HEARING THE WORD OF THE LORD
Obligated to Hear
Every person has an obligation to HEAR what the Lord is saying. None are exempt from this responsibility. Hearing is to be an energetic activity, untainted by disinterest or indifference. Here is an activity characterized by probing interest, understanding, and commitment. Where these qualities are not found, acceptable hearing is not taking place. Where they are found, the blessing of God is sure to follow.
Hear the Word of the Lord!
Jeremiah gave this pertinent word. "O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD" (Jer 22:29). Other versions say, "Oh land, land, land . . . " I prefer "earth, earth, earth." The point is the location of the recipients--the realm of distraction and delusion. The world is the realm of the devil! He is the "god of this world" (2 Cor 4:4). The Lord Jesus referred to him as "prince of this world" (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). The occupants of this world are warned of the presence of their adversary, and they do well to give heed to the warning. "But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short" (Rev 12:12, NIV). Peter reminds us of Satan's intent. "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Pet 5:8).
If the Word of the Lord is not heard and heeded, there is no hope of survival in this world, or approval in the world to come. The gravity of our situation has not been recognized by the masses. They simply do not realize the seriousness of their situation--the jeopardy they daily encounter. The call comes from heaven to the inhabitants of this world, "Hear the Word of the Lord!" It is not simply a legal requirement--a law! It is for your survival! It is for your blessing! "Hear the Word of the Lord!" If you are in the image of God, you not only MUST give heed to His Word, you CAN hear it with profit! For purposes of this study, Scripture is "the Word of the Lord," to be read, considered, and heeded by the entire world!
Hear What the Spirit Is Saying!
When John received the Revelation on the Isle of Patmos, he was directed to "Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches" (Rev 1:11). What was the response of those churches to be to this "book?" In regard to the heavenly message, each one of the churches was told the same thing. "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches" (Rev 2:7,11,17,29; 3:6,13,22). When they read the "book," they were to hear what "the Spirit" was saying to the churches!
This is more than a technicality, reminding us that Scripture was written as the Holy Spirit moved holy men of God. That is certainly true, but it is only the beginning. The Holy Spirit still works through the written word. It is His "sword" (Eph 6:17), used to distinguish between even soul and spirit, and to uncover the secret intentions of the heart (Heb 4:12). We are subject to Divine influence when we submit our minds to the Word of the Lord!
The Lord Jesus spoke of those having the capacity to hear what He was saying. His words are relevant to this discussion. "He who has ears, let him hear" (Matt 11:15; 13:9.43). It is possible for the human spirit to be sensitized to the word of the Lord--to be capable of perceiving its intent and submitting to its power. No blessing is promised to those that cannot or will not hear. Those that are casual or complacent when they hear the Word of the Lord, linger of the precipice of eternal ruin! I am concerned about the generally limited appetite of church people for the Word of the Living God. This is a kingdom abnormality that makes it impossible to benefit from God's Word. Whether it is in the young or the old, indifference to what God is saying is never condoned, never overlooked, never blessed!
Put It Into Your Ears!
Our unquestionable obligation to the Word of the Lord is to hear it! As Jesus said elsewhere, "Let these sayings sink down into your ears" (Luke 9:44, KJV). Literally translated, the phrase "sink down into your hears" is "put into your ears." This is an emphatic expression denoting careful attention to what is being said. It is to be the posture of everyone subjected to the Word. They have a solemn obligation to consider carefully what is being said. It is to be weighed, pondered, and placed along side of their own person. The unavoidable implication is, the Word of God will not work within the individual unless this circumstance takes place. As it is written, "Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live" (Isa 55:3, KJV).
The Dead Will Hear
Our Lord Jesus declared with power this aspect of our salvation. "Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live. For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man" (John 5:25-27, NASB). Jesus was speaking of a spiritual resurrection; of coming alive to God. This is confirmed by His elaboration. "Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment" (verses 28,29, NASB).
There is such a thing as hearing the voice of the Son of God NOW--hearing it in your heart! Unless this hearing takes place, there can be no spiritual life. Above the din and distracting noises of this world, the voice of the Son of God is sounding! He is speaking through His Word--but it is He that is speaking. It is the solemn obligation of every son of Adam to tune into the heavenly frequency, hearing His voice. He is speaking from heaven to men, calling them to Himself. Wherever the Gospel is preached, He can be heard by sensitive souls. Do not doubt this to be the case, or allow yourself to be dissuaded by high sounding philosophical arguments! Hear the Word of the Lord! "See to it that you do not refuse Him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from Him who warns us from heaven?" (Heb 12:25).
Of old time, Israel was charged with being incapable of responding to God. This lack of ability was traced to an uncircumcised ear. "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" (Jer 6:10). Their spiritual ears had been closed over by the growth of sin. Like a mass of flesh enveloping the ear, hardness of heart had rendered them incapable of hearing and delighting in the Word of the Lord. Stephen indicted the ruling body of Israel in his day for this sin. "You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did" (Acts 7:51, NASB).
One of the most endearing qualities of a church is that it hears the Word of the Lord. The ear of its members is tuned to the heavenly frequency, and they are noted for their receptivity of the truth. Where this quality is lacking, you do not have a church, only a group of unbelievers. The Word of God knows nothing of a people identified with God that do not hear His Word.