There is a parable Jesus told, that is called by many as the Parable of the Sower and the Seed. For me, I personally have called it the Parable of the Four Seeds. But I have come to realize, even though the sower sows seeds, it really is one sower and one seed. One seed as in one kind of plant but sown multiple times in various ways.
The parable is found in Matthew Mark and Luke. I am going to post what the Lord told the people and the disciples first, and afterward the explanation the Lord gave the disciples.
Luke 8:4-8 And when a great multitude had gathered, and they had come to Him from every city, He spoke by a parable: 5 "A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. 6 Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. 8 But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold." When He had said these things He cried, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
And later, with the disciples.
Luke 8:9-15 Then His disciples asked Him, saying, "What does this parable mean?" 10 And He said, "To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that 'Seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.' 11 "Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. 13 But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. 14 Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 15 But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.”
We can see and understand that the seed is the Word of God and the ground it lands on are the hearts of the recipients.
Whether one gardens, is involved in agriculture, or not, it is not hard to understand that in order to grow something, one needs a seed or good cutting and a good place to plant it. Most of us realize that to have growth, the plant needs a place to grow, along with light, water and nutrients. Some nutrients may already be in the soil, and some are often added by the grower.
The Lord makes it very clear that the seed is the Word of God. And that the four types of ground are the four types of hearts of mankind who receive the seed. We can also see, there is an enemy who works to frustrate and stop if possible, the ground from having the seed take root, grow and mature, and even be able to produce fruit which in turn contains seed within itself, that if it makes it into the right ground, can continue the life-cycle of the seed.
One must understand that these seeds were not scattered on accident. This was a method of planting. The sower would wear a strap carrying a basket or bag holding the seed and then broadcast the seed into their field. And just like many fields in Israel, they are in nature very rocky. The sower even cast his seed among the thorns. So we know that this was not an overly cultivated field but rather a new or young one, still quite rough. Additionally, one needs to understand that in the parable, this field represents the world.
The enemy has a bag of tricks he works from. In the first type, “And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it” (Luke 8:5). And the Lord revealed that “Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved” (Luke 8:12). The seed made it into their hearts but is removed by the enemy. They were not in the right manner for the seed to grow within them. Note, these seeds were not dropped on the way to the field, but as he was doing his planting.
In the second type, “Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture” (Luke 8:6). And the Lord revealed that “But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away” (Luke 8:13). The seed was gladly received, but there was not enough present in the ground for the seed to have more than a good start. And the enemy knew the right kind of temptation to make the ground fail. From the same parable when recorded in Matthew 13:21, we learn additionally, that “when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.” Note, if one only heard the first verse and not the explanation of the Lord, one might think that it was simply an external problem from lack of rain or watering, but the lack of root, not matter the reason, caused the plant to fail.
In the third type, “And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it” (Luke 8:7). And the Lord revealed that “Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity” (Luke 8:14). The seed was received, but the enemy then came at it with much more from his bag of tricks, than he used with the first two types, for this seed had really started to grow within the soil. The soil did not really have what it would take for the seed to mature and make other seed, therefore the shrewd enemy knew how to cause the ground to fail. Note, this sower is casting is seed everywhere, even among the thorns.
And lastly, the fourth type, “But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold." When He had said these things He cried, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!" (Luke 8:8). And the Lord revealed, “But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15). Note, out of the whole field, finally some made it to truly good ground. The seed itself had what it took to grow but required proper ground.
The last group type are the ones that cannot be choked out. Does this sound familiar?
Psalms 1:1-3 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.”
It is so exciting studying the sower and the seed. The sower really is the Lord. He sows His seed to the whole field. His seed being His Word. And we know it all begins for each of us with the Gospel. Until He penetrates our hearts with His Word, we cannot begin to understand what He has for us.
Once the seed is producing, look what happens.
Matthew 13:24-30 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?' 28 He said to them, 'An enemy has done this.' The servants said to him, 'Do you want us then to go and gather them up?' 29 But he said, 'No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn."
Once again, the Lord revealed the meaning.
Matthew 13:36-43 Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field." 37 He answered and said to them: "He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. 39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 40 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
Now we see there are two kinds of seed. One sown by the Lord and one sown by the devil. The wicked are tares, and sons of the wicked one. From study, we find that the young tares that sprout up among wheat, look just like the wheat. And only when the tares and the wheat come to maturity, can one tell what they really are. In the days of old, the farmers who grew wheat, would separate out the tares after the wheat crop was harvested. When done manually, they would toss a group of the harvest up in the air, and the tares would blow away in the wind and only the wheat would be left.
We see that in Matthew 13:41b-43, the Lord will “send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
Both the Lord and the devil have their own resources. Of course, the devil’s resources are pale compared to the Lord’s. Both have spirits that work under their direction. The Lord uses His holy angels, and the devil uses his evil spirits. God is omnipresent and all knowing. But the devil is only one being and can only be at one place at a time. The devil is stupid for going against God and yet smart in criminality. The devil has no “unholy ghost” but God has the “Holy Ghost.” And both use whatever their seed produces for their purposes. The wheat is purposely planted by God and the tares are the production of the devil. Sin is like weeds that sprout all over the place without invitation. I believe this is because it is a fallen world and mankind has a fallen nature, which is the nature of the devil himself. Only when the seed of the Word of God goes forth, can we find good seed in growth and production.
