Bible Reading Blog
“It's Not For the Birds”Categories: Congregational Bible Reading
BIBLE READING: Mark 4
The parable of the sower brings to light many positive elements regarding our relationship to God and his word. The baseline implication of the parable is that the word wants to change the hearts of men because that is what it is designed to do (Isaiah 55.10-11). Notice however, the entrance of the seed also encourages some negative things. Whenever the seed is cast, the birds come to eat.
This is not a good thing because the birds have a conflicting motivation with that of the sower. They are selfish and seek only to remove something that could potentially change the situation. In his explanation, Jesus tells us that Satan is like the birds (Mark 4.15). Whenever the hearts of men are exposed to the word of God, Satan makes it a point to be there.
We don’t often talk about the tactics of Satan, but need to acknowledge that he is working against us to minimize the effect God's word can have in our lives. He operates in a variety of unseen ways (Ephesians 6.12) but his first line of defense is to steal away God's power from our lives. When we are exposed to the word of God, Satan will show up in our lives because he wants to get to us before the word has an opportunity to change us. But he doesn't show up in a little red jumpsuit with a pitchfork and let us know what he is doing.
He works through seemingly unavoidable situations that create distraction, discouragement, and disillusionment. Ultimately if he can get us to believe the word of God cannot change us or if we do not allow ourselves time to consider its application to our life, he has succeeded in taking it away from us because we are like the hard ground. The word cannot sink in, and we provide Satan an opportunity to swoop in and take away the potential for God’s power in our life. So how do we combat this tactic of Satan?
1. We must saturate our lives with the word of God. Where there is no seed, there are no birds, and there is no change in the ground. But when the seed is sown, the birds are on the prowl. The more we expose ourselves to God’s word, the harder Satan has to work to take it away from us.
2. We must be open to change. Notice that where the ground is soft, the seed can sink in and begin to work. The only way he has opportunity to take away the seed is if the ground is hard. In the same way, we must cultivate our hearts to be soft to receive the word of God.
Satan is a liar and a deceiver. He understands the potential of God's word and he does not want us to be changed by it. When we cultivate our hearts to receive “the implanted word which is able to save our souls” (James 1.21), not only do we diminish Satan’s opportunity to take it away from us, but we create occasion for God to fulfil His purpose in us. The word has incredible power to change our lives when we accept its instruction. Don't let Satan take that away from you … it’s not for the birds.
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5.8)