by Jeannette Haley
If you’ve ever experienced any sort of ear problem or hearing loss, as I have, then you know how indescribably miserable it is. We take our ability to hear for granted (along with just about everything else) until we lose it. Then, everything within us becomes centered on that particular disturbing disability. We agonize over our loss, and long for the problem to leave so that we can once again function normally.
God has much to say to us about hearing. This “hearing” has to do with “listening” to His Word. God says, “To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? Behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the LORD is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it” Jeremiah 6:10.How God’s plea should stir our hearts to respond, “Lord, speak to me!” Yet, we see God asking “who will listen?”
God wants to speak to us. He is always speaking to us, but are we listening? Did not the Lord God speak to the first man, Adam, and instruct him from the very beginning? Did they not have sweet communion until Adam sought for his independence from God and His commandment? Even so, did not God call out to him, “Where art thou?” (Genesis 3:9) God spoke to Eve, giving her the first promise of a Redeemer. He spoke to Cain, warning Him to do right. He and Enoch “walked together” for three-hundred years, until He took Enoch home. God spoke to Noah, telling him of His plan to judge the world for its wickedness. Thank God, Noah not only listened, but obeyed, or none of us would be here today. Consider God’s call and promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Think about God’s relationship with Moses, Joshua, King David and others down through the centuries.
God spoke to His people through His judges, prophets, priests, kings, servants, and handmaidens. He has revealed the eternal glories of Christ through the witness in the wilderness (the Tabernacle); through the feasts established for Israel; through the sacrifices; through terrible judgments and glorious triumphs. God speaks to the whole world through His creation, through the glories of the sun, moon and stars. Everywhere one looks in nature, whether within the animal kingdom, beneath the waters, or above the clouds, one can see the mighty power, wisdom and glory of God.
We can experience His mighty, wonderful works through our five senses. Not by zoning out into some mindless New Age type of “contemplative spirituality” but by listening to the countless sounds in nature, to inspired music, to gifted singers, to name a few. Think of what a marvelous thing it is to be able to hear, to taste, to touch, to smell, and to see. These things are given to us by God so that we can enjoy life. Have you stopped lately to simply thank Him for the gift of life? Or, do you take it all for granted?
God is issuing a warning, but the people do not hear. He says, “…my people know not the judgment of the LORD” Jeremiah 8:7b. Why do you suppose this is so? The Lord says, “How do ye say, We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us?” Jeremiah 8:8a. Has mankind really changed all that much since Jeremiah’s day? The answer is no. Don’t we think that we are the most intelligent, the most advanced, the most favored of the Lord? But the truth is, “The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the LORD; and what wisdom is in them?” Jeremiah 8:9.
So we see that God is saying (and are we listening?) that His people do not delight in His Word because it is a reproach to them; therefore, they lack wisdom. Reproach means shame, rebuke, and disgrace. Why is God’s Word a reproach? God’s Word is truth and light; therefore, consider that when the sword of the Word comes down and exposes our pride, rebellion, and stiff-necked, self-serving ways and attitudes, we have a choice to either humble ourselves and repent, or justify our sin and reject God’s Word. If we choose to reject His Word, then we become devoid of wisdom. God’s Word reveals who we really are, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” Hebrews 4:12, 13.
We can all look back at the Children of Israel and see their outward and obvious rejection of God’s Word. We can even compare ourselves to them and smugly point out that, after all, we live in an “enlightened” and “civilized” age where no one actually bows down to idols or believes that they have any real power in and of themselves. But, this is simply not true. For one thing, the Roman Catholic Church is an idolatrous and pagan belief system. (If you don’t believe it, we suggest that you read, “A Woman Rides the Beast” by Dave Hunt.) As a whole, we have simply become more shrewd and clever in playing the religious game that gives the outward impression that we are God-fearing Christians, while remaining idolatrous at heart. Many a devil hides behind religious garb and jargon, but the Christian who knows God and His Word will be able to discern truth from error in the midst of it all.
What is being passed off today as “Christian” in the “commercial mainstream” falls under the category of the antichrist spirit, but people love it because it allows them to remain in their pigpens of perverted religiosity, darkness, delusion and wickedness. As in Jeremiah’s day, except for God’s faithful remnant, people really do not delight in God’s Word, for it is indeed a reproach to them. It calls them to accountability before a holy God. Thus, they have embraced the new “Bible versions” from corrupted Gnostic manuscripts, because the Spirit, power and anointing that brings conviction is lacking. (A good book on this subject is “Gnosticism: The Doctrinal Foundation for the New Bible Versions” by Janet Moser, available from Southwest Radio Church.) The post-modern Christian has without so much as a whimper, allowed for the elimination of both the authorized version of the Bible (KJV) as well as the old hymns that proclaim the Gospel with clarity and power.
