The word ‘cultivating’ indicates that there is a need to plow up some uncultivated ground. We cannot sow seed and expect it to mature when there are clods, rocks, or hardpan soil. Hosea 10:12 says, “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, till He comes and rains righteousness on you.” Righteousness is the fruit of being trained through our trials.
Verse 13 is a verse that reveals the root to uncultivated faith. It says, “You have plowed wickedness; you have reaped iniquity. You have eaten the fruit of lies, because you trusted in your own way…” There is the crux. Anything that we do in our own strength is futile. Why would we ever trust in our own way? It is because of unbelief.
Hebrews 3:12-13 says, “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called Today, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” Hardened is to be calloused. Have you ever had callouses? The skin is thick and impenetrable.
Trusting in our own way, leaning on our own understanding, or depending on our own strength is departure from the Lord. We are believing a lie. That lie is rooted in deception which brings hardness in our hearts. Let’s take a trial to illustrate this. If you are saying something like ‘I can’t take this anymore’ or you are just gutting it out, you are looking to yourself.
Let’s review. God cannot lie~Titus 1:2. He cannot deny Himself~2 Timothy 2:13. His mercy for our trials is new every morning, and His faithfulness is great~Lamentations 3:23. In Him is hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge~Colossians 2:3. Romans 11:33 says, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!”
Our trials are gifts. They are strategically orchestrated by the Lord for our good. Through them He purifies our faith by exposing the dross-lies that are controlling our lives. Through them He imparts benefits that we lacked. Through them He reveals Himself in ways we have not experienced Him before. Through them we gain wisdom that we didn’t need until the trial.
He is trustworthy. The only reason we default to ourselves is when we have forgotten the foundational truths about Who He is at all times. He has given us everything through His death on the cross. At salvation He came to dwell in us. Amy Carmichael used to say, “He is closer to me than air.” Every breath we take we are breathing in His Presence.
Here is a verse that might reveal if you have a lie or not. Psalm 63:3 says, “Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You.” I remember reading this verse after I fell into the ravine (1977). I stuttered on this verse. There was a hidden lie (that I didn’t know about at the time) that kept me from believing David’s words with my whole heart. It is two-fold. I encourage you to ask yourself: Do I believe God’s lovingkindness is better than life? Do my lips praise Him for everything? Our faith is challenged each time we face our impossibilities.