This biblical word study first appeared in the Standard Bearer (Feb.15, 2020).
The old adage says there is a reason we were created with only one mouth, but with two ears. The biblical description of the ear would confirm the wisdom of this clever observation. The ear is more than an oddly shaped appendage of flesh and cartilage such as the one Peter smote off the head of Malchus (John 18:10). God planted the ear in the skull of man just as a gardener might plant a patch of delicate tulips in the earth (Ps. 94:9). If we are amazed by the intricate design of the seeing eye, we should be as impressed by the hearing ear, since the Lord has made even both of them (Prov. 20:12). The Creator fused together tiny vibrating bones with nerve endings and canals to transmit all sorts of sounds and noises to our brains. The ears of Samuel brought him the sound of bleating sheep, about which he questioned King Saul after the incomplete battle with Amalek (1 Sam. 15:14). The ears of a modern man are more accustomed to the humming of appliances, the chatter of radios, and the honking of horns. But the most important function of the ear is its ability to pick up words. If the mouth is equipped for tasting meat, Job observes, “Doth not the ear try words?” (Job 12:11).
The great blessedness of the believing member of the church is that he has ears to hear what the Spirit says to the churches (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22). Now, just as the tip of Aaron’s right ear had to be sprinkled with the blood of a ram before he could function as a priest (Ex. 29:20), so the ear which hears the Spirit must first be cleansed by the blood of Christ. Just as Jesus put his fingers in the ears of a deaf man so that “straightway his ears were opened” (Mark 7:35), so the Spirit of Jesus opens our ears by the power of divine grace. And when those ears are opened, they become the means to the believer’s greatest delight. He hears the voice of his God!
He hears the voice of God speaking His commandments, and with a newfound love for that law he “gives ear” (Ex. 15:26). He now has the ear of the wise, which he uses to seek knowledge (Prov. 18:15). He stands with all creation bowing before the word of the Maker who says, “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken.” (Isa. 1:2). What is most delightful to him is when he hears the voice of Jesus revealing the mysteries of the kingdom. Jesus not only told His disciples to let His sayings sink down into their ears (Luke 9:44), but He also reminded them how blessed their ears are, “for they hear” (Matt. 13:16).
In light of the wonderful words they hear, the ears of the believer can never be full. If he ever imagines he has heard it all, the child of God should look forward to a coming day when his ears will be glorified. The first thing he will hear on that day is the trump of God summoning him to rise from his long slumber in the grave (1 Thess. 4:16). But then he will see and hear what he could only sense through a glass darkly during his long earthly sojourn. “As it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Cor. 2:9).
And it is not only the new ears of the believer that make him blessed, but it is the fact that the ears of God are open to his cry (Ps. 34:15). Oh yes, God has ears too! And the ears of God are not like the ears of idols who “have ears, but they hear not” (Ps. 115:6). The ears of God are hearing ears! “He that planted the ear, shall he not hear?” (Ps. 94:9). In fact, the ear of the Lord is so adept at hearing He even hears the mournful breathing of His children in deep affliction (Lam. 3:56). The ear of God has become incarnate in His Son Jesus Christ who declares, “The Lord God hath opened mine ear” (Isa. 50:5). In the blessed ears of Jesus came the sound of mocking and rejection. They were ears sprinkled with red blood when a crown of thorns was pressed on His scalp. The ears of Jesus were wrapped about with a napkin when His body was laid in the tomb. But the ears of Jesus heard again, for in the resurrection God declared once again, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased!” Knowing he has such a sympathetic ear in heaven, the believer may sing with gusto, “Bow down thy ear, O Lord, and hear, For I am poor and great my need!” (Psalter 233, stanza 1; Ps. 86:1).
But if the ears of the Lord are open to the righteous, His face is against them that do evil (1 Pet. 3:12). The word of God that makes believing ears blessed is a word that makes unbelieving ears heavy and fat (Isa. 6:10). The apostle warns of those who will have itching ears, who only seek teachers who will scratch that itch (2 Tim. 4:3). These do not cry in the ears of the Lord for deliverance, they only weep in His ears because He does not give them flesh to eat (Num. 11:18). They make idols that are just like themselves, having ears which cannot hear (Ps. 115:8). Do not even bother speaking in the ears of a fool, “for he will despise the wisdom of thy words” (Prov. 23:9). If there is anything that highlights the blessedness of hearing ears, it is the horror of these ears of unbelief! In response to such deafness, God will “do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle” (1 Sam. 3:11).
So give thanks, O believer, for your ears! And use them! Call upon the Lord in the day of your trouble and affliction, for “behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear” (Isa. 59:1).
Rev. Joe Holstege (Wife: Lisa) Ordained: Oct. 2017 Pastorates: Zion PRC, Oct. 2017Website: www.prca.org/about/listings/churches/usa-canada/itemlist/category/412-zion
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