Let’s read Mark 4:10-12, “And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.” We read a similar thought in Isaiah 6:9-10, “And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.” This portion is quoted again in Matthew 13:14-15, John 12:40, Acts 28:26-27, and Romans 11:8.

In Mark 4:1-8, the Lord had given the people His parable of the sower and the seed. When He finished talking, He said in verse 9, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” It is obvious that not everyone had “ears to hear.” There were those who had long ago closed their ears and their eyes to the Lord and His truths. They simply did not have hearts that desired to know the Lord. We read the words of the Lord in Genesis 6:3, “My spirit shall not always strive with man…” The Lord is so very longsuffering towards men. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us the Lord “is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” However, there may come a time when the Lord stops striving with a man or a people. This is the case before us. Israel had been blessed to have their Messiah among them. Yet, in spite of His teachings and the miracles He performed to show that He was the Messiah, they rejected Him. John 12:37 says, “But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him.” They chose not to believe in Him.

Does the Lord ever give up on an unsaved person? Indeed He does. We read in Romans 1:21-23, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and THEIR FOOLISH HEART WAS DARKENED. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.” What was the Lord’s response to this rejection of Himself?

  • Romans 1:24, “Wherefore GOD ALSO GAVE THEM UP to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves.”
  • Romans 1:26, “For this cause GOD GAVE THEM UP unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature.”
  • Romans 1:28, “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, GOD GAVE THEM OVER to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.”

Even as it was in the days of Isaiah when he first made this proclamation, so it is today. Men today have turned so far away from the Lord. Their ears are not open to listen to Him. Their hearts are not open to accept Him. This is similar to what Stephen went through as he preached the Gospel to Israel. We read in Acts 7:57, “Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord.” This is what a young child might do when he hears something he does not like. He begins to yell to drown out the words he hears, and he plugs his ears so that none of the words reach him.What we see in Mark 4:10-12 is not an act of mercy. It is an act of the Lord in response to the people’s obvious decision to reject Him. In the parable of the ‘certain nobleman’, the Lord revealed the heart of the nation of Israel. They said in Luke 19:14, “We will not have this man to reign over us.” If you have not received the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior, listen to the loving plea of the Lord to you in Hebrews 3:15, “While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, HARDEN NOT YOUR HEARTS, as in the provocation.” It’s been said that the same sun which hardens the clay will soften the wax. Do not harden your heart against God, but allow His love and offer of salvation melt your heart unto belief in Him. (242.6)