“It Hath No Stalk”

By J. Wiley Adams

In Hosea 8:7 the prophet of old laments the condition of Israel and how the people are turned to idols from serving the true God.

While it is true that man reaps in kind to the thing sown, it is also true he reaps more than he sows of that kind. Paul said, “Be not deceived, God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” For instance, from one grain of corn there comes forth a stalk. It can stop growing at that point, but if it grows, in time an ear of corn (or maybe more than one ear) appears on the stalk. One grain is sown and ears of corn are produced. How many grains on one ear? It may vary but, even though I was raised in the country, it has never been appealing to me to count the number of grains on an ear of corn. But, it is evident from casual observation that more was produced than was planted. It was all corn, however.

Hosea said Israel “had no stalk.” If there is no strong, sustaining stalk, anything produced will come to naught for lack of support.

Israel had sown the wind (sin) and reaped the whirl- wind (even greater consequences) because there was “no stalk.” When we speak of sowing and reaping, we may be speaking good or evil. The principle is the same as it pertains to rewards or consequences. It is a consequence even though it may be good. And, of course, it is also true if we are speaking of sin.

So whether it be righteousness or sin, the principle of sowing and reaping is there. The farmer delights when he has an abundant harvest of good things from his field. God’s people reap many blessings, both temporal and spiritual. The wicked reap much more than they bargained for. Wind is one thing. A tornado is something else. But both are wind.

Hosea warns (8:1). The trumpet sounds forth the alarm and calls the people to repentance. God will surely have his vengeance, make no mistake. Their cries will be to no avail and will come too late. They say “My God, we know thee.” But, Israel has lost her identity. Jesus said this could happen. In speaking of the final judgment and day of wrath on the wicked, he said to some “Depart from me, I know not who you are.” Sin can so deform us as to make us unrecognizable as the people of God. It was true of Israel then and is no less true in the Israel of God, the church, today.

So Israel had “no stalk.” Anything produced was too heavy for the stalk to support. Brethren, indeed sin is heavy. Hosea said even the “bud shall wither” without the sustaining stalk.

In John 15 Jesus talks of the vine and the branches. The secret of growth and fruit-bearing is found as we “abide in the vine.” To become separated from the vine or stalk cuts off the flow of strength needed for the required “much fruit.”

Brethren, be profited from a study of God’s Word!