Matthew 13 (NLT)
13 Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake. 2 A large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat there and taught as the people stood on the shore. 3 He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one:
“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. 4 As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. 5 Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. 6 But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died.7 Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. 8 Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! 9 Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”
10 His disciples came and asked him, “Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?”
11 He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. 12 To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. 13 That is why I use these parables,
For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.
14 This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says, ‘When you hear what I say, you will not understand. When you see what I do, you will not comprehend.
15 For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes—so their eyes cannot see and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.’
16 “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. 17 I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it.
18 “Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds: 19 The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts.
20 The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. 21 But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word.
22 The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced.
23 The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”
One of the wonderful things about reading the Bible is that if you read it expecting to receive from God you always get what you are expecting. There are even (many) times when you read because your know you should without consciously expecting revelation (God revealing things to you) and still you get amazing insights and direction for your life. I have read this parable and heard it taught for many years but, when I read it yesterday I saw several things in it that I had not realized before.
The first thing that the Lord showed me here is that all of us at one time or another can be in any of the growth place with the (seed) Word. I have always seen this parable with each part being a different person. It really opened my eyes to realize that each of us could at different times receive the Word in different ways. This also made me realize that we have a choice in changing how we receive the Word of God and how much “growth” we have, or what our blessing is from it: no growth, thirty, sixty or hundredfold.
Isaiah 55:11 (AMP) So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
The Bible tells us that God’s Word won’t be useless or without reward but we (personally) may not get a “harvest” of blessings from it if we don’t receive the message at all.
The second thing I realized is that we can change the “soil” of the word in us) We have a choice to accept and work against the things in life that cause the seed to not bear fruit (or blessing). How much fruit is produced may depend on the ground, the watering, the weather, fertilizing, how deep the roots are and weeding. This takes work, but just as when you plant a garden or grow anything, the results are worth the effort.
Some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them.
Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock and the plants wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots
Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants.
The seed that fell on good soil produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”
Joshua 1:8-9 (NIV) 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
- Adjust your “soil”– Change your focus – are you watching a lot of TV? Give your time to the Word of God.
- Don’t let the “birds” steal the Word from you – anything that goes against what the Word says can do this – negative thoughts, outside influences can steal the Word from you.
- Water and fertilize the soil – continue to feed on the Word of God in every way available to you. Don’t just “snack” get filled up.
- Get your roots deep. Don’t settle for the “milk” go for the “meat”. This is what will build up you faith and give you strength when the enemy comes to steal the word from you. Confess the word you read, claim it for you personally.
- Don’t let any thorns grow. Don’t allow unforgiveness, bitterness and strife come into your life. If they are there already, pray and ask God how to eliminate them. Most of the time it will be making a decision on your part to reject them.
- This will take some work but as with planting a garden, the results are worth the effort. Just think of that harvest you will enjoy.
- Good soil – cultivate that “good soil” in your heart: focus on God and His Word, read the word (daily), speak the word (not other words). Get your roots deep.