On the Sabbath, my soul-mate and I read Mark 4:15 which says: And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. We wondered how the word sown in people’s hearts could have it taken away.
I decided that I would read it in the New Living Translation. It made it clearer for me. The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message, only to have Satan come at once and take it away. I find it interesting that it says that they heard the message but it doesn’t say that they received it. It is like the message just sits there, not rooted and the enemy comes along and easily snatches it away. One Bible commentator said, “Hard hearts must be ‘plowed up’ before they can receive the seed, and this can be a painful experience” (Wiersbe).
Another Bible commentary offers this explanation: The great truth here taught is, that hearts all unbroken and hard are no fit soil for saving truth. They apprehend it not ( Mat 13:19 ) as God’s means of restoring them to Himself; it penetrates not, makes no impression, but lies loosely on the surface of the heart, till the wicked one–afraid of losing a victim by his “believing to salvation” ( Luk 8:12 ) –finds some frivolous subject by whose greater attractions to draw off the attention, and straightway it is gone. Of how many hearers of the word is this the graphic but painful history! (Jamieson, Fausset & Brown).
Luke wrote about these people in Luke 8:12: The seeds that fell on the footpath represent those who hear the message, only to have the devil come and take it away from their hearts and prevent them from believing and being saved. They hear the message but before it has time to sink in or take root so that they could believe and be saved, the enemy comes and takes it away. They hear but they don’t really understand.
When Jesus said, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” many of those who heard Him protested. They argued, How can this man give us [his] flesh to eat?” (John 6:51, 52).
And when He declared, “This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever” many of the disciples said that this teaching was too hard for them and they stopped following them (John 6:58). They heard the Word but before it had to time to really take any root, the enemy came and took it away.
As a result many turned away from the Light and the Truth. The truth was too much for them to handle. They could not understand that Jesus was offering them salvation–His flesh and His blood which would be sacrificed for them so that they could have everlasting life. They were blinded to the spiritual things and allowed their carnal thoughts and feelings to cloud their judgment.
Mark 4:15 is not just for those who have not accepted God’s gift of salvation but for those of us who have. Do we hear a message that God has for us but we let the enemy come and take away before we could apply it? Are we hearers rather than doers of the Word? These are the kind of people the enemy likes. Do we hear the message but ignore it? Do we make excuses? Do we allow the worries and cares of the world to preoccupy our thoughts so that God’s word has no room to take root and produce any good fruit? Or do we hear the message God has for us and we keep it and hold on to it until it bears good fruit? The next time God has a message for you make sure you respond the right way. Don’t let the enemy rob you of the blessings God wants to give you through His Word.