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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

February 7, 2022

The Year of our Lord, Jesus Christ

Matthew 13:4

And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:

Mark 4:4

And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.

Luke 8:5

A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.

The way side type of soil is the hard packed soil. As can be seen above, Luke states why the soil was hard packed it was trodden down Picture a backyard that has big dogs. Around that yard is a chain link fence. Parallel to the fence there is a worn path where the dogs run back and forth, barking at anyone that walks past the house. They trod down the soil. Nothing can grow there because they stomp on it with their feet, destroying any small sprout that tries to grow and causing the soil to be so hard that no water or air can get down into the soil to feed any growth. Many have lives just like this. They have been so trodden down that the soil of their heart becomes hardened and no seed, no matter how good the seed may be, can enter in.

So, what happens to the seed that falls onto the hard packed soil? Does the wind blow it to other acceptable ground? Does the rain cause the seed to float over to good ground? No. Not at least in this parable it doesn’t. This is an example of a parable having one central truth, not everything about the parable supports that central truth. In real life seed that is sown on the way side may have wind blow it around, or water float it to other ground, or perhaps someone walks on it picking it up on the soles of their feet thereby transporting it to other ground. But not so in this parable. The seed is not spread to other types of soil. It is stolen away.

Mark says that the fowls of the air came up and devoured it up. Upon further explanation the Lord states clearly that it is His great enemy that devours the seed. Matthew says, “wicked one,” Mark says, “Satan,” and Luke says, “the Devil.” But Matthew adds something else; he writes: When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, (Matthew 13:19). This gives even more reason to carefully heed Solomon’s advice in Proverbs 4:7with all thy getting get understanding. Yep!

Until Next Time,

William T. Howe, Ph.D.

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