Matthew 13:13-17 ESV
“This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:
“‘You will indeed hear but never understand,
and you will indeed see but never perceive.”
For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and with their ears they can barely hear,
and their eyes they have closed,
lest they should see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart
and turn, and I would heal them.’
“But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”
If the Lord speaks to us in parables, it takes spiritual discernment to understand what those parables mean, and as I have mentioned before, sometimes dreams and visions and even real life situations or even song lyrics can serve as parables in order to help us get from a passage of Scripture the practical application of it the Lord wants us to have for our lives today. But those lacking in spiritual discernment will not understand the parables, and they will not get what the Lord is saying.
But this is definitely not saying that the Lord only speaks in parables or that if we don’t understand a specific parable that we are lacking in spiritual discernment. But this does speak to the issue of those whose ears are closed to hearing from the Lord. They are lacking in spiritual discernment, and they are not willing to hear what the Lord wants to say to them, for they are still walking by the flesh and not by the Spirit, and their sinful lifestyles stand in opposition to God’s holiness and righteousness.
So, in their flesh, they are rejecting the altar of God, i.e. they are rejecting having to submit to Christ as Lord, and to surrender their lives to Jesus Christ, and to be crucified with him in death to sin so that they can be raised with him to walk in newness of life in him, no longer as slaves to sin, but now as slaves to God and to his righteousness. So, they are rejecting the gospel of Jesus Christ and they are creating their own which they are then following above and in place of the true gospel of our salvation.
And I like how this is worded here when it says that though seeing they do not see. I take that as they know the truth. And it says that hearing they do not hear, but not because they physically cannot hear, but because they are closing their ears to the truth by refusing to hear the truth and to accept it. So, it isn’t that they don’t know or that they have never heard, but that they don’t want to know and they don’t want to listen to the truth, for they want to believe and follow the lies so they can continue in sin without guilt.
For the reason they hear but don’t understand and see but never perceive is because of their hardened hearts which are closed to the truth and which want to hold on to their fleshly passions. And I am certainly not saying here that if there are any parts of the Scriptures that we don’t understand that it is because we have hardened hearts, for there are many Scriptures that even the Bible scholars don’t fully understand. But when the Lord speaks to us specifically, if we are truly listening, he will give us understanding.
But many professing Christians today are not listening to the truth that they know because they want to hold on to their sins, and so they end up believing the diluted and altered gospel messages, instead, which tickle their itching ears and which tell them what they want to hear, not what they need to hear. So, they literally block out and reject the truth so that they will not see and hear the truth so that they can excuse away their deliberate and habitual sins, because they don’t truly want God’s healing.
But we are blessed whose ears are attentive to the voice of the Lord, and who are listening to him speaking to our hearts. And we are blessed who have spiritual insight and discernment because we are listening to the Lord, and we are following him wherever he leads us. And it is true that there are many people who have gone before us who did not see and hear what we have now seen and heard, but it is also true that many professing Christians of our day do not see and hear what we are able to hear and to see because their ears are stopped up and they have blinders on so they will not see.
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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