One of the most well-known parables of Jesus is the Parable of the Soils. In it, He describes the four conditions of the human heart in response to God’s word. Please take a moment to read this passage in Luke 8:4-15. Linked is a nice animation of the story.
He begins with a farmer sowing seed. Luke said that the seed is the word of God. It’s the gospel, the good news that Jesus came to earth to give himself as the sacrifice for our sins, so that we may be with Him in heaven for eternity. The quickest summary is John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
The seed lands on different types of soil common in Israel: the hard path, the rocky soil, the thorny soil, and the good soil. We’ll see that the success of the seed depends upon the condition of the soil. For the next four articles, we’ll review the types of soil, the common conditions of the human heart.
First is the hard path. The path Jesus is talking about is tightly packed, hard dirt. The seed sits on top and never enters the soil. If the seed can’t even crack the surface, there is zero chance of growing and bearing fruit.
Jesus said, “As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up.” And He explains, “Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.”
The end is ominous: “so that they may not believe and be saved.” He is talking about eternal ramifications for our soil. This is serious. Satan will literally do anything to keep the soil hard and take away the seed.
Many people have heard the gospel, but their hearts have hardened due to many reasons: sin, pride, perhaps their upbringing. They would rather not have anything to do with the kingdom of God. The word of God may offend them, or even anger them. They either don’t understand or don’t want to understand. Stuffing it down people’s throats won’t help. God has to open their hearts. They need their hard soil plowed and loosened up, so the seed can get in and start growing. Our job is to sow the seed periodically and to pray.
A person example is both my father and Michelle’s father. We literally prayed decades to have their hearts open up and soften, and it wasn’t until their mid-70s when God plowed up that hard soil. He let the seed of His gospel get down deep, and start to grow. Persistence in prayer is key. If you are this kind of soil, guess what? You can pray for God to come into your heart, soften it up, and for Him to plant His seed, in your life.
Linked is my message on this topic at Cornerstone Community Church.