“Don’t you understand this parable?
How then will you understand any of the parables?”
One of the most important parables given by Jesus is the Parable of the Sower. This teaching forms the foundation for understanding how the Kingdom of God works. And since Jesus explains the meaning, there is no excuse for not understanding the parable, and acting on it. (Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, Luke 8:4-15)
The sower goes out to sow some seed. The seed is the Word of God. The same seed is sown in four different soils, but each results in a different outcome.
The first batch of seed fell along the path. It was visible, above the ground, so the birds came and quickly ate the seed. This batch obviously produced nothing. The seed never made it into the ground. It never had a chance to even sprout.
Jesus explains that this group represents those that hear the Word, but do not understand it. They never received its revelation into their spirit and never grasped its importance. They heard the Word, but Satan, represented by the birds, came and stole it away. Mark writes that Satan comes immediately to steal the Word (Mark 4:15). Matthew explains how this is possible, by adding that the person who had it stolen did not grasp, or understand the Word (Matthew 13:19).
Jesus used things in the natural world to explain the spiritual world. A natural seed under the right conditions will produce exactly what is stored inside. The minute a seed is planted in good soil, the soil will begin working with the seed to produce whatever it is designed to grow. If its a tomato seed, it will grow tomatoes. Corn seed, will produce corn. Life is in the seed, and it will only produce what is inside the seed (Genesis 1:10-12).
The same goes for God’s Word. It is Spirit, Life, and Truth. But it must be planted, protected, and nourished to produce a harvest. You take the Word and treasure it like precious seed. That means to speak it to yourself, meditate on it, and plant it firmly in your heart. Follow the advice God gives Joshua, to keep the Word on your lips, meditate on it night and day, and you will make your way prosperous (Joshua 1:5-9). Faith comes from hearing God’s Word, and hearing comes from that same Word (Romans 10:17). The very Life and Will of God is in His Word. It is incorruptible seed (1 Peter 1:22-25).
The second batch of seed did a little better. It was sown on rocky soil. The seed sprang up quickly, but because there was little soil, the sun scorched the plants and it yielded nothing. The plants had no root to draw nourishment and could not endure the pressure of its environment.
Jesus explains this group represents those that hear the Word and receive it with joy. There are immediate signs of growth. But when pressure comes because of the Word, they fall away. The Word is full of promises, precious seed for every possible need, or situation. It is Truth. But when faced with the lies of Satan, symptoms, religious traditions, evil reports, or just plain persecution, people sometimes give up on God’s Word. God cannot lie. His Word will not fail. But if the Word is not rooted and grounded in your heart, the conditions in the world, and the lies of the enemy, may prevail in your life. (John 17:14-21, 1 Corinthians 3:6-7, Ephesians 3:14-21, Titus 1:1-3)
One of the best Biblical examples of this is the Children of Israel in the wilderness. God had given them the Promised Land. It was theirs, they had God’s Word on it. Ten spies reported that there were giants in the land, walled cities, and they concluded that they could not take the land. That was their perception of reality, but there was a higher Truth – God’s Word. God called what the 10 spies told the congregation an “evil report.” Their words of fear and unbelief kept all but two adults from receiving their inheritance. Two spies wanted to go up at once and take the land (Caleb & Joshua), they had received it by faith in God’s Word. Ultimately, they were the only two adults to enter the Promised Land 40 years later. (Numbers 13:25-33, 14:1-11, 32:11-13, Hebrews 3:7-19)
The third batch of seed fell among the weeds (thorns). The seed started growing, but was inhibited, and soon crowded out by the weeds and failed to produce fruit. Jesus explains that the weeds represent the cares and distractions of the world.
What place does God’s Word get in your home? In this age, entertainment options abound, work and school devour huge chunks of the daylight hours, social activities consume whatever is left. There may be nothing necessarily sinful about your secular activities, but if it leaves no time for fellowship with your Heavenly Father and His Word, His seed will produce no fruit in your life. Seek first the Kingdom of God, God’s way of doing things, and He will make sure you lack no good thing (Matthew 6:25-34, Luke 12:22-34).
