This week we continue looking at Elijah's ministry in 1 Kings 18-19 as we see how important it is to be in the Word of God.
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good morning you made it that's the good news welcome if you are new here this morning my name is gene i serve here at c3 church as your lead pastor and i heard a story recently about a couple who'd been married for 62 years unbelievable now you're probably thinking how how did they do it how did they make it work well one plausible reason is that the husband didn't speak i'll leave that one right there also he couldn't hear very helpful i won't elaborate well one day he was deaf and mute one day his wife was on the youtube just scrolling some videos she got tech savvy she liked to look at the youtube and she noticed one particular video that looked like her husband that's unusual but it can't be my husband she thought because well he was singing karaoke you need to hear and talk in order to do that don't you so she took a closer look he's wearing his favorite shirt that's my husband so her first thought was this must have happened last night jesus healed him this is amazing and at first she's overjoyed she's thinking wow i can finally hear his voice this is great but then she looked at the date of the video and it was posted over a year ago well that joy soon turned into sorrow this is pretty he's been hiding this from me for 62 years can you imagine that then that sorrow started to turn into anger this is really elaborate how could he have kept this up for 60 what kind of person do you have to be to do something like that she got so mad that she said fine i'm going to divorce this guy i don't care how long we've been in this i'm done all right so long story short they get to divorce court and they're at a hearing anyway i don't know how all this works but they're before the judge and you know he's keeping up the act even though he's caught on tape so they have a sign language person there for him and everything and she's just getting more and more angry at this whole situation how dare he is even keeping it up now so finally it bubbles up within her and she just can't help herself even though her lawyer just don't say anything let me do all the talking nope she bursts out it took me years to learn sign language for him years to communicate with my hands and as soon as i started getting good at it he started to pretend he was going blind today we are going to talk about about deaf and blind people in a biblical context we find ourselves in the rest of the story if you're new here we're just going through the entire bible in particular we're going to look at the things that people don't normally look at in church on a sunday and it's interesting how much of it there is isn't there seems like there's more of it we don't read than what we do and so we're going to do that today with a very famous story a lot of christians like this one it's not as famous as david and goliath maybe but if you've been in church for a while you've heard this account so we left off first kings 17 we saw elijah and we're getting into this concept here we did it a little bit with abraham and isaac but we're really going to get heavy on this concept that everything in the old testament is a pre-figure it all points to jesus that's the appropriate way to be looking at our bibles it all points to jesus and ultimately it all points to our eternal life in him that is our joy that is our hope that is where our citizenship is that's where we belong that's it so to do that to focus in on the small things and i've been teaching on this yes the miracles they're great but they're signs what do signs do signs point to something else jesus gets very frustrated with everyone when they get stuck on the signs and the miracles he's like i'm out right so this is the way it still is we have to focus on our eternal life and so elijah prefigured a lot of things and so we looked at that if you're new or you missed it you can go back through the app and you can look at those messages so now we find ourselves at first kings 18 through 19. so the overlying context remember there's the drought caused by ahab and his wicked wife jezebel she introduces all this false worship and now god is punishing them a drought can be a really bad thing even here in southwest florida what happens during the winter time we don't get a lot of rain we get fires and things it causes all these problems so you know they're having like a famine there this is a really bad bad thing so just remember that overlying context here so now we continue first kings 18 1 later on in the third year of the drought the lord said to elijah go and present yourself to king ahab tell him that i will soon send rain so elijah went to appear before ahab meanwhile the famine had become very severe in samaria so ahab summoned obadiah who was in charge of the palace obadiah was a devoted follower of the lord once when jezebel had tried to kill all the lord's prophets obadiah had hidden 100 of them in two caves he put 50 prophets in each cave and supplied them with food and water ahab said to obadiah we must check every spring and valley in the land to see if we can find enough grass to save at least some of my horses and mules so they divided the land between them ahab went one way by himself and obadiah went the other way probably not the same obadiah as the book of obadiah