16 Feb 2023
The words of the Lord Jesus in Matthew 13:-
“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 the 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, bear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.'” (Matt. 13:13-15)
Here the Lord is addressing the responses of various ones to the Word of God (including the Gospel) and the message about the kingdom of God.
Notice that the Lord pinpointed the cause of why they hear and yet do not understand, and why they see and do not perceive – it is the problem of the heart – the heart has become calloused, hardened, no longer tender and open to what they hear and see, revealed by God through His Word and the message from His servants. The ‘heart’ refers to the centre of their being, person and character; the centre of the individuals who hear and see, is already hardened and not open to the truth from God.
This applies not only to unbelievers listening to the gospel, but also to believers listening to the Word of God revealed in Scripture, through teaching, studying and observation of world events and worldviews.
The destruction of Jerusalem and Judah in 587 B.C, may be seen to the rise of the Babylonian super-power; it is also the result of the judgement of God. Both are equally true. Jesus is the One who spoke much about hell and judgement. Our culture is so present-oriented that we filter out all talk about hell and God’s judgment – we are far more afraid of war, old age, sickness, disease, viral pandemic, poverty, bankruptcy – i.e. we are more afraid of temporal judgement than final judgement – this speaks of our focus on this present life and this is the state not only of unbelievers but so-called believers as well.
Christians do not see the church’s problems from God’s perspective. We do not analyse the human situations and problems from the perspective of heaven. We are hearing without understanding; we are seeing without perceiving. The centre of our beings (our heart) is not focused on God and what He has to say or reveal; the centre of our being is focused on how to make it rich or successful in the present context. Non-believers live for the moment – they seek pleasure and satisfaction from what they can get for the moment – but what about believers? Are our hearts hardened, calloused, that we no longer see what God desires us to see and our ears so clogged up that we do not hear and understand what God is revealing?? Are our eyes focused on the stock-markets, the economy, the inflation, the calamities without realising that God may be speaking even through events in this world? It would be sad that the people of God just react like the Jews and see the destruction of Jerusalem as just a sad event and not realise the judgement of God on them.
It is interesting to hear the UN secretary speaking about the seriousness of the impending rising of the sea water as a coming disaster likened to a ‘biblical’ enormity. Do we just perceive the calamities happening around as just events that can be explained scientifically without noting that they can also be God’s speaking to the world to repent before the end and to His people to be vigilant and intense in their pursuit of godliness and the kingdom of God??