Tag: parables and stories
Scripture reading for October 9th: Matthew 12-15
We are people made from the dirt of the earth. We have very humble beginnings, having originally been made from the clay of earth. God formed and shaped us in His image and likeness. (Genesis 2:7) He breathed into the formed clay, and it became a living being! This living being had a body, soul, and spirit. He was capable of knowing God and conversing with Him. He was given dominion over the earth and all the creatures, to care for them under God’s direction. (Psalm 8: 6-8)
Man was also given a free will. He could choose to follow God or go his own way. We all know what happened in the Garden of Eden. Man chose to follow Satan’s lie and lost his true life, dying spiritually and eventually physically. His heart became hardened and sin brought weeds, the curse, and separation from God. God’s love for man planned a way to bring man back to Him.
Jesus, God’s Son, came to call man back to God and re-introduce him to the Father. Jesus taught in parables as a way to convey truth to those who would be open to learn. He taught the Parable of the Sower as the first of His parables, teaching that it was a key to all parables. (Matthew 13:10-16) Those who hardened their hearts against God’s Truth, would not see or understand the basic truth Jesus was conveying. Those who would hear would be given understanding and be able to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
In this first parable, Jesus told of four kinds of soil and a sower who sowed seed. He taught them that the seed was the word of God and the sower was anyone who would declare God’s word. The soils represented the types of hearts of those who heard the word. Some hearts were hard like stone. Some had shallow soil that only allowed the seed to sprout. Others were weedy and choked out the word, making it unfruitful. Still others had the good soil that would produce a crop!
As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are to sow the word! We are to faithfully declare the word and believe God for a mighty harvest! The only soil we are responsible for is ours! Are you “good ground”? Humbly receive the word today and apply it to your life!
Scripture reading for October 9th: Matthew 12-15
Jesus used parables to speak to multitudes of people. The knowledge of the kingdom of heaven is hidden from those with hard hearts and closed ears. Their attitudes blind them to truth that God wants to reveal to them. (Proverbs 14:6) (Matthew 13:11-15) Parables are stories that speak of something common that all would know about and be able to understand naturally, but with additional meaning that applies to the kingdom of heaven and our own relationship to it. Jesus ended many of these stories with something like: ‘if you have ears, listen!”. (Matthew 13:8) Almost everyone has ears, but the listening that Jesus encouraged was spiritual and revealed truth.
As a former Iowa farmer, the parable of the sower always fascinated me. I raised corn one year for a Master Corn Grower’s contest. I took the pounds of seed planted and then after harvest the pounds of seed harvested off of this contest plot of nearly 200 bushels per acre. The return was over 1100 to 1! This parable talks about a thirty, sixty, or hundred fold return! Now that was good seed and good ground and God’s amazing grace! By the way, I got third place in the contest!
In this parable, the farmer scattered his seed and it fell on different types of soil. Some fell on the path and birds ate it up immediately. Some fell on rocky soil, and sprouted quickly but died out. Some fell among the weeds and was choked out. Most of the seed went to the good ground and it yielded a crop of various multiplication. This simple story that would have been very familiar to everyone in that culture held some spiritual understanding for those with ears to hear!
Jesus went on to explain the meaning to his followers. (Matthew 13:19-23) Those who heard the word but did not understand it were like the seed on the path. The evil one comes along and eats it before it can produce or even sprout. The rocky soil represents those who initially hear the word but have no depth of heart desire so the word dies out before a crop can come. The seed among the weeds represents those who receive the word, but the cares of this life and deceitfulness of riches choke it out before it can produce. Finally, those who hear the word and understand it and put it into practice are like the good soil, producing a crop that multiplies! The parable is simple and easy to understand, if you are teachable!
God is the farmer and He has commissioned us to sow His word in the soils of hearts. We can’t control what kind of soil the seed falls on but we have good seed! The Gospel seed will grow when conditions are right. Do an inventory of the condition of your heart today. Is the crop of eternal life growing in you? If so, are you deepening your heart’s soil so the roots go down? Are you keeping the weeds out? Is the crop bringing an increase? Could it be greater? God has blessed the seed and wants to multiply it through you!
Scripture reading for June 18th: Psalms 78-83
Oh how I long to see the next generations know the Lord! I am burdened for my children and grandchildren! They are living in a world that is growing increasingly cold and hostile to faith in God. Humanistic ideas and thinking permeates the school systems. Families are fragmented and many church people are luke warm or cold in their understanding and knowledge of God and His Word. Families are so busy that they often neglect their spiritual growth to pursue work, sports, entertainment or success. Priorities are out of order and problems in our culture spiral out of control. We need a revival of spiritual life! We need to pass the torch of faith!
Asaph, the worship leader who served David, wrote about this desire in Psalm 78. He began with a plea for his people to hear his teaching and the words of his mouth. He spoke in parables and uttered hidden things, things from of old. These were things that were taught by the fathers in an age past but were not then being taught. God often used stories. Jesus, himself, taught in parables. Parables are stories from common life that help us to understand spiritual truths if we have open hearts. Ears that hear do not just mean ears that function. They must also hear and comprehend.
Asaph gave the plan of passing on these teachings. The key was to teach the children by telling the parables and stories to the next generation. The next generation would then, in turn, tell them to their children and repeat this process from generation to generation. (Psalm 78:4-6) The purpose of telling the stories was to encourage each generation to put their trust in the Lord. They would remember the works that the Lord had performed and would learn God’s commands in order to obey them and walk by faith.
Asaph stated that the children were not to do as the fathers had done. They heard and even experienced the stories, yet forgot God. (Psalm 78:8) They were a stubborn and rebellious generation. They did not keep God’s commands or stay loyal to Him. They saw the miracles but still sinned against God. God judged them for their rebellion. These were the stories that were to be repeated each generation. They were given to instruct those with ears to hear!
Where are we failing today in passing the torch? Could it be that we do not teach the stories to our children? Have we as parents learned the stories and applied them to our lives? Have we set a good example as parents by obeying and living by faith? We ourselves must do what the Word of God declares if it is to have the desired effect! God promises to work through the parables to bring wisdom and understanding for life and godliness!
“We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders He has done.” Psalm 78:4