though it's debated but there's something like 38 obadiahs in the bible so probably not i'm not saying it is but anyway just in case you were wondering so obadiah he's walking along he sees elijah and that's an interesting reaction he goes up to him and he's like a lot of respect bows down low my lord is that you elijah yeah it's me i got a message for ahab and obadiah is scared he's like no you're going to get me killed essentially is the basic point if i boil it all down he's been looking everywhere for you all over the world and to everyone who says i don't know where elijah is he basically he makes them prove it so here's what's going to happen i'm going to deliver this message for you and the spirit of god is going to whisk you away somewhere might make you think of acts chapter 8. phil whisk you away somewhere and then when we can't find you he's going to kill me why would you do that to me well elijah swears no i swear by the lord in whom presence i stand i'll see ahab this very day makes obadiah comfortable he goes and talks to ahab ahab goes out to see elijah now to meet him and he levels an accusation there's the troublemaker of israel elijah flips it you're the troublemaker you and your family have brought this upon us through basically your idolatry so here's the deal and now and that's the backdrop a lot of people don't know that but here we get to the famous account that you've probably heard and elijah's going to set it up so we find out that there are 450 prophets of baal or bael or whatever you want to pronounce it like bail and then 400 profits of asherah this is a female fertility goddess so you have you know almost an even amount on the female side and male side and it says that these female are asherah prophets they're not necessarily female they sit at the table of jezebel jezebel's supporting these prophets but it shifts over to the prophets of baal we just kind of in the account forget about the other prophets from asherah so of ashrae so elijah continues and he says get all of israel let's go up on mount carmel here and we're going to have a contest is what he's going to set up so bring the prophets with you everybody so ahab summons the prophets of baal they go up on mount carmel and now elijah is going to set up some rules he's going to say it a couple of times too he's going to say get two bulls and he's going to give him what we would call today home court advantage all right we're going to have a contest here's what's going to happen two bulls you pick the one you want we're each going to sacrifice the bull we're going to build an altar sacrifice the bull but don't set fire to it whoever's god sets fire to it well that's the real god and if you're reading carefully he calls their god a lowercase g and he calls his god the lord so he's always saying the lord right the lord versus their god so they pick the ball they start the contest he goes you go first two i'll let you go ahead of me that's fine there are more of you he says i'm the only prophet of the lord but you have 450 prophets right so this should be easy for you so they begin they cut up the sacrifice and they're trying to conjure up their god and this is what they do so remember they have all these weird beliefs and they're going from about nine o'clock in the morning to noon so about four hours this is going on and on and on and elijah had told them already how much longer will you waver hobbling between two opinions if the lord is god follow him but if baal is god follow him so then they continue they're doing their thing and he begins to mock them he says around noon if you're reading a modern translation you'll have to shout louder he's scoffed for surely he is god perhaps he is daydreaming or relieving himself or maybe he's away on a trip or is asleep and needs to be awakened i want to hit the pause button on that because i've heard certain pastors go on and on about that relieving himself thing like elijah's the coolest person i have ever heard of he's in this middle of the thing and he's like maybe he's going to the bathroom and it's kind of interesting but i looked into this very very very carefully in the hebrew and in the greek and even with my greek teacher and we came up with this it's more like maybe he's unable to evaluate so before you get too excited about that it may be a bad translation here's the thing these are all very normative things that in ancient times people would do with foreign gods they would conjure him up they would awaken him from asleep so that's all he's doing he's using language like that like so there's some mockery there but it's not quite as exciting as i hoped it would have been anyway just so you know if you know that story and you've heard that version of it don't hang there too long so they start going nuts they're cutting themselves trying to conjure this god they're bleeding everywhere it's this crazy scene but nothing happens not a word not a sound no fire elijah's turn so he builds the altar it says he rebuilds the altar because one of the things that they're doing is they're tearing down the altars of the lord so he rebuilds the altar 12 stones each stone represents a tribe of israel so he gets it all set up he digs a trench around it says it'll hold about three gallons of water and here's what he does so he cuts up the bowl so he does all that then he tells the people get four large jars of water and soak this