I believe Jesus used Jeremiah 4:3 when He shared the parable of the sower who planted seeds among the thorns. The seeds grew but were quickly choked out by the thorns. This verse says, “For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: ‘Break up your fallow 31 rainground, and sow not among thorns.’” One commentator explains, “Sowing among thorns is then indicative of sowing on ground which by the practices of the day had not been properly prepared. It would seem that an additional ploughing prior to sowing is being urged to remove noxious weeds that would inhibit a fruitful harvest.”[1]

The agricultural imagery of planting good seeds in ill-prepared ground is used by the Prophet Hosea also. He is the prophet who married the unfaithful spouse who had betrayed her promises of love and faithfulness and committed adultery with the world. Israel was like that unfaithful wife but God, even after all her defilements, still wants her back. In Hosea 10:12, He promises, “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast (or everlasting!) love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.” He’s never stopped loving her! He never stops loving us.

I’ve used Jeremiah 31:3, “God loves you with an everlasting love” as the theme of my sermon serious on Jeremiah. Our hearts like the hardened ground needs to be broken up in order for God’s love to find it’s way into our lives to where it can produce fruit. In Mark 4:18-19 Jesus said, “Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.” When our hearts are broken up and opened God rains down his righteousness on us! This past Sunday we sang, Chris Tomlin’s song, “All My Fountains.” I don’t know this but it sounds like he’s taking his concept from the Hosea passage where God promises to “rain righteousness” down on us. I love this song! It’s one of the more upbeat and positive songs we sing. It repeats, “Come on and rain down on us…Rain down on us, Lord… Open the heavens, Come Living Water… All my fountains are in You…You’re strong like a river…Your love is running through…All my fountains are in You…”  C’mon and rain down on us, Lord!

[1] John L. Mackay, Jeremiah: An Introduction and Commentary: Chapters 1–20, vol. 1, Mentor Commentaries (Fearn, Ross-shire, Scotland: Mentor, 2004), 206.