“God Has a V.L.E.” – Matthew 13:12-23 –
“Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. This is why I speak to them in parables:
“Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.
But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
In the scripture in Matthew we read the words: “though hearing, they do not understand”….and, of course, in the explanation of the Parable, Jesus says; “One person hears the Word and evil snatches it away” … “One hears the Word and because he has no root, he does not last”… and, one “hears the Word and worries and deceitfulness choke it out”…But, one “hears the Word and understands the Word and so is fruitful”. In the Book of Luke, chapter 8, verse 18, Jesus follows up this parable with the words; “Therefore, consider carefully how you listen.”
Now, if you asked my wife, she would probably tell you that I am not a very good listener. …but, I have an excuse…I think that all men are born with a “mute” button in their ears! There is something in my ears – an extra nerve or something – that acts like the mute button on the T.V. remote whenever I am thinking about something. For some reason I can’t seem to think and listen at the same time. It’s not that I don’t want to listen, or that what she is saying isn’t important, it’s just that dang mute button in my ears!
All of us tend to be poor listeners at times. A stewardess tells of a time when she was frustrated by the inattentiveness of passengers while she was giving her “welcome aboard”, safety speech. One time she changed the wording and said; “When the oxygen mask drops down in front of you, place it over your navel and sneeze!” Not a single passenger heard what she said.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt got tired of smiling and saying all the usual greetings in White House reception lines… So, one evening he decided to find out if anyone was listening. As each person came up to shake his hand, he would flash a big smile and say; “I murdered my Grandmother today” People would automatically respond with things like: “Keep up the good work!” or “You’re doing a great job!” Except for one foreign diplomat who responded softly “Well, she probably had it coming.”
There are really two things I want to bring out today. One is our need to listen to God…and the other is to know that God listens to us.
God desires to speak to us. He speaks to us in several ways; in His Word as we read and study; by the still small voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to our spirit; he may speak to us through other people; he may speak through circumstances. He speaks in ways that we can know it is God speaking – if we are listening.
God wants to reveal His will for us; He wants to reveal Himself to us; and He wants to be actively involved in our lives. This has been true from the very beginning. God walked and talked with Adam “in the cool of the day” says Genesis 3:8… Today He calls us to be led by His Spirit. I must tell you that anything that God chooses to reveal or speak to us will always be totally consistent with His Written Word.
The Bibles says that the Bereans didn’t just take Paul at his word, they searched the Scriptures to see if what Paul said was true or consistent with God’s Word. It ought to be obvious that those like Jim Jones, and David Koresh, and the Hale Bop Comet riders perverted the truth of God’s Word that had nothing to do with the leading of the Holy Spirit… “Consider carefully how you listen.”
In the case of the scripture, “Ears to hear” is not a function of our physical senses like hearing an audible voice with our ears; it is a function of the intellect and the heart working together. In the Gospels, when Jesus spoke, he spoke to the disciples; to the people gathered around; to the Scribes and Pharisees; to the Teachers of the Law…those who taught the scriptures…and each one heard what he was saying based on three things;
- Their intellect, what they knew.
- Their heart, what they were feeling. And
- Their attitude toward God… And, we do the same today. If we listen, we will hear what we hear, based on these same three things…. “Consider carefully how you listen”.