thing just soak it drench it and he makes him do it three times then this is what happened first kings 18 36 at the usual time for offering the evening sacrifice elijah the prophet walked up to the altar and prayed o lord god of abraham isaac and jacob prove today that you are god in israel and that i am your servant proof that i have done all this at your command oh lord answer me answer me so these people will know that you o lord are god and that you have brought them back to yourself immediately the fire of the lord fleshed down from heaven and burned up the young bowl the wood the stones and the dust it even licked up all the water in the trench and when all the people saw it they fell face down on the ground and cried out the lord he is god yes the lord is god so a couple of things to point out there pre-figures this is a pre-figure of baptism read john chapter 3 for example we're baptized in water and in the holy spirit a symbol yes of the holy spirit is the dove also fire and if you know pentecost in acts 2 when the holy spirit comes down on everyone it's like what flaming tongues of fire licked up the water it says really interesting language but god's word is very intentional so now elijah says gather up all these prophets he takes them out and has them killed he kills them all of the prophets then this is interesting elijah goes to ahab and he goes get something to to to eat or drink get some food for i hear a mighty rainstorm coming interesting so ahab goes and eats this king wicked king ahab and elijah he goes up and he prays and he gets in a weird kind of posture he's either kind of like kneeling down bowing down low with his head like down between his knees or he's sitting with his feet out in front of him with his head between his knees kind of a strange posture and he's praying he's going to start praying for rain he sends his servant he says look over the sea tell me if you see rain nothing it goes back and forth seven times finally the seventh time he sees it he tells him i see it like a rain cloud like a hand in the sky looking over the sea so he goes go and tell ahab get going go back to jezreel you know otherwise the rain might stop you is the point so then ahab does something kind of interesting he it says he tucks his cloak in his belt or like old-fashioned language girds his loins basically he gets himself ready and all of a sudden he has this supernatural speed he becomes the flash and he races to jezreel beating ahab and his chariot there pretty incredible now this is where most people stop they've been in church for a long time sometimes it's just the contest on mount carmel that's it some people go to the praying and they come up with different applications which are all fair right so the persistence of prayer god answering our prayers god's showing up things like that all totally fair but this is the rest of the story so i'm going to show you there are two sides to this coin you see there's more to prayer than that and there's more to the story than that we need to keep reading it wasn't designed so that we stop and then never go to anything else for years and years and years so here's the rest of that story turn the page ahab tells jezebel what he did so she's going to send word to elijah the god strike me dead if by this time tomorrow i haven't killed you so elijah gets afraid yes it says he has fear he's afraid and so he takes off he's going to go off to the wilderness but he drops his servant off at beersheba of his town well of the oath is what it's called and then he heads out to the wilderness he finds a broom tree and he prays to the lord i've had enough take my life lord for i'm no better than my ancestors he wants to die he falls asleep but then an angel wakes him up eats elijah and then he sees some bread cooked on a stone in a jug of water so he eats drinks goes back to sleep angel comes again elijah eat you're going to need strength for this journey it's going to take you 40 days 40 nights to go to mount sinai so you should be thinking of moses a little bit interesting so he goes he's sustained for this journey he gets to mount sinai and he finds a cave he spends the night in the cave but the lord says to him what are you doing elijah and then he levels his complaint i have served you zealously lord but the people they've broken the covenant with you they've taken on false gods this idolatry they've torn down your altars killed your prophets i'm the only one left and they want to kill me too here's what happens first kings 1911 go out and stand before me on the mountain the lord told them and as elijah stood there the lord passed by and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain it was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose but the lord was not in the wind after the wind there was an earthquake but the lord was not in the earthquake and after the earthquake there was a fire but the lord was not in the fire and after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper elijah heard it he wrapped his face in his cloak and he went out and stood at the entrance of the cave and a voice said what are you doing here elijah replied again i have zealously served the lord god almighty but the people of israel have broken their covenant with you torn down your altars and killed every one of your prophets i'm the only one left and now they're trying to kill me too a couple of notes here if