This is the cry of the Lord for all of us: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” It is the heart of the Lord to save every soul possible. Each soul is precious and very near and dear to Him. It is why He came and did all He did for us. And for all who have the heart to receive His seed, it can grow and even bear fruit, which makes reproduction possible, for within the fruit is the potential seed of reproduction.
The power is in the seed. It is the seed in us that produces. The ground can only cooperate and having what it takes, allow the seed to manifest itself. An elderly man once told me to look and see the trees and the fields everywhere with their crops. As I did, he asked me if I knew where the trees and the crops come from? I knew to wait for his reply. He said, it comes from the ground. He said, the ground gives of itself so whatever is growing in it, can mature.
Consider it all. The seed does reproduce itself. The sower does sow the seed. The ground does have to provide for the seed to produce. One could say the ground produces. But the ground of the human heart, cannot produce godly seed, without God. Fallen ground produces fallen results naturally. The tares belong to their master, the master of the fallen world. But the tares and their master, both easily forget, the whole field and everything else, belong to the Lord. And God will do the harvesting, not the devil. The Lord only allows the devil to exist and do his bidding, for Kingdom purposes. In the end, “the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matthew 13:43a).
Understanding the good seed of God, certainly helps us understand, the Husbandman, the vine and the branches in a deeper way. The Husbandman (grower) is the Father, Jesus is the vine and we are His branches. We can produce nothing on our own. But as branches connected to Jesus, the Holy Spirit can flow through us and produce.
The fruit of the Holy Spirit is produced in Christians. Fruit, whether good or bad, always has the potential to produce more fruit. As we all know, fruit is called produce and the process is called reproduction. Within all seed, is the potential to be planted and make more of itself.
Isn’t it amazing that unkindness, easily reproduces more unkindness? Impatience, more impatience? Even abuse of any kind, easily creates more abuse. But praise God, good fruit comes from God, who is love and love overcomes hate. The best way to stop the flowing of sin and bad fruit, is with good fruit generated by the Holy Spirit. All the fruit of the Holy Spirit overcomes evil. By doing good and loving an enemy, it heaps coals of fire upon their heads.
Romans 12:20-21 Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him;if he is thirsty, give him a drink;for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
The full quote from Proverbs 25:21-22 says, “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for so you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the LORD will reward you.” But Paul was saying this is how to overcome evil, by not responding in the natural. To respond with good, as in the good fruit of the Holy Spirit. And praise God, this is where our reward is! This could mean heavenly reward but it could additionally mean, the reward of overcoming evil.
This goes along with what the Lord has said, as we see in Luke 6:35, “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.”
All “the fruit” in this world, is the direct result of good or bad seed and the ground it is received by. I personally think the two saddest cases are, first, the hearts who refuse the good seed of the Lord, and secondly, the third group type, those who receive the seed whereupon they almost make it, but their hearts do not really have what it takes. Selfishness chokes out the seed. The tools of the enemy are the thorns that choke out the word. How? It is done with the cares, riches, and pleasures of life, as shown in Luke 8:14. Additionally, in Matthew 13:22 we see that the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke out the word and in Mark 4:18-19 that the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things choke out the word. Only in the fourth group type, where the heart is good and noble and hears the word and accepts it, understands it, and bears fruit with patience (Luke 8:15, Mark 4:20, Matthew 13:23). This is the only seed to be truly successful where it is planted and even to the point of reproduction.
It is good to take note, that as seen in Luke 8:15, it bears fruit with patience. Consider the following section of verses from the love chapter of 1 Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Some versions say, love is patient, love is kind. I propose, that without patience, it is hard to be kind. And in pertaining to all fruit listed in the above verses, that without patience, none would be. Patience comes from grace. And grace is so easily received. But in order to share grace, one must be humble and determined. One must realize that grace was chosen to be given to us, when we did not deserve it and now it is up to us, to do the same. The One who gave us His grace, will not continue giving it to us if we do not give it to others. The Lord will have mercy on us for a measure of time (according to however He determines), but eventually, if we refuse His correction and education on the matter, we will cause the grace to stop by our own doing.
In conclusion, how awesome is the seed of God, His Gospel, His Word. We most certainly need to cooperate with the Lord, but it is the power of the seed that works in us, that enables us to be the sons and daughters of God. I believe the Holy Spirit can take any uncultivated ground that will yield to Him and break it up, and work it into ground that can be the fourth type. How do I know this? Because I had a hard and uncultivated heart myself. It is a matter of choice. Praise God, all we have to do is be willing to hear and accept the work of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. He takes stony hearts, gives us new ones, and helps us understand and follow through with obedience, bearing fruit with patience. And the gain for the Lord, for others and for ourselves is beyond us to ever be able to measure.
Thank You Lord for Your amazing grace, for once I really was lost but now I really am found.