Jesus taught as He walked along healing, preaching and casting out demons. A lot of His teachings were parables or comparisons (placing of one thing beside another). For God to have the same parable to appear three times in the four gospels has to suggest strongly its importance for us to know its truth. In chapter 13 of Matthew verses 3-9 we have the parable of the four soils. In verses 18-23 Jesus explains the parable to his disciples and now to us as we read and study His word.
Let us first look at what they have in common. The sower (God) and the seed (Word of God) are the same in all four soils. I believe it is implied the rain or moisture is the same. What is different is the soil in which the seed lands on. The soil represents our hearts and its ability to receive the seed or the word of God to cause fruit to be produced out of lives.
The first soil the seed fell on was the “wayside” which speaks of a road or route. The ground is very packed or hard. The seed could not penetrate therefore no yield. v19 “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.” This represents a person that has been hurt or driven by their own desires so much they cannot or will not even listen to or receive the teachings of Christ.
The second soil the seed fell on was “rocky places”. Here there is so many rocks and very little soil that when the seedling came up the sun scorched it and it died. v20 “But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word immediately he stumbles.” At first there appears life but the seedling is not rooted in Christ as the life giving source and again no yield.
The third soil the seed fell on was “among the thorns.” v22 “Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.” This seed as well shows early life but dies because the sun cannot get to it. This represents the person that is so busy with this life they have no time for a relationship with God. We always make time for the things we love.
The fourth soil the seed fell on was “on the good ground.” Being raised on a small farm I know that the better preparation of the soil means the better the crop. The ground has to be plowed and disked to be able to receive the seed and the rain. After the planting it will need to be cultivated regularly to keep the weeds out because the weeds become like the “thorns” in the third soil. “Good ground” has to be fertilized regularly as well to have the nutrients the seed needs to grow to its full potential. I like to believe that most individuals want to do right and be “good ground” for God to work in and through. I also believe that most individuals to not understand what it takes to become good ground and remain that way. v23 “But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty." It takes a lot of effort to be an experienced farmer of the soil and of our hearts. It just does not happen all by its self.
We decide what kind of soil we will become. A dear pastor of years past used to say, “God gives us the freedom to make our own decisions, but He does not give us the freedom to decide on the consequences of those decisions.” Most good farmers was taught how to be a farmer. We as the children of God need to be taught how to live a godly life by someone that is well trained. It does not come natural. If there is anyone reading this and would like to have some help in becoming good ground, please contact our church and we would love to help you on your way.
I end with this statement of Jesus in v9 – “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"