Examples abound in the Bible of men and women who were led astray by the cares of this world. Whether it is your job, school, religious activities, wealth, family, or friends, make sure God has top priority. Don’t make God the red emergency phone, only making room for him when things hit rock bottom. Jesus came to give you life, in abundance, to the full, till it overflows (John 10:10). Cast all your cares on him because he cares for you, and resist whatever distractions and temptations the evil one throws at you (1 Peter 5:6-9).
Lastly, there is the fourth batch of seed that is sown in good ground. What exactly is good ground? It is soil that is prepared – the rocks have been removed, along with the weeds. What does that mean in practical terms? The religious stumbling blocks are gone, along with any preconceived, or human notions of the Bible. You receive God’s Word with joy, trusting Him with all your heart. You treasure the Word, meditate on it, and rejoice over all God’s Promises. Neither environment, inside or outside, inhibits the growth of God’s precious seed. There is no doubt, fear, or unbelief. You cast aside all imaginations and thoughts that contradict God’s Truth (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
Those that treasure God’s Word, who plant it in good soil that has been properly prepared, who chase away the enemy, and prevent the encroachment of weeds and thorns, will see growth. Those who water it with praise, and nourish it with God’s Light, will soon see an ever abundant harvest, some thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times what was sown!
This is all made possible by trusting God and honoring His Word. You must establish in your heart that God’s Word is Truth. Understand that God cannot lie. He and His Word are one. His Word is alive and powerful, and will accomplish His will. And be ready to fight the good fight of faith – and by the way, faith in God and His Word always wins. You must combine faith with patience, or a consistency in all you think, say, and do when it comes God’s Word. You cannot stand strong in faith, when talking fear, doubt, and unbelief. (Isaiah 55:10-12, John 1:1-5, Hebrews 4:12-13, 6:10-20, James 1:2-8)
If you want to learn how to love and reverence God’s Word, read Psalm 119 several times out loud, and in several translations. David provides many reasons for Believers to trust, honor, and love God’s Word.
May your unfailing love come to me, LORD, your salvation, according to your promise; then I can answer anyone who taunts me, for I trust in your word.
Never take your word of truth from my mouth, for I have put my hope in your laws. I will always obey your law, for ever and ever.
I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts. I will speak of your statutes before kings and will not be put to shame, for I delight in your commands because I love them.
I reach out for your commands, which I love, that I may meditate on your decrees.
(Psalm 119:41-48 <NIV>)
How is your harvest? Look at the Bible, and look at your life. Does your your life reflect the goodness promised in God’s Word? If you are not enjoying an abundant harvest, then look at your seed and your soil. What are you planting, and in what type of soil? Your life is a reflection of the seeds you sow, and how you care for them. You are designed to produce Good Fruit. As Jesus explains, he is the vine, and you are the branches, you can do nothing if you are not attached to the vine. The Life of God flows through Jesus to you.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me.
If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you.
My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples.
“As the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you. Remain in My love.
John 15:5-9 <HCSB>
Note that God is glorified by you producing much fruit. An abundant harvest is His Will. And how do you do that? By God’s Word remaining in you – by planting and caring for God’s incorruptible seed until there is a plentiful harvest in every area of your life. God wants The Blessing to overflow in your life, so you can bless others.
He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
No revelation from God is hidden to anyone sincerely searching for Truth. But to the religious, and those who have no interest in spiritual things, it is hidden. If the Bible is just a book of nice stories, and if religion is more important than a relationship with your Heavenly Father, His Word will make little sense. But if you treasure His Word, listen with your spiritual ears, and see with the eyes of your spirit, you will be Blessed, or empowered to prosper. His Truth will make you free! (Proverbs 4:18, Mark 4:21-23, Luke 8:16-18, John 8:31-32, 14:10-21, 1 John 2:26-27)
Some Other Suggestions For The Parable of the Sower:
Sowing God’s Word (The Sowing Song) – Parable of the sower children’s song
The Sower Sows The Word – Part of a post on Christian Dating that discusses the Seed and Soil Parable (scroll to the last section).
For additional Parable of the Sower resources
May God Richly Bless You!
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