you're really in the word this reminded you of what exodus 19 and 20 the giving of the law the same things happen right the thunder and fire the cloud the earth shaking people being absolutely terrified moses climbing the mountain he does two cycles of that if you read far enough he also stands at the foot of the mountain so it's very similar same place same stuff happening interesting but what's different you see with moses there's a very consistently allowed encounter also similarities too maybe it's practical elijah covers his face with his cloak moses has to wear the veil eventually very loud encounter with moses right so is the first round on mount carmel with the fire coming down but now what happens god's in a whisper he's quiet what is he saying well so the lord tells him go back the same way you came and traveled to the wilderness of damascus he's going to appoint three people hazel of aram appoint him king of abraham jehu grandson son or descendant of nimshir yes nimishi the king of israel and elijah not elijah eli shah this is where it gets a little confusing elisha son of shay fat as my prophet and he basically says anyone who escapes from one the other one's gonna kill him to summarize but i will preserve seven thousand others in israel who have never bowed down to baal or kissed him so they're like kissing the feet of these false gods then i'll just summarize for you get the calling of elisha so remember elijah is first elijah is second elijah sees him and he's plowing in a field with 12 teams of oxen he's in charge of the last team elijah does something that might seem strange to us he goes right up to him and he covers him with his cloak and walks away he's putting his mantle on him elijah is going to be his successor covers him with the cloak walks away elisha clearly knows what it means because he goes up to him and he says let me say goodbye to my parents okay that makes me think of jesus when he says let the dead bury the dead right come follow me say goodbye to my prayer well now let the dead bury the dead except elijah seems to be a little bit nicer he's like fine go ahead but think about what i've done to you that's what he says so he goes home and just like kissing the altar of bell let me go kiss my mother and father goodbye he says same kind of language so he does then he chops up his animals the oxen and he feeds them to the town's people this is important because it's kind of like he's committing to this new ministry completely he gets rid of all his animals and now it should remind you of the disciples right they leave their fishing profession they leave what they're doing and they fully commit to the lord well he's fully committing to this mantle this new ministry that's it he's getting rid of the animals there's no going back he knows what's going on paul references this account in romans and so we've been talking about this through the series quite a bit and it's very very very important i've heard people say they're new testament christians or from my observation and this was me early on in my christianity they read the new testament the most people generally know like these big stories like the contest on mount carmel david and goliath like the big things the first few chapters of genesis you know things like that you know the big stories but there is so much more as evidenced in the series we've been in the series for over a year and it's probably going to be another year you know but not a bad thing because we're really completely looking at the word of god there's nothing wrong with that it's educating us and some of you are like light bulbs are going off but some people will just stick with the new testament here's the problem there are several problems with that one you can't be a new testament christian you can't because about a third of it is old testament quotation or reference so you're reading the old testament if you're reading the new testament but here's the problem if you have not read the old testament if you do not understand this story you don't have the context and you can't understand it completely we learned that about the samaritans a lot of people were like you could see the light bulbs going off over people's heads oh now i get it now i understand why so this will become even deeper and deeper and deeper as we progress you need to understand the old testament in order to understand the new when jesus is preaching when paul is writing his letters peter james john they all expect you you the hearers or readers to understand that story that they reference think about it there's an expectation there that you know go through hebrews whoever's preaching that gets frustrated ugh i want to go on to things about melchizedek but you guys are babies you should be teachers by now why is he frustrated if you read he's constantly referencing all these old testament stuff in rapid succession he expects everyone to understand what he's talking about and when you don't you're lost that's why a lot of people get lost you get the hebrews like huh what are you talking about well if you go through the old testament you won't get lost you'll go oh yeah oh yeah and then it makes sense right so here's paul context for romans i've often said paul didn't sit down writing romans and say i'm going to write the greatest theological work ever written nope it's a simple letter to the church in rome disunity the jew jewish now