It was several years ago when a close friend of mine opened my life to a new way of reading God’s word. It’s a devotional exercise called lectio devina. Lectio Devina simply means “divine reading.” At the heart of this exercise is a very simple notion: God wants to speak to us, but in order to hear him, we have to be willing to listen.

So, for today’s devotional I will take you through a lectio divina exercise. My hope for you is that you hear God in a new and fresh way as you listen to Him through His written word.

Luke 8:4-15
4 While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable:
5 “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up.
6 Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture.
7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants.
8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
9 His disciples asked him what this parable meant.
10 He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,“ ‘though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.’
11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God.
12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.
13 Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.
14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.
15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

This is a meditation on your hearing skills – your ability to listen. Read this passage once slowly and simply listen as Jesus tells the story of the three soils.

(Pause to Read)

Now read it for a second time. This is the time you listen with your imagination. Imagine the scene Jesus is describing. Imagine the seed. Imagine what each of the soils must have looked like. Imagine what became of each of the soils (“plants withered, “chocked,” etc).

(Pause to Read)

Now read it a third time and listen with your heart. Surely this is what Jesus meant when he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (verse 8). Listen with an openness to receive, to grow, and to respond. This time read slowly. Pause for at least a minute of silence after each of the three soils is described and listen with your heart.

(Pause to Read)

Notice the word heart is mostly made up of the word hear. Maybe it’s just a quirk of linguistic coincidence. But maybe it’s a hint of something critically important. In the story Jesus told, the seed scattered in each place is the same: the Word of God (verse 11). The soil, although different in each place, symbolizes the heart (Notice verse 12 in the phrase, “from their hearts,” and in verse 15, the phrase, “a noble and good heart.”) Through this story Jesus invites us to examine the soil of our hearts. Is it hard soil – unwilling to hear? Is it chocked soil – distracted by the noise and demands of everyday life? Is it good soil – ready to receive, ready to retain, ready to reproduce? You may want to write down your thoughts.

(Pause to Journal)

Finish your meditation exercise with this lectio experience: Close your eyes and imagine your own heart as a field of soil. What sort of soil is it? Is it rocky soil, hard of hearing? Is it soil being chocked by thorns and stress? Is it soft soil, the kind that’s ready to listen and respond?
Imagine the Gardener’s hands right now working with your heart. Is he breaking the ground? Clearing the overgrowth? Seeding? Weeding? Watering? Cultivating? Allow yourself some space and time to listen. Write down your reflections.

“Cultivate my heart, Lord, so I may catch every word that falls from heaven – every syllable of encouragement, every sentence of rebuke, every paragraph of instruction, every page of warning, help me to catch these words as the soft, fertile soil catches seeds” – Ken Gire

I pray that you have been enriched and encouraged as you have gone through this exercise. And as you continue through our time of fasting and praying, I urge you to everyday, to put yourself in a position to hear from God.
Pastor Rob

One Comment

  • Virginia says:

    This remains as relevant today reading from 2 Corinthians 4:1-18
    Thank you for this tool that I have encountered before, I was grateful to “find” it again as a reminder from our Holy Spirit
    “Fix our eyes not on what is seen,but on what is unseen. What is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal”