step living, God didn't hate us;
he detested the ways of addiction and codependency that were
stealing our lives, relationships and health. He hated the way we were
choosing to walk because it was only leading us to destruction. God is
pleased when any of his erring children begin the journey toward
As we continue the journey, we will occasionally have a tendency
to relapse, to leave the path. And the consequences can be serious.
But even then we will experience our Father's severe mercy. He wants
us to enjoy peace, joy, love and a sound mind, and he knows that
our addictions will rob us of that. In love he corrects our course,
not because he is mad but because he knows how easy it is to go off
in the wrong direction.
If we accept his correction, we will be back on the road of
recovery. If not, our addictive disease will again rule our lives.-Barbara
Prayer: God, keep my feet firmly planted on the Twelve-Step road
as I seek to follow you. [Life Recovery Devotional SB]
Radical problems often necessitate radical solutions.
To extinguish an oil well fire, dynamite is sometimes used. The
stupendous power of the explosion is the only way to "blow out" the raging
inferno. In medicine, the seemingly radical amputation of a limb
preserves life by stopping the progress of cancer or gangrene. Many old
buildings are best "renovated" by tearing them down, clearing the rubble,
and building anew.
Judah's apostasy had destroyed the nation's spiritual vitality.
Like a spreading ' cancer it resisted half-hearted attempts at
treatment. Clearly, something more radical was needed-something that would
purge the nation of its idolatry and immorality.
Before God can build into your life, there may be things he
needs to blast and remove: bad habits, selfish attitudes, walls of
indifference, closets of secret sin. Have possessions in your life become the
focus of your affection? Are people in your life tearing you down,
rather than building you up? Do pursuits in your life oppose rather
than promote the kingdom of God? Pick one of those areas of need, and
with God's help, deal with it now ... before the cure becomes more
painful than the disease. [Daily Walk Bible]
An unhumbled heart is like ground untilled. It is ground which
may be improved; it is our ground let out to us; but it is fallow;
it is over-grown with thorns and weeds, the natural product of the
corrupt heart. Let us entreat the Lord to create in us a clean heart,
and to renew a right spirit within us; for except a man be born
again, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. [Matthew Henry
If the word of God fails of accomplishing its work in our hearts
and lives, the reason is to be found in ourselves.... The Spirit of
God is ever seeking to break the spell of infatuation that holds men
absorbed in worldly things, and to awaken a desire for the imperishable
treasure. It is by resisting the Spirit that men become inattentive to or
neglectful of God's word. They are themselves responsible for the hardness
of heart that prevents the good seed from taking root, and for the
evil growths that check its development. The garden of the heart must
be cultivated. The soil must be broken up by deep repentance for
sin. Poisonous, Satanic plants must be uprooted. The soil once
overgrown by thorns can be reclaimed only by diligent labor. So the evil
tendencies of the natural heart can be overcome only by earnest effort in
the name and strength of Jesus. COL56
HOW TO PLOW UP FALLOW GROUND
1. PRAYER OF REPENTANCE
2. ASK FOR SPIRIT
3. BIBLE STUDY
4. APPLY & SHARE [mod from 3ABN
Repentance had to be sincere and evidence of repentance can be
found in the fruit of true faith. [New Bible Companion]
It doesn't take such a great man to be a Christian; it just
takes all there is of him. [Your Daily Walk SB]