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So That’s What He was Talking About

In Mark 4:9 Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” This is certainly not the only time he referred to ears that cannot hear and eyes that cannot see. It has always been a strange and curious statement to me and I have often wondered, “What was Jesus trying to say? What was in their culture that would have immediately gotten their attention?” It has to be one of those sayings because He never explains it and everyone seems to get it. It is kind of like us saying, “I will text you, I will post it on my facebook, or look it up on the web.” In other times of history these sayings would sound silly but to us they have profound meaning.

eyes that cannot see

Then I read Psalm 135:15-18, “The idols of the nations are silver and gold, made by human hands. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. They have ears, but cannot hear, nor is there breath in their mouths. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.”
In this song of praise used by the nation of Israel was a reminder of how people develop. We all become like the people we hang around with. We are also shaped by whatever we invest time and energy into. Over time, you talk like more and more like your friends, think more and more like the people you spend time with, get more and more connected to whatever you spend money on, and make decisions based on the information you interact with. It has always been this way because the human heart is designed to follow what it invests itself in. The psalmist points out the progression:
• People make idols. In ancient days, these were images that were assigned god-like qualities and people actually worshipped them in hopes of receiving some kind of favor from the supposed deity. In the modern world, we have depersonalized them but we still claim that wealth, status, and power will provide relational rewards like peace, love, and happiness.
• The idols are given human qualities. In their case, they had mouths, eyes and ears but none of them were functional. In our case, they have influence and make promises to us. For instance, just this morning I saw an ad that told me a pickup truck could add stability, confidence, and security to my life.
• People become like their idols. The things made by people are lifeless, inanimate, and unable to truly interact. They don’t see, hear, speak or feel. As people choose to depend on them, they also lose the ability to see, hear, speak or feel.
When Jesus said these words to an active Jewish community, they would have been reminded of this worship song. Every time they sang it in the synagogue, they would have thought, “I know people like that. They are interesting to be around but they don’t seem to get it any better than the idols they worship.” It explained a lot to me.
I was challenged by this today to deliberately stay focused on the living God. When I am excited by life, I want to remember to rejoice with Him. When I am disappointed by life, I want to remind myself He is still the best option. When I am in need of wisdom, I want to remember to go to Him first. I want my life to be highly influenced by the God who is alive.

One Response

  1. Great and timely lunchtime read Bill! its always good to be reminded of where our focus needs to be. Thanks!

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