Have U Got Ears 2 Hear?

9 Jan

Our choir director, Tobin, told the choir about a night when his wife Lynette told their second son, Jonathan, to go up and brush his teeth and get ready for bed.

Boy with ToothbrushJonathan said,” No.

Lynette said, “Yes.”

Jonathan replied, “I don’t want to.”

So Lynette calmly explained that God wants us to honor our mother and father, and that obedience to mom and dad is an extension of our obedience to God ~ and sometimes a little boy just “has to do what mom says!”

Tobin was able to overhear them talking from upstairs, and when Jonathan passed Tobin in the hall on the way to the bathroom, Tobin asked him, “What’s up?”

And Tobin got a classic response in this teachable moment ~ “God told me to brush my teeth,” Jonathan said, “but I didn’t hear Him!” *

Jesus often used a simple phrase ~ “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (as in Matthew 11:15). Jesus said this in Luke 14:35 after he related a story, a parable. He said we should listen and understand; we should listen with the intent of obeying God.

Jesus wanted us to give high attention to what was spoken because He wanted us to remember His words.

I was a daydreamer in elementary school. It seems I was always thinking about something else Girl Daydreamingwhile my teachers spoke. They might say something that would send my brain on a creative journey.  I remember one time in junior high history, my teacher talked about the Roman “circus,” and I started imagining a three-ringed circus with lions, dancing poodles, and a ballerina on horseback.

Or I’d take a few phrases the teacher said and I’d start alliterating them. (I still sometimes do that with my husband’s sermons.)

More than once, a teacher called me down for my daydreaming with a sharp, “Dawn Marie, pay attention!” And I can’t tell you how many times my mother said that to me, growing up. She’d say, “Do I need to wash your ears out with soap so you can hear me?”

As a result, I’ve learned to be alert when others speak. I catch not only their words, but the nuances of their phrases ~ always listening for the hidden messages that might be there.

Some people refuse to listen to Jesus’ words. They are tone deaf to the music of the soul. They don’t grasp His meaning.

Boy_EarsToHearThe truth is, God gives us “spiritual ears” (perception) to stay in tune with His words when we become His own. Others may hear Jesus’ words, but they don’t understand, because the words are “spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

But how many of us believers hear and yet, like my Grandma Parks said, let the words “go in one ear and out the other”? We have ears, but we will not hear.

The scriptures talk about wasting words of counsel on fools. To a wise man, one word is enough,  but to a fool, a whole volume of chatter is insufficient to cause change. They have ears and “hear not” (Jeremiah 5:21) because they have “stubborn and rebellious hearts” (v. 23).

Throughout the Old Testament, God’s prophets cried out His to people who heard, but did not understand with the intent to obey … their ears were “heavy” (Isaiah 6:8-11) and they were rebellious (Ezekiel 12:2).  The people stopped up their ears “so that they could not hear” the prophets’ words of warning (Zechariah 7:11-12; see also Jeremiah 6:16-18). They only wanted to listen to others’ more comfortable, comforting words (Jeremiah 23:16-17).

We see this in the New Testament at the stoning of Stephen. He spoke to his attackers, but they covered their ears. They wanted to shut him up ~ they didn’t want to hear the truth (Acts 7:51-58a).

Those who truly love God also love the truth. They want to hear it and obey. Jesus’ sheep hear Woman Listening to Godhis voice (John 10:2-5). He doesn’t want our hearts to grow dull or our ears hard of hearing, because He wants to help us, heal us, and bless us (Matthew 13:11-17).

I love the words of Nehemiah 8:5-6. Nehemiah records that Ezra the priest read the Law of God to the people, and “the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law.” And when they paid attention, their response was to bow their heads and worship the Lord.

Listening to the words of God will do that to us.

  • We will understand what He has done for us.
  • We will be grateful.
  • We will worship Him.
  • And we will be quick to obey.

So … are you listening?

* Tobin’s story, used with permission

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