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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: F.E. Marsh :: Readings 401-450 (The Death - Three)

F.E. Marsh :: 437. The Thorny-Ground Hearer

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THERE are four ugly thorns that are mentioned in the different accounts of the thorny ground hearer, any one of which would kill the good seed of the Word, and these are “Cares,” “Riches,” “Lusts,” and “Pleasures.”

  1. Cares (Luke 8:14; Mark 4:19; Matt. 13:22). The Lord Jesus knew the engrossing and enslaving character of care, hence the repeated injunction which He gave in that memorable sermon of His, when He said, “Be not anxious for your life,” &c. (see Revised Version of Matt. 6:25, 27-28, 31, 34). When the mind is divided and distracted by anxiety, the attention is diverted from eternal realities. Anxiety is like a parasite which clings round a tree and destroys it, as when the ivy entwines itself round a young oak and eats all its life away by living upon it.
  2. Riches (Luke 8:14; Mark 4:19; Matt. 13:22). Riches in themselves are not an evil, when they are regarded as the godly merchant looked upon them. He said that he was “handling trust funds.” The evil is, when money is loved (1 Tim. 6:10), when we make “uncertain riches” (1 Tim. 6:17) the object of our trust instead of the Living God, and when they are a hindrance to following Christ, as in the case of the young ruler (Luke 18:23-24). “Riches are like thorns; they may be touched, but not rested upon. Canst thou set thy heart upon a thorn without piercing thyself through with many sorrows?” There is a story in Greek mythology which tells of one who lost the race because she stopped to pick up the gold which was thrown in her way. Ambrose says, “In gold there is a halter; in silver there is bird-lime; in the farm there is a bond; in the love of the world there is a chain; while we search for gold we are strangled; while for silver we stick fast; while we seize upon the farm we are taken prisoners.”
  3. Lust. “Lust of other things” (Mark 4:19). We need to remember that the word “lust” does not mean merely, that which is associated with uncleanness. Our word “desire” is more comprehensive, and is the thought that is signified here. To desire that which God forbids is sin (Gen. 3:6).
  4. Pleasures (Luke 8:14). It is related of Robert Burns that he was once under serious impression. He had times of serious reflection, as recorded by his own pen. He beautifully describes himself in the review of his past life as a lonely man walking amid the ruins of a noble temple, where pillars stand dismantled of their capitals, and elaborate works of purest marble lie on the ground overgrown by tall, foul, rank weeds. As Burns thought how this illustrated his own case he was filled with great alarm. The seed of the Word had begun to grow. He sought counsel from one called a minister of the Gospel. Alas, that in that crisis of his history, he should have trusted the helm to the hands of such a pilot! This so-called minister laughed at the poet’s fears, bade him dance them away at balls, drown them in bowls of wine, and fly from these phantoms to the arms of pleasure. Fatal, too pleasant advice! He followed it, and “The lusts of other things choked the Word.”
436. The Thirst of Christ ← Prior Section
438. The Test Next Section →

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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