A Voice in the
"Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air came and devoured it." (compiled from: Mt13:4 & Lk8:5)
Back in August,1997 a commentary was presented, "Twelve Kinds of People". It discusses all the various sorts of people, saved and unsaved, describing them from the Scriptures. Regarding the saved: the various conditions, from the newly saved and excitedly growing, to the mature Believer who has grown to maturity, to Believers who are living in carnality, backslidden, in rebellion; nevertheless are saved, etc. And the unsaved: those who have never heard, those who have heard and rejected, those who pretend to be Christians knowing full-well they are not but are wolves in sheep's clothing, and those who genuinely think they are saved but are not due to having been deceived, etc.
In this series for the next four months we take a look at a similar sort of comparison that Jesus taught; only, narrowed down specifically to the Gospel message. As we learned in the Matthew series, Jesus explains that the "seed" in this parable is the "Word of the Kingdom" (Mt13:19), the "Word of God". (Lk8:11) Jesus taught that nobody can come to Him unless the Father 'draws' them. (Jn6:44) And as Jesus is presented to the world in various ways, we know that the basis for salvation is the Word, "So then faith is of hearing, and hearing through the Word of God" (Rom10:17); through Jesus Christ; there is "no other name" by which to be saved. (Ac4:12) And even if a person hasn't heard the name, Jesus, God has left Himself a witness to the whole world through creation. (Rom1:19-20) Thus, "have they not heard? Yes indeed: Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world." (Rom10:18,Ps19:1-4,98:3)
In the Matthew series we offered that the differences are not in the 'seed'; it is one "sower" (Mt13:18), the "Son of Man" (Mt13:37) and the seed all comes out of the same pouch. God's Word "stands firm in the heavens" (Ps119:89), it is unchanging. Jesus Christ is the "same yesterday, today, and forever." (Heb13:8)
We also suggested that the various soils do not change. They are what they are. But God "knows those who are His" (2Tim2:19) God "foreknew" those who are His. (Rom8:29) God has a "purpose" to everything. It is not His purpose that "any should perish but that all should come to repentance." (2Pe3:9) But for those He foreknew to be sons of destruction He also has a purpose, to display His wrath upon the "sons of disobedience" (Eph5:6,Col3:6) But He does not do as He is often accused of by the scoffers: indiscriminately condemning the poor ignorants to hell; but He demonstrates His wrath only after enduring the vessels of wrath with "much longsuffering" (Rom9:22) as He did with Israel, sending them prophets to plead with them to repent, "Turn! Turn from your evil ways! For why will you die, O house of Israel?" (Ezk33:11) ..."rising early and sending them" (Jer25:4)
And so, when the Sower, the Son of Man, spreads the Word, He knows that some of the seed will grow. And He equally knows that other things will happen to the other seed...His Word will be treated in various ways by those who hear it, according to the makeup of their heart...that in the end, the hearts all become revealed. You see, the "Word of God...is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart...all things are naked and laid bare to the eyes of Him to whom we must give answer." (Heb4:12-13)
Thus, when God sends out His Word, for the various purposes, even though it is 'scattered' as a sower scatters seed, each kernel has a specific mission: "so shall My Word be, which goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall succeed in that for which I have sent it." (Is55:11)
In past years, in connection with other topics, I have shared my observations of the neighborhood sparrows and crows. My neighbor has a feeder which is kept continually stocked with bird seed. This year she asked if I could build a bird house, so she could provide a place for them to raise their young, so that she could plug up the holes where they go into her attic and make a mess around her house. So, while I was at it, I made two; the second one for myself. You see: I also throw out pieces of bread for them. When they have young in the nest, they -really- like the bread, as it is easy to break up into little pieces, stuff their beaks, and fly up to feed their young. Mine was setup about 20ft from the kitchen window, so I've had a front-row-seat as they built the nest, laid the eggs, the first hatchling died, but the other three made it (a male and 2 females), fed the young, and then the young departed. After having followed the whole process for 3-4 weeks, I now understand what "empty nest" syndrome is... literally; when I came home from work one day and that 'last' baby had flown out, and the nest/house is now empty...deserted.
