I had no idea where I was until I started turning. Turning direction, turning the page, turning the soil, turning my heart.
All roads lead to home may be true if you keep turning, quite often completely around. From a navigational perspective the fastest way to the promise land ain’t the way God took the Israelites, and it was the cloud and the fire that lead them, (not sure how many times they heard the pillar of cloud saying, “recalculating route”.)
This memorial day I can’t help but see the road of this country that led through the humiliation of the civil war that neither side expected the direction it went, but forever turned millions back towards God as they saw the direction they were going lead to death and slavery on so many levels.
I know my way has been anything but the direct route. This week God had me on this lesson plan: turning, especially the soil is a good thing. I discovered that understanding the parable of the soils was absolutely critical and the deeper you go the better in so many ways.
Jesus, told us in Mark 4:13-20
13 And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? 14 The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. 17 And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. 18 And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 20 But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”
The ground of the path… the ‘way’
- Hardened by constant travel the easy and fastest way thru the field… hard and worn
- Our hearts get hard from going our own way away from God. This way seems the easy and fast way so it’s all too well traveled.
- We want life fast and now we don’t trust God to give us what we want when we want it.
- I don’t want to risk the time to really ponder this seed.
- What, cover this in meditation and prayer? (Like covering a seed with broken up soil) I have life figured out I don’t have the time for this.
- Hard headed, self approved, arrogant, I will do it my way.
- “Such are those who hear and don’t understand it” Matthew Henry who goes on to say ” If we do not break up the fallow ground, by preparing our hearts for the word and do not cover it in meditation and prayer we are like the ground of the path.”
- Now that we ourselves are not devouring this food/seed/bread, Satan the thief comes immediately and as Matthew 13 has it he devours it.
- Based on Matthew’s gospel and Mark’s we get a beautiful picture of this moment- like an animal strikes so quickly on its prey like the frogs,tongue Satan snatches this food from our heart.
- Or perhaps more appropriately like a falcon diving on rabbit his talons outstretched to steal my life.
- Lord help me devour this seed, Satan is waiting lurking watching me, yes me even now he sees the Bible and wants to snatch this food from me.
- How the hardness of my heart makes a great launching pad for the quick getaway Satan needs so as not to be detected.
- How much easier can he see it from the air when it sits upon the worn hardened arrogance of I know this stuff.
- Jesus uses this example first after saying we must understand this parable in order to understand all parables.
- Understanding that this process is happening every moment, Satan is very much wanting me to die of starvation; yes me, it is critical to my understanding any parable.
The ground on rocky soil
- We hear the word and receive it with Joy but don’t send down a root.
- I can accomplish this in my own strength.
- Self discipline, keeping the rules, checking off the boxes.
- Philippians 2:12 without verse 13
- Missing out on John 15 no abiding
- Martha not Mary
- Oh, it seems obvious, I’m not a legalist. Here is the mask I wear that allows seed to germinate yet bear no fruit because “apart from Me you can do nothing”.
- C.S. Lewis first book ‘Pilgrims Regress’ here was the Mountain top place of the Anglican, and the humanist and the classical: three pale men. Starving from the shallow rocky soil of self effort.
- The opposite of Bunyan’s “valley of humiliation” ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ where the soil is deep as in actual valleys.
- In our humiliation the mask is stripped off and we understand we can’t do this without God in all three Persons.
- How many times today will I take off without you Lord to go and do, do, do.. then look down my nose at others poor choices.
- Lord help me to humble myself so the soil is deep and my mask is off and send down a root into Your grace, that way I may flower and draw an-other’s pollen. We can’t bear fruit by ourselves.
The ground of thorny soil
- I love what Matthew Henry says,”the rocks spoil the root the weeds spoil the fruit”
- My orientation is smaller Story so I go about worrying, envying
- my money, my truck, my job, my ministry even my wife, my kids, my friends
- Somehow I can make them all weeds that I drink from their poisoned roots.
- Wisdom begins at fear of the Lord
- Rest begins at delight in the fear of the Lord
- The Larger Story : yes I have a role but Jesus “YOU” are the Hero
- Lord may I drink from your living water
- Trust that in the moments I can orient myself to Your story “in your presence is fullness of joy” Ps 16:11 Cameron thank you for always reminding us
- Father your fruit is of your will and my role is to abide in the arms
The ground of the good soil
- “Hear the word and receive it” or some translations “accept it” the verb in the Greek is much more pä-rä-de’-kho-mī “para” meaning usually close to or in proximity.. Jesus added a preposition to the verb dechomai meaning to receive by itself without the para. So why did Jesus add the “para” to it? I wondered and I studied till I found that by implication those two together can mean “delight in” my heart leaped for Joy.
- That’s the seventh Spirit of the anointing of the Holy Spirit from Isaiah 11 ” the delight in the fear of the Lord”
- The good soil does not just “accept it” or “receive it” it “Delights in it” like the ultimate steak dinner. (For me at least)
- Then we start adding up the fruit; what a wonder I observed in the metaphor. This being a grain crop such as wheat or barley or perhaps some form of corn, in order to have fruit requires pollination and in the case of these plants it’s not bees it’s the wind. Do you see it “The Holy Spirit” (just a note from my thick head, oh that’s why it’s windy in the spring)
- If I delight in the word I bud and flower, God’s glory 2Cor 3 from Glory to Glory shinning like Moses face who wouldn’t be attracted we are born to love that face.
- As I share that meal like I am here now, the Holy Spirit blows that pollen as He will to whoever He wills to make more fruit more seed … AWESOME
Yes, I had no idea where I was until I started turning. Turning direction, turning the page, turning the soil, turning my heart.
- The direction- BACK TO GOD
- The page to Mark 4:
- The soil of the Path, The Rocks, The Weeds
- My Heart now in the Valley of Humiliation and the Valley of Delight where the good soil is.
A deep melody with deep lyrics yet simple “Simple Gifts by Jewel”
When true simplicity is gained,
- To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
- Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.