Mark 4:16-17 (NKJV)These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble.
Have you ever seen the early warning aircraft that’s equipped with a huge radar mounted on its top? The radar has a wide coverage in the air which enables the aircraft to pinpoint enemies’ locations so the friendly fighter jets can have early warning. Similarly, through this parable, Jesus also gives us early warning regarding how the different heart conditions of men will affect the outcome of the Word of God in our lives. He also pre-empts the devil’s schemes by telling us about his strategies in advance.
A farmer will be on a constant lookout for locusts, birds, insects, foxes, as well as typhoon, torrential rain, drought, and heat waves that may destroy the crops. Likewise, the devil uses all kinds of tribulation, persecution, cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches and the desires of the world to uproot, steal or cause the Word to be unfruitful in our lives, and we need to be wise, keep a lookout and pre-empt the devil’s schemes.
For instance, if we realise that our heart condition belongs to the stony ground category, we need to deal with it, because otherwise, we won’t be able to withstand the challenges aimed at sifting our faith regarding what we have just heard. Stony ground is where there is a layer of limestone embedded in the ground, or a field with rocks that only has a thin layer of earth. Because the earth is shallow, the seed sown cannot take root because there is no depth. Therefore, we mustn’t be shallow earth. Instead, we want to protect the Word in our hearts by letting it grow deep roots so that we can withstand the tribulation and persecution aimed at stealing the Word from us and causing us to stumble.
The Bible says that those with stony ground receive the Word with gladness. However, faith in God is not a formula, but rather it is developed through a deep trust in God and His Word through a personal relationship with Him, and we need to know God by reading His Word, praying and depending on Him by living a consecrated life.
This passage acts as a warning that we should be watchful against the work of the devil, and it also encourages to be open to the Word in our lives. We ourselves determine the condition of our hearts and the size of the harvest, or lack thereof, of the Word of God in our lives, Meanwhile, we also have to be vigilant to ensure that the devil does not succeed in stealing the Word of God from our lives with his schemes.
Sermon Series: The Seed San be Stolen but It Is Difficult to Uproot the Tree! (Part 2)