christians gentile christians they're butting heads we're better we're better we're better going back and forth so paul's just using the really the first 11 chapters to level the playing field before he gets to 12. okay therefore now here's what you do with it no chapter numbers in the originals did not exist so not until about 1200 a.d stephen langton put him in there so archbishop of canterbury but anyway no numbers sometimes the numbers mess you up be good to get like a reader's bible and just keep reading because people stop and you shouldn't chapters 9 through 11 logical question being answered what happens to all paul's kinsmen that is jewish people that did not decide to become christians that have rejected jesus as the messiah has god now rejected them paul writes no god has not rejected his own people whom he chose from the very beginning do you realize what the scriptures say about this elijah the prophet complained to god about the people of israel and said lord they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars i am the only one left and now they're trying to kill me too and you remember god's reply he said now i have seven thousand others who have never bowed down to baal it is the same today for a few of the people of israel have remained faithful because of god's grace his undeserved kindness and choosing them and since it is through god's kindness then it is not only by their good works for that case god's grace would not be what it really is free and undeserved so in this this is a situation most of the people of israel have not found the favor of god they are looking for so earnestly a few have the ones god has chosen but the hearts of the rest were hardened as the scriptures say god has put them into a deep sleep to this day he has shut their eyes so they do not see and close their ears so they do not hear does that make more sense now probably most people jump right over that and they might go to things about grace or things about being chosen and we get on this rabbit trail of predestination but that's not paul's point here so we understand this better right to those who have their hearts hardened god will sometimes cause them to be deaf so they can't hear blind so they can't see but jesus has a cure for that jesus heals blind people we see that in the gospel probably the most famous example is john chapter nine i'll just summarize that for you for the sake of time they come upon a man who's been born blind somehow they know that he's born blind the blind beggar disciples are like what sin did he commit or what did his parents do what are the sin of his parents as a belief what did they do that this man would be born blind jesus says no that wasn't the reason he's born blind so that god's power or glory can be shown depending on your translation he's going to do a miracle so jesus does something weird and we're not going to get stuck on that there's reasoning behind it gets a little mud he spits on it and he makes a little solution he puts it on the guy's eyes and he's like go wash that's the pool of salon i mean scent go wash in the pool the guy washes in the pool he's healed everyone's confused they're like uh is this the same blind beggar that is that the same guy yeah it's me well it causes some trouble the religious leaders are gonna use it because jesus worked on the sabbath by making this mud so he's the total center for doing that this can't be from god he's like i don't know i can see now so they bring in the parents is this your son they're like yeah it is but ask him yourself he's old enough they don't they're scared they don't want to get in trouble they're like whatever they throw him right under the bus and they go back and forth who was this guy i don't know maybe he's a prophet they're going back and forth no he's a sinner he's like look no one's done this from the beginning of the world all i know is i was blind but now i can see and then he sung amazing grace nope so they're going back and they're going back and forth and finally they just they kick the guy out of the synagogue you're a total sinner get out jesus hears about it john 9 35 when jesus heard what happened he found the man and asked do you believe in the son of man the man answered who is he sir i want to believe in him you have seen him jesus said and he is speaking to you yes lord i believe the man said and he worshipped jesus then jesus told him i entered this world to render judgment to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind some of the pharisees so that's the religious leaders there who are standing nearby heard him and asked are you saying we're blind if you were blind you wouldn't be guilty jesus replied but you remain guilty because you claim you can see but there's more no chapter numbers so turn the page he just continues here i tell you the truth anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold rather than going through the gate must surely be a thief and a robber but the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep the gatekeeper opens the gate for him and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out after he has gathered his own flock he walks ahead of them and they follow because they know his voice they won't follow a stranger they will run from him because they don't know his voice it's about relationship if we have a relationship with jesus we hear him and we recognize his