“Plowmen have plowed my back and made their furrows long.” (Psalm 129:3)
A plow tears and rips up the soil in preparation for planting. The psalmist here appears to refer to God as the Plowman who has brought, or allowed, tearing and suffering upon the Hebrew people. It has been a burden on their backs as they have been taken into bondage and conquered many times.
The punishment has been severe and reached the heart of the people. This plowing of God did have a purpose. That purpose was to prepare them for new life through the planting of Himself permanently in their midst through the Messiah. The application can also be made to their return to Jerusalem and the restoration of the Temple.
Repentance is brought about by a plowing of some sort. God uses His means to plow up our sin and hardness, enlightening us to our need for this brokenness so that new life can come through His forgiveness. Life is full of times of plowing. We drift in and out of sin and righteousness. We are thankful for the Lord’s plow. Without it we would never be aware of our sin and could not be brought to repentance, to receive the forgiveness of our God.
Heavenly Father, we don’t know if we want to ask for Your plow, but we know You know what is best for us. Therefore, we leave that up to You. You know what we need to stay on the straight and narrow. Thank You for all You do to keep us faithful to You. You are our Keeper. Alleluia! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Robert Forsberg is retired from Light of Christ Lutheran Church in Fairborn and a guest columnist.