Everything today in the post-modern, seeker-friendly, emerging, man-centered church is geared towards bringing the world into the church, or, like the groups who hold “church” in basketball courts, breweries and bars, drag the “church” into the environment of the world. It’s all about making the church look like the world, talk like the world, and dress like the world, entertain like the world, and sound like the world. All distinctions between the world and the church are being eliminated as fast as possible from the pulpit to the pews. The result is such a church also reeks with the stench of the world.
No wonder people are flocking to these compromising churches! How convenient to offer all the trappings and comforts of the world, while giving people a false sense of spiritual security through a steady diet of vain philosophies, psychobabble, and emotionally-charged, superficial nonsense, while ignoring and eliminating the complete and convicting counsel of the Word of God! How devious and wicked it is for the heartless hireling shepherds to tickle people’s itching ears with flattery and smooth speeches that poisons their souls and turns them away from the very truth that has the power to deliver them from death and destruction! Oh! How clever and subversive are the ways of the devil in the midst of those who despise God’s Word, to make them enemies of the very God that they claim to serve. Jesus warned, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in they name? and in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” Matthew 7:21-23.
It’s amazing and heartbreaking how many Christians have never read the Bible through even once, yet the Bible is God’s Word to us! It is God’s revelation of Jesus, the living Word. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” John 1:1. How can we truly know God, know His will for us, understand why we are here, how we are to live, and where we are going if we don’t read, study and meditate on God’s Word? How can we discern good and evil, and test the spirits if we are ignorant of His Word? How can we make proper judgments and decisions if we do not have His Word in us? How can we live by faith, and not sin against Him if we haven’t hidden His Word in our hearts? How can we appropriate the promises as well as the conditions of God’s Word if we never study it? “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” 2 Timothy 2:15. How can we stand against the lies of the devil, the seduction of the world, the lusts of the flesh and stand in times of persecution and tribulation if we are ignorant of His Word?
The Holy Bible is God speaking to us. But, much to the shame of multitudes who claim to be Christians, as well as to this nation that claims to be Christian, the pure words of the Lord have been rejected for fables (so-called “Christian” novels, fantasy stories, and “feel-good” books, none of which proclaim the Gospel). These can be compared to wells without water. There is no truth, substance or life in them.
It is by knowing and obeying God’s Word that we “need not be ashamed.” God’s Word should be the delight of our hearts. We should be joyful when we are reproached (or reproved), corrected, and instructed in righteousness by His Word, so that we may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 16, 17)
The Word of God should be our most prized possession. Its worth is incalculable. Saints through the ages have been tortured and martyred in order to ensure that others, such as you and me, could hold this priceless treasure in our hands. Christians around the world today are likewise persecuted and martyred for owning or distributing Bibles, yet how much do we take it for granted? How many of us could stand with Job and say, “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food” Job 23:10-12?
- W. Tozer put it well when he wrote: “The present neglect of the inspired Scriptures by civilized man is a shame and a scandal; for those same Scriptures tell him all he wants to know, or should want to know, about God, his own soul and human destiny. . . .
“Whatever keeps me from the Bible is my enemy, however harmless it may appear to be. Whatever engages my attention when I should be meditating on God and things eternal does injury to my soul. Let the cares of life crowd out the Scriptures from my mind and I have suffered loss where I can least afford it. Let me accept anything else instead of the Scriptures and I have been cheated and robbed to my eternal confusion.” (Excerpt from “That Incredible Christian”)
As we consider our devotion, or lack of it, to God’s Word, let us be reminded of our Lord’s words in Matthew 4:4: “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”[Emphasis added] As we continue reading of Christ’s temptation in the wilderness, we see that Jesus always quoted God’s word to the tempter. Therefore, if we are to overcome the enemy of our souls, shouldn’t we be able to likewise say, “It is written”? In all of our years of ministry in the area of deliverance, we have yet to see Satan respect anything other than the Word of God. You can quote your favorite Christian leader, author or guru all you like, but Satan will only mock you.
Oh! That we would all humble ourselves and cry out with the Prophet Jeremiah, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts” Jeremiah 15:16. God is speaking to you, and to me through His Word. Do you have ears to hear? If so, He is saying: Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you. I will make known my words unto you” Proverbs 1:23. Are you listening?