Luke takes us through Jesus’ explanation of the Sower and the Seed parable. We have followed Matthew’s and Mark’s retelling of Jesus’ explanation too. Yesterday I linked Matthew’s explanation with Luke’s telling of the events. I want to link Mark’s explanation with today’s reading. We focused on the Purpose of the Parables in that entry. Today I want to focus on why there are different soil types and why everyone isn’t a hundred fold yields.
In the beginning of Jesus’ interaction regarding His parable He says that not everyone is supposed to understand the message. I believe He is primarily speaking of the need to keep God’s plan hidden at that stage in time. So many people have a part to play in accomplishing God’s redemptive work and part of that process is NOT really understanding what is ahead. If Judas knew when he was chosen as a disciple that he was going to betray Jesus in the end, would he have still joined? If Caiaphas had known that killing Jesus on the cross would result in the birth of the church, would he have chosen a different course of action? If Satan had known that killing Jesus would be his undoing, would he have left Him alone to die of old age?
ALL the elements of God’s plan had to be fulfilled exactly as they were in order for Jesus’ redeeming work to be complete. Nothing was left to chance. Every step, every clause in the law, and every intention had to be accomplished to make Jesus’ saving work a once and for all covering. So for a time ignorance was important.
But there are still these “soil samples” today. Why is that? Did God plan for some people to be the hard wayside and never receive salvation? Did he choose special people to be the one hundred fold ground? The hard question we are asking here is did God choose to send some people to Heaven and some to Hell?
Romans 8:29-30 talks about God and predestination. “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”
If we are “predestined” do we even have a choice? YES. We do. I want to look at the fourth word in these verses: “foreknew.” God “knew beforehand” who would choose Him. He didn’t create each person and say, “I will make this one love me” and another “I’ll make this one’s heart too hard to reach.” Instead He saw across eternity and saw the choices of each man, woman, and child and where those choices would lead them. God is not limited to our linear timeline. He sees beginning, middle and end as one. He sees all our life choices and where we will eventually end up. He even sees when we will move from hard soil to rocky soil to good soil with repeated presentations of His word. So those He knows are going to choose Him OUT OF THEIR OWN FREE WILL, He works on their hearts during their process.
So Jesus wasn’t saying that God designed some people to be the hard soil, the rocky soil, the thorny soil, or the good soil. He was saying that these four types are out and are represented in every interaction of spreading the seed, God’s word. You never know what kind of soil you are sowing into when you sow His seeds either. But if you only sow to the ones YOU think are “good soil” you may miss important plantings along the way. You never know when “cultivation” is or has taken place on a previous hard heart and softened it to the gospel. So sow expecting a good harvest, but know that not every person will respond. It is our job to sow, and His job to grow. NEVER stop sowing because you judge the ground to be too hard.
Sowing can also be done in different forms. One of the best forms for proven hard ground is praying in the background. Often that prayer needs to include: 1) God send someone they will listen to; 2) God please soften their heart; and 3) God, get their attention by whatever means necessary. Remember too though that God will NEVER FORCE anyone to accept Him. It is ultimately the choice of each individual, but we CAN have an impact on the process. Make sure your impact is positive and not negative. Do this by living what you are sharing. There is no greater tool of Satin than a witness who won’t walk what they talk.
Father God, I want to pray for the hard soils in my family. I don’t do it often enough or fervent enough. I wish I could say I was a prayer warrior and knew how to move Heaven but I don’t. I have seen Your hand moving in miraculous ways in my life. Sometimes through prayer and other times out of Your amazing grace. My prayer life lacks a lot! I want to say I will commit to hours of prayer but I know I don’t follow through on those type of promises. I know that when I do pray, I pray with my whole heart and I know You hear me too.
Thank You for bringing friends and family to my mind and reminding me to pray for them during the day. Thank You that You have grown me into that kind of prayer life. Show me how You want to grow me next. Thank You for never giving up on me. Thank You too for showing me something new in this parable, just like I prayed You would. Thank You for answered and unanswered prayers.