voice if he is our shepherd we will listen and follow him it's about relationship and the key to any good relationship is heart we have to love others we have to love god if we want our relationship to work out the heart is the key to hearing and really hearing requires humility a humble heart we need to approach our conversation with others with humility have you ever finished a person sentence for them you ever done that if someone really loves you what do they say that's not what i was going to say we assume right often times if we're being honest we come to a conversation just really wanting to say something and that's it we just have a point we want to make and basically we're waiting for the person to be done talking so that we can make our point we're not really listening but here's the thing in loving others we need to be listening it's important with people but especially with god praying is listening sometimes we have a lot of big ideas that we've come up with we bring them to god hey god i got this really good idea bet you haven't thought of it can i have it please please give it to me right this is what we do oh i got something real good god couldn't have possibly thought of this please god give me this not like please like tell me why i'm going through this or what do you have for me lord it's amazing all this big stuff and we're asking for it real loudly but we need to be humble so that we can hear the whispers from the lord we need humility you see to look for god only in the big things right people go to big churches think they think they're going to get big rewards big ministries popular leaders of course of course they have the back phone to god right if it's bigger it's better as if we go to the conference right because there we're going to be able to conjure up god like he's baal genie in a bottle oh yeah i'm going to conjure him up maybe he's sleeping to seek god in this way may be to miss him he's always there our god is not sleeping our god's awake very much alive he's in us why do we need to go anywhere to be with god don't you know that your bodies are a temple of the holy spirit within you you're holy but we always seek him somewhere maybe he's there maybe he's there god is often heard gently whispering to a humble heart as opposed to a hardened heart you see when someone becomes numb to something they need more stimulation to be satisfied but if we truly if we truly love someone then nothing but their presence is required and it is the same with god we often pray loudly and ask for an equal or greater response that's okay but we must have humility and the heart to hear the whisper that's important it's funny if you've been here for a while you know that we really really value the word of god here at c3 church it's important to us this this is our program guide we don't subscribe to anything else this it's enough people are really funny i see people write all these books with a whole bunch of opinions right and i like the commentaries if you're going to write a book do a commentary on this about the original languages the history that's fine that's not what i'm talking about a whole bunch of opinions and this is the program guide to the church right because this isn't good enough somehow they'll sell you the programs and get all the brochures for the program the word of god is enough that's it i don't have any better ideas than that and so this is why i use this this is the basis for my sermon it starts here not with an opinion and it's really funny because there are basically basically two types of people that come in through these doors and it's funny i can tell when they're not coming back because they'll say something like there's a lot of scriptures bye i'm going to see you again and here's why that happens and there's the other people and i hear these words a lot wow that was refreshing ah you read your bible that's why you like it here you want to hear god's word but here's why it happens as sad as it is i'll explain this to you we talked about the commercial church the modern church it is nothing like the early church nothing we are playing church at best compared to the early church so we at c3 are trying to get back there step by step it's difficult but that's not your big church that's not your big ministry i don't look like that i mean i've been in church where okay everybody in the beginning let's stand to honor the word of god never see that happen stand up at first you think wow this is going to be a problem it's not because you're not standing very long sits you back down and let me give you 50 minutes of my opinion very little of the word of god honor the word of god you know honor the word of god by standing you honor the word of god by being in it by listening to him all the time constantly but people are deprogrammed they're de-christianed right i don't want to hear this this pastor talk a whole bunch about his dog or something i've done that but what i know jacqueline's getting upset i'm not going to go there i had to pick on you i'll take a funny complaint once in a while but they're deprogrammed they're de-christian that's not what being a christian is christians are like no no no give me the word of god i don't want to hear anything else it's all i want to hear the word of god that's it little opinion fine joke fine i get it we're human but they're like that was weird think about how crazy that is if