Hear, ye, hear ye!
About a year ago, I received an email with the subject “Why do I hear but not understand?”
Sounds intriguing and quite timely as I had already sensed the Lord leading me to prepare a message on “hearing” and I wondered what He was sending me via email. As I scrolled down, there’s an image of an older couple with big smiles. Why are they so happy?
I kept on scrolling til I saw a diagram of a cross-section of the ear, showing the outer, middle and inner ear. I wondered what this had to do with my study, and that is when I saw that this was an advertisement for Air Miles and I could book a free hearing test. Too funny!
I love how God has a sense of humour. He used that email as a hook yet the question it posed is true. Why do I hear but not understand? Medically, the answer for me is damaged nerve cells in the inner ear. Hearing aids are my solution.
But spiritually speaking, what is the problem and what is the solution? In this post, I would like to show you the Biblical reasons for spiritual hearing problems and what we can do about it.
Hear + Understand
Let’s jump into this in the deep end of the pool. In a spiritual sense, we can lose our hearing which scripture mentions. Turn with me to Acts 28:27 and Matthew 13:15 for they both say for this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
So, what is “dull of hearing”? In Acts 28:26, Paul quoted from Isaiah 6:9 saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive:”.
The Hebrew word for “hearing” is akoe (ak-o-ay) is derived from akouo (ak-oo-o) and means “the act, the sense, or the thing heard and understood.”
So “hearing” is not simply hearing with one of our five senses but it is also understanding.
Hearing + understanding go together.
In Acts 28:16-28, Paul arrived in Rome as a prisoner under Roman guard.
To summarize this passage, Paul called together the Jewish leaders concerning his imprisonment and was given an appointment when they would come to his place of lodging (remember he was under arrest). When they arrived, Paul expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus. This meeting lasted from morning til evening. Some of the leaders believed some did not.
All listened but not all heard
They all listened to the same message, the same gospel but only some believed. At this point, Paul quoted, as led by the Holy Spirit, from Isaiah 6:9-10 (Isaiah 6:26- 27) 26 saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: 27 for the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
Paul ends his message with verse 28 Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.
What do we Hear?
So, what are we hearing?
The gospel message, Biblical truths, the Word of God preached. We understand it, we believe it. We live in obedience to what we have heard and believe.
Proverbs 23:12 Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.
Ezekiel 3:10 Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, all my words that I shall speak unto thee receive in thine heart, and hear with thine ears.
So, now we have read the word “heart” twice. What does that mean? The Hebrew word for “heart” in Proverbs 23:12 is leb (labe) and means the heart organ but also figuratively used for the feelings, the will, and the intellect.
Ezekiel was told through a vision (Ezekiel 40:4) And the man said unto me, Son of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart upon all that I shall shew thee…
What can we learn from this verse?
See, hear, and pay attention to what we are shown. Understand what we hear, the things we learn.
Hear the Mystery
There was a time when the mystery of the kingdom of God was spoken of in parables to the Jewish people and then the meaning explained to the disciples. Jesus said in Mark 4:12 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.
Who is “they”? He was referring to the Jewish people who came to see Him. Jesus used parables, the placement of two things side by side for comparison, to illustrate the truth of the spiritual realm by a story in the earthly or natural realm.
The gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, used the phrase “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” The people came from all over to see Jesus as they were attracted to His works more than His words. They came for physical healing but were unresponsive to His spiritual teaching. Did they have ears to hear?
While He spoke in parables and for a reason, the parables were intended to provoke serious thought. They were moral weapons to surprise and stir the conscience, and yet the people did not give it any thought. In one ear, out the other. Their minds did not understand and they did not grasp it.
Ears to hear. Where else do we read that?
Hear the Admonishments
Seven churches, seven admonishments. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
While these words were intended for these specific churches, we (the Ecclesia church) would be wise to heed the warnings and instructions and repent of our sins and come into alignment with the Word of God. Let us have ears that hear what the Spirit is saying.
That’s a Wrap
To summarize this study, we need to understand what it is we are hearing. Ask questions, dig deep for the answers. See what the Word tells us. Take heed to obeying the Word. If we have preconceived notions about anything, we need to let them go and take on the truth of the Word of God. See, hear, and understand the Word in context.
As we conclude this study on what we “hear”, let me ask you, how is your hearing? So, for us, is it possible for our hearing to become dull? Can our vision get cloudy? Do we hear what the Spirit is saying to us?
What are your thoughts about seeing, hearing and understanding?
As always, I invite your comments and look forward to reading them.