When the ground is hard, nothing can be planted. The seed just sits on the surface. It can't take root. We can sow whatever we want on the hard ground, but it won't make a difference. We have to do the hard work of plowing, or breaking up, the hard ground so the seed can grow.
We know this is true in the physical world. And we'll do the work to create ground where the seed can take root and grow.
But this isn't just true in the physical world. It's also true in our spiritual lives.
"Sow righteousness for yourselves,
reap the fruit of unfailing love,
and break up your unplowed ground;
for it is time to seek the Lord,
until He comes
and showers His righteousness on you."
This verse in Hosea is calling Israel and Judah to seek God fully again. They are being exhorted to do the work to become the good soil where God's righteousness can be sown and His love reaped.
This requires a choice for them. They have to choose to let the hard ground be plowed - be broken up. This isn't easy work or something to do casually. Plowing the ground is hard work and it might be painful.
We all have areas of our lives where the ground is hard. Some we're acutely aware or already and some we may not be conscious of yet.
The question for each of us is if we're willing to allow those areas where the ground is hard to be plowed. Will we open those areas up to the Holy Spirit to do the work of breaking up the hard ground?
It's a dangerous prayer to ask God to show you the areas of unplowed ground in your life so they can be plowed. We may have to face things we would rather not face. We have to be willing to look at things that might be painful and allow God to work on them.
It's also a beautiful prayer. As we give God access to those areas, He plants and grows a seed of something more beautiful than we imagined in those places where nothing used to grow.