someone comes in here and goes man you know you just read a lot of scriptures done in a bible study i just read a whole book of the bible that's it we're done it's enough you're like that's strange why hebrews i referenced it you know it's probably a sermon that's probably what that is it's a sermon that's what scholars say it's a sermon this is a whole bunch of the word of god rapid fire going at it soak it up man this is the word of god that's unbelievable so when people come in and they're like huh yeah i know it's not culturally normative because well we're christians we're not supposed to be culturally normative we're supposed to be citizens of the kingdom of heaven that's different so it should be different it breaks my heart because what they're really saying is hey pastor i'd really like to hear more of you than god what it breaks my heart it should not be that way but it is these people have hardened hearts and jesus's solution for that if you don't know is kind of surprising it sounds mean it says that he taught in parables riddles so that the mystery of the kingdom of god would be hidden from those with the wrong heart so that having eyes they'd be blind having ears they'd be deaf to it doesn't want people there with the wrong heart we looked at the feeding of the five thousand right and if you look at john's account what does he do they keep following for oh we want more of the miracles and the signs he's like you know what eat my flesh drink my blood go away and they do just the disciples left and he says you two talked about that last week not codependent not interested in building a big church oh if you don't like it too bad parable the sower real quick a lot of you know it's really important because it's really the initiation of jesus's parables it sets the tone basically jesus is saying look i'm going to say all these great things here it's the word of god i'm the word of god but here's what's going to happen guys it's based on the heart that people are going to receive it so i'll explain to you both haves keep in mind jesus does not and it sounds really weird so farmer scattering seed some of the seed falls on a footpath that's all he says about it the bird comes and snatches it up got to put three versions together matthew 13 mark 4 luke 8 they tell you slightly different details that's okay but that's essentially the point but in luke he says the seed is the word of god so that's what's being spread here falls on rocks can't get any root bird representing satan snatches it away from them okay rocky soil can't get a really deep root so when it comes up it gets scorched it gets burned up or it falls away due to problems no deep roots there okay some falls along like around the thorn bushes or within thorn bushes they represent wealth and all the worries and things of the world chokes it out can't really produce any fruit but but some lands in the fertile soil gets nice deep root grows up produces 30 60 100 times the fruit these are heart conditions now he doesn't explain it to anybody he leaves out all the explanations i gave he drops the mic that's it bye so the disciples later they asked him privately what does this mean matthew 13 11 replied you are permitted to understand the secrets mysteries in greek of the kingdom of heaven but others are not to those who listen to my teaching more understanding will be given and they will have an abundance of knowledge but for those who are not listening even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them that is why i use these parables for they look but they don't really see they hear but they don't really understand and listen and understand this fulfills the prophecy of isaiah that says when you hear what i say you will not understand when you see what i do you will not comprehend for the hearts of these people are hardened and their ears cannot hear and they have closed their eyes so their eyes cannot see their ears cannot hear and their hearts cannot understand and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them quoting isaiah the old testament's kind of important as we read the word we must approach it with the right heart and the right intentions applying it to ourselves with humility it's only by the power of the holy spirit who caused this to happen to create a clean heart within us so that we can be fertile soil our hearts must be fertile for the word in order to hear it we are never never alone god is always there we just need to listen god speaks more frequently in persistent whispers than in shouts and perhaps less in the crowded conference perhaps less in the crowded church but definitely more in your bible perhaps sitting quietly on the shelf hearing requires a humble heart and so as i pray for you i'll begin with a psalm psalm 51 10 create in me a clean heart o god renew a loyal spirit within me do not banish me from your presence and don't take your holy spirit from me from the psalmist to now we have the holy spirit of god within us so lord renew us create a clean heart within us so that we can hear your instructions clearly i pray for everyone that you motivate them to dig into the word so readily available to us it's beautiful i pray that their eyes are open to your words so they can see so they can hear they can know you more deeply bringing us into a deeper relationship and love of you so that we can love others i ask these things in jesus name amen you