Jesus told one parable in particular that spoke to everyone about their lives. I find the parable fascinating because it’s very real to us today. Now He told it in two different parts. He described the parable and then he told its meaning. I’m going to bring those two things together first here so that you can understand them and what it looks like.
You see Jesus said this. There was a sower that went out to sow. And he cast the seed out and it fell onto the soil. Now the seed He says represents the word of God and as the seed is being cast out, it falls on four different kinds of soil. The soil represents the heart of people.
The second kind of soil (and this going to be particularly important for Jacob’s life) was a soil where the seed was cast and it fell onto the rocky soil. So it grew up quickly. But when the sun came out it was so hot it scorched because it didn’t have the roots necessary. When we don’t have the roots necessary then the challenges of life cause some problems. In fact let me take you right into the parable and show you that. It says there – The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and once receives it with joy. (These are Jesus’ words here.) But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution come because of the word, they quickly fall away.
When you’re done today I hope you’ll be constrained or compelled to have your roots go deeper.
We’re going to see that Jacob lacked that. So when the pressure grew he lost it. That’s a good word to describe Jacob. He really lost it in our passage.
Let me bring you up to speed as to where we are; remember Jacob had been working for Laban for twenty years. Now he has this impression that it’s time for him to leave. Things aren’t the same as they have been in the past. It’s just time for him to move on. We talked about that desire sometimes that we have. It’s time to move on. We talked about that last week. So he takes that desire to the Lord and the Lord affirms that in his heart. Yes, He says, you can go back to your father’s country. And He says these five words: And I will be with you. We need those words. Because when we know that God is with us it helps us to trust Him. It helps our roots to go deeper into the soil. So that when the problems, the challenges, the thlipsis of life come, we know that God is with us, even in the midst of the scorching sun that takes effect on our lives and puts pressure.
Now verse 20 we get to the place where Jacob makes the mistake. The pressures of life get too much for him. His root isn’t deep enough. If his roots were deeper, he wouldn’t do what he’s about to do. You see he knows the Lord. When he left his home, he had determined that he was going to live for the Lord. He had the special experience with God, with His head on the rock pillow and seeing this stairway with angels ascending and descending but in verse 20 –it says And Jacob tricked Laban the Aramean. Now he’s under significant pressure. And under the significant pressure when any of us find ourselves hemmed in, we tend to resort to self-defeating, unproductive patterns that maybe we engaged in the past and Jacob falls right back into those patterns!
Now I want to draw some applications we go back to Jesus’ parable. Because see the real challenge for all of us is that when we face trials, when we face pressures in our lives, what are we going to do with them? Do we just start yelling at people and we start berating people? Are we going to experience a lot of anxiety? Turn back to patterns that we have left behind to serve the Lord?
How do we develop those strong roots that sustain us in times of trials, problems?
Turn to the Lord and seek His plan, his way (not ours) and dig into the word to see what the Lord is saying in our lives. Then we trust Him in and with the challenges of our lives as we live out in obedient surrender to Him.