“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 what was sown along the path.” (Matthew 13:19)
When a sower (or farmer) was sowing his entire field, some seeds would always fall on the edges of the plot, along the path. This seed was eaten by birds and never got a chance to sprout and grow, since the soil of the path was too hard.
Jesus explains that this hard soil is an image for the heart of someone who does not understand God’s Word. Such a person has heard Jesus’ preaching, but the devil has snatched it away before he has taken time to really listen and understand. He did not make an effort to ponder Jesus’ words and to take them to heart.
A good example of this response were the Pharisees and scribes in Jesus’ days. They heard him preach and saw him perform miracles, but they did not take it to heart. They did not want to acknowledge him as the Messiah, and thus were too prejudiced to understand and accept his message. Jesus was angry and grieved at their hardness of heart (Mark 3:5). Having such a hard heart is dangerous. The Bible warns us: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” (Psalm 95:7-8).
Do you understand the Word that was sown in your heart?