The following is from an email I sent concerning a group I would like to lead. I was asked for a detailed plan, and this was where the Lord took me. I hope it blesses you, and may your crop be bountiful and your barns overflowing!
Luke 8:1-15 tells the parable of the seeds. I have always heard that passage discussed from the perspective that the seed was the message of salvation. However, the Lord used it to show me some powerful truth about His Word as a whole. This is what He revealed to me:
In verse 11, the seed is the Word of God. There is nothing that limits the definition of the "seed" to the message of salvation or Biblical text. Obviously the Bible had not been written then. In the Greek "word" means "the word of God, meaning His omnipotent voice, decree; especially of God, the word of God, divine revelation, and declaration, oracle." This is important because people need to hear God's word--His declaration, divine revelation, and omnipotent voice--regarding their prayer requests. I can sit and tell someone all day that God listens to them, but how do they know it is true? The enemy can easily tell them, "Jerri's only saying that to make you feel better," but if I take out my Bible and read a verse that specifically addresses their prayer or if someone has a prophetic word or word of knowledge that addresses their prayer, that is a foundation to stand on. My desire in this group is to utilize the word of God in whatever form He wants to release it. I believe it is vital to look to the Bible for scripture to stand on and pray over our circumstances, but I also want to release words of wisdom and the gift of prophecy because I believe the Lord speaks through those gifts, and the word of God is powerful. It is the foundation on which our faith can rest while we wait to see the manifestation of our answered prayers.
In verse 12, Jesus talks about the seeds that fall along the path. My original comments in my journal were "People curse our seeds. We try to believe for great things, but either past experience or other people tell us how crazy it is, and we begin to believe them." That is it in a nutshell, isn't it? We want to believe the great things God says, but we look at the past and the evidence seems to contradict it or people tell us we are nuts, and we end up exchanging the great things for the great lie. Then I did a word study, and I found it to be a bit chilling, honestly. The NIV says it this way:
5"A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up.
12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.
The seed, the word of God, was trampled on and eaten by birds. The word study for this, as I said, is a bit chilling, in my opinion.
The devil is the word "diablos", which is the name for "satan, so called because originally he accused or slandered God in Eden. The devil still slanders God by false and blasphemous suggestions. He is also the accuser of the brethren." From this alone, we can see that the seed falls, and the accuser comes along and makes accusations and blasphemes the Lord causing us to lose faith. What lies does the enemy tell? That God doesn't care? That we aren't good enough? That He would never use us? That God likes to see us suffer? That God tolerates us because He has to? And the most horrifying part is we believe it. We have to know God. We have to know His character. It is not enough to recite John 3:16. We have to know Him. We have to know His heartbeat. We have to know His face. We have to know the very essence of Him, or we will believe the lies about Him. The enemy is very good about twisting evidence and pointing fingers at God. We have to know the Lord so well that we don't buy the lies because every time we buy a lie, we lose our seed. Yes, the Lord can restore it, but the road can be long and painful. How much easier it would be to identify the birds and the things that trample our seed and learn to battle those things and not lose the seed at all.
And the words "takes away", "airo", means to hold in suspense or doubt. The enemy doesn't have to make us leave the Lord, just doubt that He will do what He says He will. In Mark, we are told that Jesus could not do many miracles because of people's lack of faith. All satan has to do is make us doubt or suspend our belief.
The part that really shocked me was that these people believed in their hearts. The word for heart is "kardia". It means "As the seat of the desires, feelings, affections, passions, i.e., the heart or mind. As the seat of the intellect, meaning the mind, understanding." The word "believe" is "pisteuo", which means "to believe in, have faith in, trust. Intransitively, to believe, be persuaded in the truthfulness of." I don't know what "intransitively" means, but the picture is pretty clear. These are people who really believed in the truthfulness of the seed, not those who thought it was a nice theology or a moral way to live. These were people who bought into and truly believed in its truth, but because the enemy was able to accuse and blaspheme God, and these people could not tell the lies about God from the truth of God, they left what they truly believe in and bought the lie. How many people believe God wants them healed but get trampled and lose the harvest? How many believe their prodigals are coming home, but the birds eat the seeds? We have to learn to protect our seeds. And the word "saved" means "delivered or saved". Can we take a step outside typical theological discussion and suggest people want to be delivered from painful pasts, grouchy bosses, or overbearing parents? Do we have to limit the word "saved" to salvation, or can it mean being saved from whatever oppresses a person? I believe God has the seed to deliver us from all oppression, not just eternal death, but we don't know how to raise a crop for harvest. The path can be an easy place to lose seed if we don't know how to protect it.
In verse 13, Jesus said some seed falls on rocks. Rocks look different depending on whose life we are looking at, but we all have to deal with rocks. Rocks are anything that keeps our seeds from taking root, any hard place that repels the seed.
Verse 13--"Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away."
The word "receive" means "to accept deliberately and readily, take, or receive." So these people receive the word, but something causes them to not depend on the word or hold on to the word. Those are the rocks. If we are going to deal with rocks, we have to be open and honest, and we have to do it in a place of safety and accountability. The rocks are there because we let it get hard. Maybe a spouse can't see God's word about their marriage because the wounds keep them from wanting to do their part to fix it. Maybe someone isn't writing that screenplay because a professor in high school blasted them repeatedly on their papers and productions. Rocks can take all forms, but they have one thing in common--they repel seeds. Rocks have to be removed from the field if we hope to have a great harvest.
Verse 14 seems to be the most simplistic. It all seems to be wrapped up in the definition of "life". "Bios" means "life, the business and affairs of life, goods for living. Bios refers to the duration, means, and manners of life." Wow. The business of life keeps people from maturing, which means "to bring to perfect or ripeness". We get so caught up in trying to live that we never get ripe. We are so busy trying to accomplish something that we don't accomplish our calling, our purpose in the Lord. Have we so lost our identity that we don't understand the value of who we are? Have we missed the fact that only ripe fruit produce the seeds that then produce more plants and thus, more fruit? In the effort of daily life, have we forgotten the power of living? How do we allow the Lord to restore our values and renew our minds so we are matured and become seed for further harvest?
In verse 15, we are told about the seed on the good soil. The good soil has several ingredients:
-a noble and good heart
-hearing the word
-retaining the word
These ingredients lead to producing a crop.
This is what I found during my word study on verse 15. The word "retain" is beautiful. It means "to maintain possession of, hold on to firmly, keep with care and interest, to persevere, guard, keep secure." Well, that is a sermon in and of itself. "Persevering" means to "remain under. A bearing up under, patience, endurance, as to things or circumstances. (It) is associated with hope and refers to that quality of character that does not allow one to surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial. Particularly, with the genitive of thing, as enduring evil afflictions. Specifically, patience as a quality of mind, the bearing of evils and suffering with tranquil mind."
The Lord has impressed on me that He wants His people to identify the birds and trampling feet in their lives. He wants to remove the rocks lying on the ground, and He wants to rip out the weeds that choke us. If we seek Him, He will lead us to remove these hindrances and show us how to develop good soil that brings about good crops. If you look at the seeds that do not germinate, in each case, the word is not retained, and there is no perseverance. The trampling feet, the birds, the rocks, and the weeds, make it impossible to retain the seed and persevere. The Lord wants to deal with those things in each of our lives because He has a harvest for us.