Other seed fell among rocks. It began to grow, but the plant soon wilted and died for lack of moisture. [Luke 8:6 (NLT)]
If sinners take up religion in a fair day, they will lay it down in a foul day. They are willing to go to seas, but on condition there are no storms. They think too much of wearing a thorn, though it is borrowed from Christ’s crown. [D.L. Moody]
In the parable of the four soils, some of the farmer’s seed falls among the rocks. Again, this is not the farmer’s fault. Much of the soil of Israel and Judah was rocky and only a thin layer of topsoil covered the limestone base. While seeds might germinate, the seedlings would have weak root systems. Any moisture falling on such shallow soil evaporates quickly and, with roots unable to penetrate the stone, the sprouts soon wither and die. Just as the seed that fell on the pathway could be snatched away, it’s easy for the enemy to pull such weak seedlings out of the soil.
The rocky soil represents a shallow and impulsive faith—a faith based on emotions rather than a conscious decision to trust God with all things. We must never mistake outward fervor (in others or ourselves) as evidence of conversion. This is a “fair-weather faith” that answers the altar call with joy but disappears at the first sign of difficulty, service, or sacrifice. Superficial, it’s more about being religious than being obedient or devoted to God. This shallow response is what Dietrich Bonhoeffer might call “cheap grace…forgiveness without repentance, baptism without discipline, communion without confession, and grace without discipleship or the cross.” The Apostle James called it “dead” or “useless” faith because it goes through the motions without growing or producing fruit. With no depth of understanding, it is vulnerable and easily deceived.
Although human emotion can’t sustain our faith, with enough effort rocky soil can be broken up and shallow faith can deepen. When we deliberately choose to yield our lives to God’s plow and allow His Word to penetrate deep into our hearts, our faith can flourish and survive both drought and flood!