What Chokes Out God’s Word?

Don't let the care of this world choke out the Word of God.  Listen carefully to what God says.

August 3, 2022

"He also that received seed among thorns is he that heareth the Word;  and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the Word, and he becometh unfruitful."

Matthew 13:22

“And what about the seed that fell among the thorny weeds?
That is like the people who hear the teaching
but let worries about this life and love for money stop it from growing.
So it does not produce a crop in their lives.”
(Matthew 13:22, [1] HSB).


Jesus’ Parable of the Sower is a story with four scenes set around a farm where a sower is going about his work of planting crops.  We watch as the farmer plants the seed in four types of soil.  Only one of the four scenarios produces fruit.  The other three, the seed on the path (wayside), the seed on rocky ground, and the seed in the thorns, in time, all will die away, useless.  These four acts portray four kinds of hearts onto which the Word of God may fall.

The seed on the pathway is the reaction of those who “do not listen.”
The seed on the rocky soil is the “superficial” reaction of these “listeners.”
The seed is thrown in where the thorns grow are all those who are “preoccupied with other concerns.”

The seed on the good soil are those who don’t just listen but actually hear the Word, receive it, believe it, and the seed in that soil germinates and grows to maturity in Christ.

We learn from these soils that –

“…it is not mere hearing of the word which matters but understanding…” [2] (NBC).

The comprehension of the Word is vital for the new birth.  But when someone refuses to hear and obey God’s Word, Jesus said of them –

“And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell: and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7:26-27).

Let’s take a moment to think about the third kind of soil that grows thorns and other things.


“He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the Word.”
Like the other three types of soil, this one also heard what the others did.  We must remember that the problem was not with the seed (the Word of God) nor the sower (he did his job well), but the soil could not receive the Word.


“And the care of this world.”

“This soil represents fertile ground for the word, but their soil is too fertile because it also grows all sorts of other things that choke out the Word of God; namely, it is the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches that choke the word” [3] (EWC).

“The Care of This World – Worries”

Here’s the problem with this soil.  It is preoccupied with other things.  The seed was not that important.  There seemed to be an “initial interest, but with no genuine heartfelt response…” [4] (BKC).  This is much like people we meet every day who are from morning till night busy with the “cares of this world from morning till night.” We need to make a living, take care of our families, deal with the flat tire, keep the boss happy, and a million other things occupy our thoughts.  And as necessary as these things are, they are not the most important!


“And the deceitfulness of riches.”

“They take the time and attention.  They do not leave opportunity to examine the state of the soul.  Besides, riches allure and promise what they do not yield.  They promise to make us happy, but when gained, they do not do it.  The soul is not satisfied.  There is the same desire to possess more wealth.  And to this, there is no end “but death” [5] (Barnes).

“The Deceitfulness of Riches – Wealth”

Note, Jesus did not say “riches” but “the deceitfulness of riches.” In what way are riches “deceitful,” you may ask.  Let me ask, “how much wealth is enough?” The definitive answer from the wealthy is, “Just a little bit more.” It is so easy for us to become enamored with the idea of wealth.  If we are not careful, the desire for “stuff” overshadows everything else in our lives, and we want “just a little bit more.” Nothing else is as vital as being prosperous, having the appearance of affluence, you know, to impress the people we don’t like.  How foolish!  Think of all the time, energy, and resources wasted in pursuing something that can never be permanent.

Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven” (Proverbs 23:5).

The Bible tells of two things that last forever, people and God’s Word.  Believer, doesn’t it stand to reason that if these are what is eternal, we should spend most of our time on them?


“Choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.”
Beware, my friend.  Don’t let your worries or wealth be what derails you from doing what is really important.  Peter reminds us of the Word of God, where we need to put our time and energy.

“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;  And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;  And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charityFor if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:5-8).


Quote: “Pray, and let God worry” [6] (Martin Luther).




[1] HSB is the Harvest Study Bible from Harvest Ministries in Guam.
[2] NBC – Richard T. France, “Matthew,” in New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, ed. D. A. Carson et al., 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), 921.
[3] EWC – David Guzik.  Enduring Word Commentary, the electronic version in eSword.
[4] BKC – Louis A. Barbieri Jr., “Matthew,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed.  J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 49–50.
[5] BNB – Albert Barnes.  Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, the electronic version in eSword.
[6] Luther’s quote was downloaded on August 2, 2022.  From:  https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/martin_luther_151431.