“Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away.”
— Matthew 13:3-6
Why do some people fall away from the faith and others continue to the end? A person’s spiritual staying power depends on his or her inclination upon hearing God’s Word. Jesus explained this in detail by telling the parable of the sower. In this parable a farmer sows seeds on four kinds of soil; three were bad, and one was good. Each type of soil represents a way that people might hear God’s Word. Today let’s consider the first two types of soil and what they represent.
Seed first fell along the wayside path. In Palestine, small farms were divided by paths trampled hard by many feet, both human and animal. As the farmer sowed the seed, some of it fell on this hard-packed dirt. Because the seed was vulnerable on the path, the birds gobbled it up. This hard-packed soil represents the hearts of wayside hearers. Trampled hard by the hoofs of Satan and his herd of lies, lusts, and vanities, God’s Word has no place to sink in and take root.
Second, seed fell on rocky soil. This kind of soil was actually slabs of rock protruding from the hills or mountains with only an inch or two of soil on top. That soil was easily warmed by the sun, encouraging the seed to sprout quickly. But when the sun rose high, it scorched the seed. Having no root, the seed died. In the same way, rock-soil hearers feel enthusiastic about God’s Word when they first hear it. But while their hearts seem tender to the Word on the outside, inwardly they have no intentions of allowing the Word to change their hearts and lives. The instant that tribulation comes because of God’s Word, these people stumble spiritually, unable to withstand the heat.
Do you know people who fall into these two categories? Ask God to soften the soil of their hearts, preparing them to hear His Word and bear its fruit in their lives. Tomorrow we’ll address the third type of soil.