Isaiah 28:23-26 (NIV)
23 Listen and hear my voice;
pay attention and hear what I say.
24 When a farmer plows for planting, does he plow continually?
Does he keep on breaking up and working the soil?
25 When he has leveled the surface,
does he not sow caraway and scatter cumin?
Does he not plant wheat in its place,
barley in its plot,
and spelt in its field?
26 His God instructs him
and teaches him the right way.
After the compost was placed evenly in the garden the two farmers left. As I wondered what was going to happen next they returned with a big machine. I overheard one of them telling the younger one that they were going to use the rototiller to mix the existing soil with the compost that they had put on the ground. I watched for the next hour as they went back and forth missing the soil and preparing it for the next stage of the garden.
Not only is it important not to plant in soil that is not inundated with thorns, but also to wisely choose soil that has the right essentials. I use a topsoil mixture, because it includes sand, clay, sandy loam (screened), ash, and peat moss. The right soil must also have the right depth, and proper drainage. If we allow God to work in us, He will provide the proper mixture of spiritual elements that will bring forth good fruit. Just like the experienced gardener or farmer instructs those who are new to agriculture, God instructs and teaches His children properly. If we rely upon Him, He will show us how to prepare the ground of our heart so that the seed of His word can be planted to yield a crop of righteousness.
"The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil.” NASU
God makes topsoil in the hearts of those who allow Him to work in them. He adds sand to filter out the fungus of sin, and clay to hold the soil together and give it consistency. In fact, ironically, man was first formed from the earth itself:
Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. (NAS)
Soil is a symbol of mankind in general, and also of man’s heart. Adam was the first man made by God. Adam means, “ruddy” or earth-like. There are all types of soil, but only the finest, and richest soil will produce fruit. Only God can put together the right elements in our hearts to bring forth what we want. And yet, God commands us to develop the condition of our own heart’s soil as well:
There are some key elements in what God considers to be good soil:
He who has ears to hear, let him hear...this is the man who hears the word and understands it...as they grew up and increased...these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance
Ears to hear, and to understand. A good gardener has understanding and knows what it takes to bear fruit. We must have intimacy with God, and with Jesus to understand His will, His plan, and to follow it. Jesus said that whoever is willing to DO His will, will understand His word (John 7:17; 8:31-32).
They grew up and increased. Here Jesus likens us to the manner in which crops grow. They start off as tiny offshoots, but they continue to grow, and mature. God is looking for those who will increase, who will bear fruit, who will mature in their relationship with God and man. Maturity is allowing God to complete, or perfect us (Romans 12:2; Philippians 3:12-16; Ephesians 4:13; Hebrews 5:14).
Lastly, those with hearts of good soil must hear what God says with an “honest and good heart” and hold fast to what they know God has commanded them to do. Jesus said if we love him, we would keep his commands. Good soil, enriched with mulch, tilled, and properly prepared, enables the seeds to hold fast to it. Good soil allows the word of God to hold fast to it, to sink its roots deep, so that the plant can bear fruit with perseverance. Jesus told the Philadelphia church, his end-time bride, that they must hold fast the word of His perseverance:
Dear Lord, we pray that our hearts would be prepared and ready for the good news that You have given to use. We pray that what is planted there would grow into great fruit for You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.