The Hard Soil

Mark 4: 3-4

3Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4As He was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.

In farming, there are different types of soil that will yield different types of results. In the same way, there are different types of people who are at different stages in life and will thus receive the Gospel in different ways.

In the KJV vs. 4 reads:

4Some seed fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.

Webster defines the word wayside as a place that is “out of consideration.” It is “a condition of neglect/disuse.”

It seems as if there is NO CHANCE for growth here. This is the Hard Soil, which represents those who are hardened of heart.

Jesus reveals to us in vs. 15 that these are the people who will hear the word of God, but will not receive it:

15the word is sown, but when they have heard, Satan commeth immediately and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.

So, these are the people who hear the Word of God, yet it does not enter their hearts. Instead, it bounces right off. The promises of God and His way are lost on them because they are still lead by Satan. He takes away their understanding by feeding them with lies. They remain slaves to The Law, convinced that the sinful ways of the world are the only way.

My pastor has said this often and I am a strong believer of it as well. He says that the ONLY way to receive the power of the Spirit, the power to resist the devil, is to be in the Word. But, how can you be in the Word if you cannot even receive it? It would seem impossible.


With man this is impossible; but with God ALL things are possible.”

Matthew 19:26

Jesus tells us:

15the sower soweth the word.

So, the seed is the Word, and we are the soil, and the sower is God. And, sometimes it would seem as if you’ve found worthless soil, but if you’re a good farmer, you know that sometimes all you’ve got to do is turn it over a bit. It’s called tilling the soil. And, if you till the soil, you’ll find there are some loose spots there where the roots can reach in and take hold.

And as I studied this, it was revealed to me that the farmer is the tiller of soil, but God is the tiller of souls.

He did it to Jacob at Peniel. In Genesis 32, beginning in vs. 22, Jacob entered into a battle with God himself, and he left that battle a changed man! He demanded his blessing BOLDLY, and God gave it to him. He said “thy name shall be called no more Jacob but Israel,” (Genesis 32:28, KJV) the chosen nation of God! He took a man whose very name meant swindler and crook and turned him into the father of THE great nation.

He did it to Saul at Damascus. We know how Saul hated Jesus and persecuted the church. But, he was transformed when he was blinded on the road to Damascus and heard the voice of Jesus, the very man he sought to kill. And it says, after he received his sight again, and was baptized and strengthened,

“immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God… and he spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus”

Acts 9:20 & 29, KJV

Later, we see Paul, no longer Saul, becoming one of the founders of Christianity at Antioch. So, the man who persecuted the church and wanted all followers of Jesus dead became His greatest follower and the reason why we Gentiles have access to the Gospel today!

So, God can till the soul, and make spaces for the roots of the Word to take hold in our lives.

BUT! Let us revisit the battle of Jacob with God. In studying this, I realized that this was a battle that took place until daybreak (Genesis 32:24). It was a LONG process, which only ended after Jacob was maimed, leaving him with a limp that he would carry for the rest of his life.

And this is what we must go through. Before we can receive the Word, God is going to have to knock some holes into us where the Word can reach in and take root. He is going to take us through some things that will leave some scars and gaping holes, and this is where we are supposed to fill ourselves with the Word.

Now, Saul eventually received his sight again, but Jacob was left with a permanent limp. This tells me, that some of us are going to have to carry our scars for the rest of our lives. But, that’s not a bad thing because those scars are just a symbol of our victories and a permanent reminder of who God is. And some of us need that to keep us humble when God lifts us up.

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.

2 Corinthians 12:7, NIV

Fret not over your scars. The Good News of the Gospel is that if He brings you to it, He’ll bring you through it. He won’t leave you in the midst of it. Either He’ll deliver you from it, or He’ll help you move past it, and you WILL be able to carry it with His help. Remember how Pual found rejoicing in his sufferings when he realized God’s divine power in the situation:

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

2 Corinthians 12:8-9, NIV

Whether temporary or permanent, when you fill those holes in the soil of your heart with the Word of God, those bad hurts become good hurts. They become your victories and your shout moments instead of your downfalls because that is when God’s strength is revealed.

It’s important that we let God work in our lives even when it hurts. Remember that He is a God who cares and has a plan for His people.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11, NIV

The King James version tells us that this “future” is an “expected end.” Not only do we have a future, but we have a specific future designed for us, and that gives us hope. Remember Paul tells us in Ephesians 1 that, after God saves us, He predestines us for a set purpose. God has a place that He wants each of us to go and only He knows how to get us there. So, trust Him with your life especially in the hard seasons because that is the time where He is preparing you for the victory.

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