During the height of the nesting season, the parents flock around for the bread. Some even become 'attached': if I go for a walk and arrive back home from around the block, this one female would come along when I was yet a couple houses away, and 'escort' me back home, fluttering/hopping alongside the way where I was walking. They see me come in the driveway on the motorcycle, and come hopping along the fence expectantly. In the morning when I get up, they always seem to know 'when' I am coming out the door. The same female would always seem to be perched on the roof, just above the door, and would almost 'follow' the first piece of bread down to the ground, and snatch it up. On a couple of occasions she has even almost caught the bread in mid-air.
Sparrows are also like watching children. A couple years ago I shared how that one male came and "buzzed" me as I was sitting on the back porch, reading, and was then proudly strutting up on the neighbor's roof, chirping/bragging at what he had just done. A few days ago (as this is being written) we had a hot 90+° (F) day going, and I didn't see anybody running their sprinklers, so I set the watering hose at the end of one of the garden trenches, and ran a slow stream for the birds. They saw it immediately, and flew down nearby...and then 'hopped' quite a ways from where they landed, to the water. I've discovered you can tell the 'mood' of sparrows by their hop. These little guys all converged, hopping 'springily', just like children rushing to the swimming hole (last one in's a rotten egg!), in eager anticipating of some 'splash' time in the water. It's fun to watch.
Anyway, all this 'extraneous' introductory stuff to get to what we want to observe. Jesus told stories from real life in His parables; I think we can do similarly to set the stage. Yes?
During the height of nesting season, the sparrows are voracious for food: both for their own sustenance (do you know how much flying back and forth they do to feed their young?), and also for filling those eager, assertive, cheeping beaks in the nest.
On a couple of occasions, as I would approach the door, I would be looking out the windows to see 'who' was perched around, but not seeing much of anybody, would step on out to the back step... and then as I would flick out the first piece of bread... WHOOOOSHHH WHOMMMMPPPP!!!! Seemingly the entire neighborhood of sparrows (dozens of them!) all converge upon that single piece of bread, in a single instant! There is a mad scramble in the middle of this mayhem as several snatch it from each other, and eventually one gets a good beak-hold and successfully flies off with it.
-THAT- is the mental picture that came to mind as I was reading this parable in Luke recently.
Another thing I've discovered...I can't go feeding them TOO MUCH, otherwise when they gather around in their hords, they also begin to fight with each other.
But there is one thing that is a -given-. They may leave 'messes' where they perch. But I -never- need to sweep the driveway (where I throw the bread) of crumbs. Never! They pick it SPOTLESS! Even if crumbs were left after they tore the pieces into smaller beak-sizes, and flew off to feed the young, eventually 'somebody' comes back looking for more, and they pick even the tiniest crumbs... clean off!
Is this not what we see in the world today? You talk with somebody about the Word, and what is their reaction? A blank look, a blank stare. What are you talking about? Duh! Never heard that! God's Word is being 'swooped' upon and snatched away so that people don't have a clue. Sure, they may know about "churches" here and there, all over, but they haven't a clue regarding the Scriptures... God's Word.
This snatching happens in many various ways: Years ago the Bible may have been viewed in schools as mere 'literature' and respected. Eventually it was banned totally. Different 'translations' began to emerge. Then, 'paraphrases'. Now some, like the "Message", don't even resemble God's Word. Bible studies and classes little by little shifted from a teacher teaching, to everybody sitting around and 'discussing'. Through that process the Word was shoved into the background, as personal 'opinion' began to take precedence. Those same people then adopted 'worship' and 'praise'; no longer reading or studying the Word at all; but 'praising'. This praise more and more became the realm of the world's demonic rock concerts, complete with satan's drum beats, and sensual dance. So-called "christian" chatrooms would disallow the posting of pure Scripture, instead embracing 'discussions'. Ministers graduating from seminaries go into ministry embracing the notion that strict adherence to "Sola Scriptura" (Scripture only) is a sure-fire way to get into error, that a person must read the writings of various great men; thus they view the Scripture through these "lenses"; a lens, by definition, a tool which 'changes' that being viewed to look 'different'; thus, Scripture ceases to be Scripture, because in the minds and hearts it has been changed by all the lenses of the famous ones they prefer to hear, rather than God. They trample upon God's Word, making a mockery of it, embracing commentaries, eastern religions and world philosophies.
