The Seed Sown Along the Path
Kingdom Principle: Seeds; Part VI
Locate in Scripture: Matthew 13:1-23; Mark 4:1-20; Luke 8:4-15
What makes the Parable of the Sower so powerful is the amazing truth about seeds. In fact, this is why Jesus explained this eternal truth in a parable and concealed its meaning from those who didn’t believe. “Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet: “I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world” (Matthew 13:34-35). For those who trust in Him we are given in depth information on how the Kingdom of God operates so we too can work these principles in our own lives.
The Word is a seed; the seed will always work because of the power contained inside. However, the ground provides the seed with what it needs to grow and flourish after it is planted. In this parable Jesus describes four types of soil which translates to four different reactions to the seed. In this we see that the condition of the ground matters in the harvest. The condition of the person hearing the Word determines the outcome, not the seed itself. The Word is never the problem; instead it is how we react to it.
The Seed is Quickly Stolen
“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up” (Luke 8:5).
The first type of soil is the seed sown along the path. As the seeds are tossed on the ground, the dirt is so hard packed that the seeds are not able to penetrate the soil which means they lie on top and become bird food.
When Jesus explained this we learn an important truth, “Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved” (Luke 8:12). This is a scary situation; Satan has total access to steal the Word in this type of soil. Matthew’s account adds clarity to this statement, “When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it,the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path” (Matthew 13:19).
There is great danger in not understanding. The evil one only has access to snatch away the seed only if they are lying on the surface. In other words, the Word has to pass through our understanding. This is important. This is why we must present the gospel with simplicity and explain truths at a level where everyone can understand.
This is true when the gospel of the kingdom is presented as well as other truths from the Word. This does not only happen to non-believers when the gospel is presented. It can happen to us as well unless we keep our hearts sensitive to the Word of God. It is dangerous to become hard-hearted and not strive for understanding. We have many examples of this throughout the gospels where Jesus commented about their hardness of heart. Most of the time it was about the Pharisees, or the people, however He said it to the disciples also.
A classic example is when Jesus walked on water, the disciples were terrified when they saw Him, and on entering the boat the winds died down and they marveled. However the scriptures record, “for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened” (Mark 6:52). They had just witnessed Jesus feeding five thousand, but they didn’t understand the miracle because of the hardness of their hearts. So when they saw Him walking on water they were afraid. The understanding of who Jesus was hadn’t taken root in their lives at this point, the result was that this seed was stolen along with their peace in the situation.
Understanding is Our First Defense
It is really important to understand the Word. This is our first defense; we must hear the word with our understanding. So the seed can go down, be protected from plain view and have a chance to produce. The good news in all of this is that God has given us the Holy Spirit for this very reason.
Jesus spoke of this to His disciples, “When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you” (John 16:13-15).
The apostle John took hold of this truth and wrote, “As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him” (I John 2:27).
The Holy Spirit is a precious gift and one of His main functions is to teach and explain the truths of scripture to us as well as remind us of what Jesus said. There is also validity in having a Word mentor, someone to teach you from the Bible and train you in understanding it. And it is also why we have Pastors and teachers, to open up the Word of God to us. We have to condition our hearts to receive the seed with understanding. Otherwise you are leaving it out in plain view to be stolen from you.
In this parable the condition of the hard packed soil is the sole reason the seed is ineffective. It’s never allowed to get beneath the surface where it can germinate and grow. The takeaway in all of this is that we must protect our hearts from hard-heartedness where the Word is concerned. We must keep it soft, pliable and teachable. We must plant these seeds giving them every chance to grow and produce. The harvest is dependent on the condition of the soil.
Join me for Part VII; ‘The Seed Sown On Rocky Ground'.