April 9

Text:  Matthew 13:3, 4

"Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up.” (NASB)

The scene Jesus used was so common to life in their agricultural society it needed no explanation.  Until the age of machines, it remained common.  The planter was using the broadcast method of sowing.   First, the ground was prepared.  Second, the seed was planted.  To plant, the planter put his hand in a container of seed to get a handful of seed, then he threw the seed, and the seed fell to the ground.  This method planted crops like wheat and barley, not row crops.  It had the advantage of distributing seed to all places that could sustain a plant.  Its disadvantage was that the planter had limited control over where the seed went—it was not an efficient method of planting.

Paths to the villages were ancient.  Those paths followed the borders of fields owned by the same families for generations.  Thus for generations many feet walked that ground, making it hard, packed, and generally impenetrable.  Anything falling on this hard, packed ground was easily visible.

The effort to plant the field’s border near the path resulted in some seed falling on the path. The visible seeds on the pathway did not remain long.  The birds swooped down and quickly made a meal of them.

Do not miss the point!  Nothing was wrong with the seed.  Though the seeds became the birds’ meal, they were fully capable of producing plants.  Nothing was wrong with the soil.  If prepared to be receptive, the soil was capable of supporting plants.  The problem: the condition of the soil—it was hard, packed, and generally impenitrible.  The future would make it hard, packed, and generally impenetrable. 

God is extremely patient, forgiving, and merciful.  However, even with God, there comes a point when enough is enough.  Use Israel as an example.  God told them at inception to abstain from idolatry (Exodus 20:3-6).  For the generations of the Judges, they did not.  Nor in the generations of the United Kingdom!  Never in the Northern Kingdom!  Not even in Judah!  The result: the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities occurred.  In time, God rejected those who rejected Him—after generations of hardness!

Suggestion for reflection: Consider the condition of your inner being.  (Read Jeremiah 7:16-19.)

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