Because right thinking begins with right listening it is important to listen to understand.
I vividly remember trying to feed my baby grand niece pureed green beans on a dark back porch when we were building our cabin. What I didn’t know until I had a face full of green puree on my face was that she hated green beans. I learned quickly, you can’t force feed anyone!
Jesus knew that too.
And that understanding influenced Jesus’ teaching. A huge crowd had gathered, so huge that Jesus got into a boat and taught the people from the boat. Jesus told them stories, simple illustrations to help them understand God’s kingdom.
One of his stories is now called the Parable of the Sower. It is recorded in 3 of the gospels. (Matthew 13: 1-9; Mark 4:1-12; Luke 8:4-15.) Each author adds different pieces of the puzzle for us to understand the importance of this simple little story. It is a simple, but important story! When Jesus finished telling it, He gave them a strange invitation, “who ever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
Sounds like a leading question
Wasn’t anybody curious enough to ask? Had they joined the crowd to see what was going on—to see a miracle or maybe eat the food? It seems apparent that the people didn’t grasp what Jesus was saying; because when the disciples and his close followers were alone with Jesus, they asked him why He used parables to teach the people.
Mark 4:11 is baffling. Jesus explained; “the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.”
Why would He teach them if He wasn’t going to give them understanding?
If you reflect on what happened He offered it to them. He told them a story. He even encouraged them to hear, to listen and to learn, but they weren’t curious. They weren’t interested. They didn’t seem to have an appetite for the bread of life. You can’t feed people that don’t want what you are offering them, just like my baby grand niece.
This is so important.
Look at Mark 4: 23-25 NLT
24Then he added, “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given—and you will receive even more.
25To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.”
This verse says that those that understand will understand more. Those that don’t have understanding, even what they think they have will be taken away from them. This verse challenges me to be diligent, receptive and attentive.
Matthew 13:13 in the NLT “That is why I use these parables, For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.”
You have a role in the process of receiving revelation.
- You must value it.
- Desire it.
- Receive it.
Digest the Word of God.
Only what your body digest will nourish your body.
Think about it. Ask Precious Holy Spirit for revelation. God’s Word is the only book that you MUST know the author to understand. Precious Holy Spirit wants to give you understanding and application.
Jesus reminded them of Isaiah’s prophecy (Isaiah 6:9) that people would not listen to nor understand what Jesus would say. Mark 4 also tells the story, but it adds a very important question that He asked His closest followers. “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?
This parable is a pattern that will help us understand and receive revelation from God’s Word that produces real fruit in our lives. It’s not how much you know, or how many seeds you possess that produces the good harvest that God wants you to enjoy.
It’s what you do with the seed that brings a harvest.
Jesus explained what the four types of soil represent so we can grasp the revelation of how to really “hear” the Word of God so that it will produce a harvest in your life.
Hear to Understand
Matthew 13:19 says the hard soil is like the person who hears the Word, but doesn’t understand it. They don’t understand it because they don’t value the Word and because they use carnal understanding. Spiritual truths require spiritual revelation from God. This is another aspect of the ongoing partnership with Precious Holy Spirit.
Hearer That Abandons Their Faith
Jesus explained that the hearer with the stony ground received the Word, but it wilted because it didn’t develop deep roots. Without deep roots troubles and persecution cause the hearer to become offended and the tender plant dies. When results don’t come soon enough or problems set you back when you’re trying to go forward, the hearer with the stony ground gives up.
An Offended Heart
Offense takes place in a person’s heart when they form beliefs from circumstances and not from God’s Word. It begins with doubt and underminds your faith.
What do you do when you didn’t get what you asked for?
Or, when your faith is tested by health or financial problem?
or, when the enemy whispers “God failed you!”
The offended heart stops believing.
Do you only trust God when everything is going good?
Do you base your trust on your circumstances or His goodness?
We develop roots by persisting even when trouble comes. Push through! Hold on to God and His promises and He will take you through tough times.
He never promised that you would have a trouble free life, but He promised He would never leave you.
In troubled times go deeper.
How do I get the stones out?
- Think on the promises of God.
- Keep believing.
- Deal with underminding thoughts.
- Submit the part you don’t understand to God.
- Go deeper.
- Don’t give up on the promise from God.
Hearer Lost Their Priority
Weeds don’t need to be planted. Just pass a vacant lot and you’ll see plenty of weeds that no one planted. I have grown lots of weed gardens.
I’ve planted great seeds, hoping for a great harvest. The seeds come up and I am so excited. I can almost taste the tomatoes or green beans from the seeds I’ve planted. But soon I get distracted.
I have responsibilities, hobbies and goals and the next thing I know I got a garden full of weeds. I have to get a hoe handle to push back the weeds to even find the malnourished little plants struggling for life under the weeds.
Gardens have to be tended.
Weeds are automatic, but the good stuff has to be cultivated and you can’t put that on automatic.
- It is a process… that requires diligence.
- Cultivate what you want to grow.
- Water it.
- Fertilize it.
- Protect it.
Cultivation is a process that requires priority.
It means keeping number 1 NUMBER 1. If Jesus is your priority then live like it.
My take away- be a weed puller.
Feed your faith. Starve your fear.
Hearer With a Huge Harvest
I am so glad we are finally on the good ground. I’ve seen that demonstrated too. Wayne’s dad loved to grow things. He worked very hard over a screaming hot mold recapping tires to provide for his family. But when he got home, no matter how tired he was, he went to his garden with a hoe. He hoed out the weeds and aerated the soil around the plants growing in perfectly straight rows.
A weed didn’t stand a chance in his garden. And oh the harvest, the abundant harvest we all enjoyed from his garden, from his diligence.
Luke 8:15 nlt And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.
The seed was the same.
It’s different hearers and different responses to the seed that made the difference between bareness and fruitfulness.
Are you paying attention to the promises of God?
Are you cultivating the Word of God in your heart?
Is the seed struggling in rocky ground or being choked to death by weeds?
But wait a minute…
I believe that you are a cultivator of precious seed. You are hungry for a harvest and you are spiritual like my husbands’ dad.
Let me describe for you what that good ground, that good heart looks like.
Oh, and by the way I believe I am describing
- Hear God’s Word
- Cling to it
- Patiently persistent
I am convinced that God wants you to produce a huge harvest! That’s why He gave you such powerful seeds!
Hear to understand
Act on what you understand.
Be persistent, even when it’s hard.
Enjoy the harvest.