“And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;” – Matthew 13:3
Jesus spoke in a parable of one who planted seed in four different kinds of soil. To fully grasp the context of this parable we need to first understand what the elements of the parable represent. First the soil represents the heart. Their are four different conditions in which the soil in this parable are found. We will discuss that further later.
“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.” – Hosea 10:12
The next element of the parable that is critical to understand is the seed being sown into these soils. The seed is God’s Word, but deeper then that it’s the one who speaks those words, who is the word. It’s Jesus, for Jesus is the word made flesh and it is Jesus whom is the seed of Abraham who was counted righteous because he listened to God’s voice. That is to say, he received God’s words, believed them, and acted upon them in obedience because of His faith in them. You cannot separate Jesus from His words, either logos (written in the past) or Rhema (spoken directly to you in the present). To believe in one you will believe the other, to reject one you reject the other for they are one in the same.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God….And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” – John 1:1, 14
So we understand that the seed is the word and the word is Jesus but let’s go a little deeper. Abraham believed God’s voice (words) and received a promise that through his seed all nations would be blessed. That those who bless him would be blessed and those that curse him would be cursed, and that he would inherit a kingdom. The promise was to him and his seed. Most understand this to be the Jewish people by nationality, however that is not a biblically accurate interpretation. Scripture tells us that the kingdom being promised here was not to be given to many seeds (as in a people) but to Abrahams seed (singular, as in a person), and that person is Christ in whom all the nations of the world are blessed; whomsoever (of any people, gender, class, or nationality) chooses to believe in Him and in His words, for He is the word!
“And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” – Genesis 26:4-5
“Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” – Galatians 3:16
So now we can see that the parable of the sower in its deepest since being that of different people who have receive Christ (the Seed and the Word) in different ways and the outcome of it.
The first is one who hears the word and receives the seed but is not discipled. Being unlearned they are unable to yet distinguish between the voice of the shepherd and the voice of the stranger, and following the stranger will be led astray before the seed really takes root and bares fruit.
The second is one who hears the words of God and receive Christ with gladness! Yet they don’t go any deeper. They don’t let the word take root and breakup their heart ground, the environment of their heart is not changed by the Seed but resist it, they don’t break up their fallowed ground and seek after righteousness. They aren’t told that they have to ever seek to go deeper and to grow in the things of God, therefore they stay shallow never reaching for the deeper things of God and when the storms of trial, tribulation, disappointment, offense, and persecution arise, they are unequipped, unaware, and able to endure not having built that deep unshakable personal relationship with God that they might draw from the deep well that is the Holy Ghost ministering hope directly and personally to them and through them even in dry and desperate seasons.
“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” – John 7:37-39
Though all of these situations are tragic, the third condition of the parable is possibly the most damaging to the faith of others. You see the third one received Christ, the seed took root, grew into a tree, and was even producing fruit! However, other things grew up around it and began to choke it out until it died and stopped producing. Distractions, worries, social status, money, possessions, positions, relationships, idols, vanity, anything that you allow to take your ear away from God’s voice is taking your heart away from it also and you will Bering to dry up and eventually die spiritually. We know that Jesus said that any tree that bares not good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire, and here we see a tree that once bore fruit yet now has become barren and fruitless. Let this sink in and never allow anything to choke out your connection to the root from which you draw your grace and thus cut off the fruitfulness of your faith. No compromise. No complacency. No idolatry. Remember, this world is not your home.
Finally, the last condition is what Jesus called “good soil“. The heart that hears His words, receives Him (the Seed), allows Him to grow deep roots in you changing the environment of your heart, digging down and drawing up deep wells of living water, and baring much fruit that others might be blessed and more seed spread to the pleasing of the sower.
So what condition do you find yourself in today? Does the enemy steal the words God speaks to you as soon as they are spoken? That seed was not buried, therefor do you need to die to self and be buried with Christ. Do you need to go deeper into the things of God and the power (and giftings) of His Holy Spirit that you be better equipped to withstand the wilds of the devil? Do you need to remove somethings from your life that are choking out your personal time with God, killing your relationship with Him, and making you unfruitful? Do you want to be counted by God as good ground baring much fruit that you might hear those long awaited words, “well done My good and faithful servant, come and inter into your rest.”
All of these bad grounds can be transformed into good ground by simply spending time with the husbandmen (the tender of the garden). Determined to get alone with God and get to know God and He will make not only Himself known to you, but He will make the condition of your own heart known to you also, that it might be mended into greater fruitfulness that you might be blessed. For it is His desire to bless but He cannot bless unfruitfulness. So call on Jesus, seek the husbandmen, cry out for Him to plow your heart, soften it, remove the thorns (sin and distractions), attend to His words, seek to go deeper into the things of God, and watch your barrenness become blessing.
“The sower soweth the word. And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred. And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick? For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” – Mark 4:14-23