Did you know that in Matt 13 there are 4 types of hearts whenever the Word of God is preached?
Starting with verse 3, Jesus begins a parable of a sower (someone who plants seeds for a crop harvest) beginning to sow seeds. In verse 4 it begins to show what happens to all those seeds. The first case is that some of the seeds fall beside the road and birds came to devour them. In the second case, some of the seeds fell on the rocky places which, because there was no soil for the seed to take root in, when the sun came out to shine, it ended up scorching the seed so that it withers instead of grows.
The third fell into thorns and the thorns came up and choked the seed.
And lastly, the seeds that fall into the good earth yields fruit of a hundredfold, sixty-fold, and a thirty-fold.
So a parable (i looked this up) is defined as:
a short allegorical story designed to illustrate or teach some truth, religious principle, or moral lesson.
a statement or comment that conveys a meaning indirectly by the use of comparison, analogy, or the like.
and so in this parable, the sower is Jesus. The seeds are the Word of the kingdom. which is another way of saying the Word of God.
The first type of ground that the seed lands on is beside the road. In verse 19 the Lord says “when anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand, the evil one comes and snatches away that which has been sown in his heart. This is the one sown beside the way. In the translation which I read from (you can get a free copy of it here! http://www.bfa.org) There is a portion in a footnote in verse 4 saying “beside the way refers to a place close to the way. It is hardened by the traffic of the way; thus, it is difficult for the seeds to penetrate it. The wayside signifies the heart that is hardened by worldly traffic and cannot open to understand, to comprehend, the word of the kingdom” How clear and simple this is. and how much more I realize prayer is so necessary when going out to preach the gospel. when we pray, the Spirit broods over the each one preparing the way for that person to receive.
The second part of this verse talks about the birds that come and devour the seeds that fall beside the road as well. The birds signify the enemy,( the evil one, Satan, all of these are the same person), who’s existance would be cut shorter with each one receiving the gospel and so, does all that he can to keep ones from hearing the truth and goes even further to try take away everything the person has heard.
Just a quick note: I remember when I use to hear/read about people personifying Satan in this way, I always thought it was very silly. Lots because growing up, I see a lot of cartoon personifications. But it is definitely in my experience that there is an adversary in the world that is completely against you when you are really trying to pursue God, in the way of little distractions when you’re trying to read the Word or ministry, the EXTREME anxiety you feel when you want to speak to someone about the gospel, or just a general feeling of lagging lethargy when you know it is time to go to a meeting. He may not sit on my shoulder whispering to do other things, but he is nonetheless very real.
Ok, so this is much longer than I had originally hoped…so this will be: to be continued for now.