Shalom Fellow Israelite,
“For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes the things sown in it to spring up, so YHVH Elohim will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations” (Isaiah 61:11)
This letter is kind of a P.S. to one of my previous letters, “Rooted and Grounded”.
While reading the two parables in Matthew 13, “the sower” and “the wheat and tares”, I kept thinking that somehow there was a connection between the two, and that it had to do with the condition of the heart. The first of the parables is about the sowing of the “word of the kingdom” (Matthew 13:19). The apostles were the first of those sowers (that is if you don’t count the prophets of old as well as Yeshua). Paul and the other apostles declared the “word of the kingdom” from the Torah of Moses and the prophets (see Acts 28: 23-31). Notice that Paul quotes Isaiah 6:9-10, which Yeshua used in the parable of the sower, as it had to do with the ability of the heart of our forefathers to see, hear, and understand the Torah and the prophets.
Yeshua pointed out that the Word, like a seed, can fall on a variety of places in one’s heart. I can use my own life as an example of how the word at times was sown, but then stolen, or didn’t take root, or that the cares of this world choked off the growing plant. However, some of these righteous seeds fell on “good ground” and sprouted, and fortunately by His grace were watered and cultivated through circumstances and by learning obedience. "But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands [from the heart] will indeed bear fruit and produce: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty" (Matthew 13:23).
The next parable that follows the first, is about a seed sown on the good ground. Here is where I thought the connection might be made between the two parables, that is the connection being the “good ground”. Just about the time we think that we have overcome the birds, thistles and thorns, and the good seed of the kingdom starts growing in the good soil of our hearts, an enemy comes along and sows another seed/tare that may look just like the wheat, but its fruit is deadly. In this parable, Yeshua told the servants not to pull out the tares, but to let them grow together until the harvest, "…lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest...” (Matthew 13:29-30). We cannot do anything about the tares, as they are maturing alongside the wheat (YHVH’s seed). If I may alter the interpretation of the second parable, and ask: Could these tares be what we call the “flesh”, and its fruit - the “works of the flesh”? “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of Elohim” (Galatians 5:19-21).
The good seed of the kingdom that is sown in the “good ground” of our heart is evidence by its fruit of righteousness (Galatians 5:22), and is proof that we are “the sons of the kingdom”. But having the word growing in the good soil doesn’t mean that we are not in danger, as the enemy knows that his unrighteous seed can grow in the same soil and appear and look like the wheat, but its fruit is unrighteousness and all unrighteousness is sin. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9).
Another example of having received the “word of the kingdom” and thus being defined as the “children of the kingdom”, is that we love one another and are keeping His commandments. “Now by this we know that we know Him [the Father], if we keep His commandments. He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of Elohim is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him” (1 John 2:3-5). The greatest challenge before us as a restored people from the House of Yosef is to build up and strengthen family relationships within our communities and congregations. “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another…” (1 John 1:7a) “He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him” (1 John 2:9-10).