Today's verses are Mark 4:4-8. Jesus is using parables/stories to give spiritual insights into the kingdom of God. Verse 3 begins with, "Listen!" To understand the meaning of these parables, we need to listen carefully, closely to the points Jesus is making. This parable is about a sower who went out to sow some seed on different soils. The four soils described here are the four kinds of human hearts. They are:
1. A hard soil, on a well-worn path, where birds came and devoured it (vs 4).
2. Rocky soil, shallow soil that had no depth. The seed went into it but couldn't last long because there was no depth of roots available. When the sun arose it scorched the tender plant because there were not roots and it withered away (vss 5,6).
3. Thorny soil that choked the seed. The nutrients in the soil were not enough for the weeds and the seed. Eventually the thorns received the nutrients and the seed died (vs 7).
4. Good soil that received the seed. The seed went deep and grew. The crop produced thirty, sixty even a hundredfold (a most extraordinary amount for that day--vs 8).
Each soil represents a human heart. The seed represents the Word of God. Notice only one soil receives the Word and produces fruit.
What is wrong with the other soils? They had not been ploughed. The farmer who owned the land had not taken his plough and done the painful work of unearthing the soil, digging out rocks and weeks, making sure the seed could go deep.
Many of you often ask, "Why have I had to go through these painful experiences in my life? Perhaps God used those experiences to plough your heart! Perhaps your heart was hard, or shallow, or thorny (consumed with other "idols" that kept you from God). Therefore, because he loves you deeply and intimately, he allows experiences, circumstances, people to enter your life and plough your heart, to break open your heart. Only then can your heart tender enough to hear the Word of God that could then go deep into your hearts and eventually bear fruit for God.
It's been that way in my life. What I thought was a horrible experience softened my heart to God's voice. His Word then went deep within me. It started bearing great fruit for God's glory. I would have never been able to "listen" without God's plough!
Today, don't resist God's plough! Don't resist what he may be doing to soften your heart. Don't become angry at God for the very work he may be doing to draw you close to him.
God's Word, God's truth, needs tender, soft, pliable hearts in which to dwell. They are the only kinds of hearts that can produce great fruit for God!