Jesus spoke of the end times, when it would be time for Him to return, and asked, "when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" (Lk18:8) What did God prophesy? "Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord Jehovah, that I will send a famine into the land, not a famine for bread, nor a thirst for water, but rather a famine for hearing the Words of Jehovah." (Am8:11)
You see, this is not only by God's 'permission', but by His design. On a side note: I have sometimes wondered 'why' the Lord is not opening the door to get the VW-edition printed. Within my spirit He has prevented me from pursuing the matter. Sometimes God "forbids" His Word to be given to certain people. (Ac16:6-7) And this is why Jesus spoke in parables, IN ORDER THAT some "may not see" and "may not understand" (Lk8:10)
Remember, the sower didn't -need- to throw seed by the wayside. He was not that 'sloppy' that, "Oops! some fell there 'accidentally'" In God's design, in His foreknowledge, He -purposely- drops His Word where He -knows- it will be snatched away by satan... "...the devil comes and takes away the Word out of their hearts, -THAT- they should not believe and be saved" (Lk8:12)
Jesus told Peter, "Behold, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat." (Lk22:31) Remember, God allowed satan to torment Job. (ch1-2) When He needed to destroy Ahab, He sent a "lying spirit" from among the fallen angels gathered before His thrown to persuade Ahab to do what was wrong, in order to be judged. (2Ch18:21-22)
Many Believers wring their hands bewailing the apostasy. But God knows all about it. In fact, it is part of His purpose, to reveal true colors. When the 'church' cries out, "Lord, Lord..." didn't we do all sorts of wonderful ministry "in Your name" and He replies "I never knew you" it will be because -they- are the very ones who snatched away God's Word, and refused Sound Doctrine.
The Word is snatched away when people go forward at invitations, having had their 'emotions' manipulated, so they then never again listen to God's Word, because: they "went forward"; they did the ritual. The Word is snatched away when so-called soul-winners press the person to "repeat-after-me" -the- prayer (a prayer which is not even in the Scriptures); and they are informed, "Sh'zamm! You're saved!" And then as they learn to become good little pharisees, they follow the 'traditions' rather than God's Word; they rest on "KJV, KJV, KJV", but don't actually know what it says. The Word has been snatched from their -hearts-. The Word is snatched away when everybody is reading the latest translation du-jour where God and Jesus are obliterated (trampled) as they worship "Judith Christ". Not to mention where they are too busy 'worshiping' to spend any time in the Word...of -any- translation or paraphrase.
And without God's Word, any claim or profession of "salvation" is false. If the invitation was maniuplated by emotions, it was not true salvation. Salvation (the faith) is "through the Word of God" (Rom10:17)
Really, when it boils right down to it, the coming antichrist won't even -need- to confiscate Bibles, because in reality, already, nobody is actually reading and obeying God's Word, anyway. Well... other than the "few" Jesus mentioned. (Mt7:14)
Do we even need to itemize how the Word has been snatched away from the world? They don't even make claims to Godliness. And what they see of so-called "christians", God's name has been "blasphemed" among them by those claiming to be saved. (Rom2:24) Jesus was giving these parables to Israel, God's chosen people. He didn't go to Gentiles, He didn't preach to non-Jews (except as they may have happened to be in the crowds). It is of those claiming to belong to God, today that would be those claiming to be "the church" with the label "christian", of whom He says that satan snatches away the Word, like a storming flock of birds. And let me tell you, when the sparrows play tug-o-war with that bread, it is with vengeance....for keeps.
"Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time left." (Rev12:12)
This is not 'me' saying this; these are the words of Jesus. And Jesus would often cry out: "He who has ears to hear, let him hear" (Mt13:9)