Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Matthew 11.15). Stubborn and rebellious as we are, we say, “Well, Duh! Why would anyone say something like, 'He who has ears to hear, let him hear?' Of course, someone without ears can't hear!'” And we totally miss the point that Jesus was making! Just what was Jesus saying when He said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear?”
Jesus was not concerned about those who could not hear! His concern was for those who could hear – people like you and me – but who chose not to hear. God has from the beginning of time been concerned with those who willingly turn a deaf ear to His messages. I want to illustrate that point unmistakably from the scriptures; I want you to see that God goes to extraordinary lengths to wake people from lethargy and cause them to hear His word. I want you to see that God has gone to extraordinary lengths to get you to listen with your heart to what He is saying to you.
Moses spoke to a people who had witnessed the power of God “up close and personal.” Yet, they believed not. Hear his words: “You have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land— the great trials which your eyes have seen, the signs, and those great wonders. Yet the LORD has not given you a heart to perceive and eyes to see and ears to hear, to this very day. And I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn out on your feet. You have not eaten bread, nor have you drunk wine or similar drink, that you may know that I am the LORD your God.” (Deuteronomy 29.2-6).
Had they been given adequate evidence? When they saw “...the signs and those great wonders” of which Moses spoke, from whse hand did they come? Furthermore, why did He perform these miracles? Was it just to deliver Israel from physical bondage? Was there a greater cause? Moses answers these questions even in the very words he spoke. “I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn out on your feet. You have not eaten bread, nor have you drunk wine or similar drink, that you may know that I am the LORD your God.” The greater purpose of the miracles was to cause a stubborn and rebellious people to open their hearts, and eyes, and ears and to listen to God! Though much younger, some of these same people had audibly heard God's voice, they had seen the mountain quake, they had seen the walls of water collapse killing the pursuing Egyptians, they had eaten the quail and the manna, they were wearing the very clothes that were on their backs even for years and years without wearing out – and yet, they would not hear!
Again to quote Moses, “Yet the LORD has not given you a heart to perceive and eyes to see and ears to hear, to this very day.” Whose fault was this? Was God to blame for the hardened hearts of the Israelites? Was it His shortcomings that were to blame for the closing of their spiritual ears and eyes? ANSWER: God was not to blame! He had done everything possible to persuade them of His supremacy short of taking away their free will! Every sign, every wonder, every kindness, every penalty for sin, every ordinance, every message had been for their benefit – yet, God had not given them a heart to perceive and eyes to see and ears to hear!
Can you see, dear reader, that God uses many things to turn our attention to Him and to His word, but the final choice is ours? If we fail to hear, who is to blame? “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Continued of course!)
1. With whom was Jesus concerned when He said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear?” Was it the people to whom He was speaking? If yes, why would He say that?
2. How had God attempted to open the hearts, eyes, and ears of the Israelites?
3. Had He been successful in achieving His goal? Why or why not?
4. Think and think long and hard on this question – Why didn't God give the Israelites “...a heart to perceive and eyes to see and ears to hear?”
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