“The seed is the word of God.” Luke 8: 11.
Very simply as well as strikingly is the word of God set forth to us in this parable. There lies the cold, dead earth, which of itself brings forth either nothing, or thorns and thistles. It has not the power to give man nutritive corn. When the husbandman, however, desires to have that corn, he takes good seed and commits it to the ground that had hitherto brought forth nothing but weeds. The soil receives it, and keeps it in the silent and dark secrecy of its bosom. Encouraged by the sunshine and moistened by the dew of heaven, it shoots there and grows up; and the cold dead earth by and by becomes the mother of a beautiful crop. The life was not in the earth, but in the seed; and yet the earth was just as indispensable as the living seed, before that these fair fruits could be reaped. Although the seed did not receive life from the earth, yet without the earth’s having its share in the work, the seed could not yield its fruit. It must offer the seed the soil, in which the root can shoot; in its bosom must the seed still be kept until it be ready to make an appearance above ground.
A glorious and instructive picture is this of the new life of grace. Like the seed, the word has a divine power of life. Like the earth, the heart is in itself lifeless, unfruitful of itself in what is good. Like the seed in the earth, the word is strewn in the heart and committed to it, simply to be received and kept there. The living power that God has lodged in the seed is the security that the ground, although in and of itself wholly incapable of bringing forth anything but weeds, will be changed into a fruitful field. Thus, however helpless you may feel yourselves to be, will the living seed of God’s word send forth its roots in your heart, and sprouting upwards bring forth fruit. Sinner, yearning for salvation, you have only to acknowledge that a living power is presented to you in every word of God. With that confidence must you keep it in your heart, and the certainty of fruit depends not on any ability of yours, but on the faithfulness of God. Only endeavor by prayerful consideration and faithful keeping of God’s word, to prepare a place for it in your heart.
Mourn no longer, then, that your heart is so hard and so full of weeds, but rather understand what you see every day, that by the keeping of the seed the dead earth is transformed into a fruitful field. Faith is not a thing that is present in you before you receive the word, or with which you must meet the word. No! there is life in the word, and it is by the word that faith is first awakened.
Meanwhile, forget not that there are many kinds of seed, and that every kind bears fruit according to its nature. A child of God, for example, longs for comfort in adversity; he chooses one of the promises of God to His people, sows it in his heart, and keeps it; the desired fruit is the comfort of God. As those who are troubled about your sins, you have need of the promises of God’s grace in relation to the ungodly. Seek for seed according to your need. “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion”; “He will abundantly pardon”; “He that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out”; “Christ died for the ungodly.” That is the kind of seed you must use. Every one of these words is a heavenly grain of seed containing power for eternal life. One of them is sufficient to bring forth, when it shoots up, the fruits of faith and peace and life. Let one of them be faithfully kept in the heart, and it cannot but be that faith will be born of it. In the seed is life: the seed of God’s word has a divine power of life. O, take, then, the heavenly seed, lay it up in your heart, and keep it there. Although you do not actually feel that you believe, resolve at least to hold fast by the thought: “It is the living word of God. God will give the increase in His own time.” The seed needs time for development. It must be kept a long time quietly beneath the ground: one day it certainly comes up. Day by day continue absorbed in heart with the word of promise and of grace. The true God and His living word are the guarantees that your experience also will be: “Faith comes by the word of God.”