"Hear then the parable of the sower. "When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road.
Insights: This is the man the Old Testament would call stiff-necked. This is the man who is unresponsive, inattentive, unconcerned, and negligent. He doesn't want anything to do with the gospel. It just hits him and bounces off. The condition of his heart has been so pounded and pounded and pounded with the sins of his life that there's just no sensitivity at all to the things of God. This is the heart that knows no repentance, knows no sorrow for sin, knows no guilt, knows no concern over things that really matter, and allows itself to be trampled by sin day after day. This person is never broken up, never softened by conviction. He is hard-hearted, callous, and indifferent. Satan is seen as the birds, the evil one, who comes and snatches the seed away. How does he do that? There are a lot of ways. One way he does that is by sending false teachers along to say all of that stuff was lies. Another way he snatches the seed is by the fear of man. People don't respond to it because they're afraid they might lose their reputation. Or they might be kicked out of their little group. Or somebody might think they're a religious fanatic. Sometimes Satan uses pride. Many prideful people are just know-it-alls, and they don’t want to admit that they need some help, that they need some information, that they don’t know everything. Sometimes Satan snatches it away through doubt. Sometimes he snatches it away through prejudice. Sometimes through stubbornness. Sometimes through the love of sin the person doesn't want to give up. Sometimes through procrastination. But one way or another or a combination of ways, when it hits that hard stuff, Satan snatches it away. You need to examine your heart at this point: are you that dry, hard, road on the edge of the field? You may be on the fringes of religion and activity but sins have just pounded and pounded and pounded down the dirt of your heart until it is utterly unproductive and unresponsive to God. Life, however, does not have to end this way if you are this hard-hearted hearer. You can at any moment cry out to the Lord and ask Him to till you heart and make it receptive to the gospel.
- Are you stiff-necked and unresponsive to the things of God?
- Are you willing to ask God to till your hard heart?
Prayer: Father, You are the only One that can truly change the heart of man. Break through the hard ground and prevent Satan from stealing the seed of the gospel I plant in the lives of hard-hearted hearers. Amen.