Embracing Grace: Eyes x Ears x Heart = ONE

A 365 Day Devotional Journal

Day 81

Scripture: Deuteronomy 29; Isaiah 6:3-10; John 12; Romans 12.

The Sleeping Beauty(1921), oil on canvas painting by the pre-Raphaelite English writer and painter John Maler Collier (1850-1934). Public Domain.

Does God ever drop a verse into your spirit while you sleep?

He does with me.

I awoke one morning last week with this verse ringing in my ears: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” As I pondered on the words, a second Scripture dropped into my spirit, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” These words have been rolling around in my spirit ever since then.

The Bible contains many repeating patterns of speech. They are something I liken to “mannerisms” of the written Word. English grammar calls them literary devices. I have long been intrigued by such patterns because for the student of God’s Word they act as signposts to important messages. Perhaps it is because I enjoy writing, or maybe that I like to mine for hidden treasure. Why I am drawn to them is not nearly as important as attending to them, for these signposts exist for good reason.

One such phrase that occurs in varying forms throughout the Old and New Testament goes something like this: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear,” or “eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to perceive.” We all remember Jesus concluded His parables many times with the phrase he who has ears to hear, let him hear. But not until I began searching through Strong’s Concordance did I realize these words were not unique to Jesus’ earthly ministry. The signpost already existed in the Old Testament, as spoken directly from God’s mouth or through one of His prophets.

Photo courtesy of Andy Blind. Public Domain

Moses called all of Israel together as they prepared to step into the land promised to them with a message from God. Deuteronomy indicates that these were words of covenant made by the Lord with Israel in Moab besides the covenant made in Horeb. Some Bible translators indicate it was a renewal of the same covenant. You may want to read the entire passage, but for the sake of space, I’ll just highlight this part:

2 Now Moses called all Israel and said to them: “You have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land— 3 the great trials which your eyes have seen, the signs, and those great wonders. 4 Yet the LORD has not given you a heart to perceive and eyes to see and ears to hear, to this very day… 1

Why?

Why did Moses say that it was God who did not give them a “heart to perceive and eyes to see and ears to hear?”

Seraphim by Viktor Vasnetsov (1848-1926). Public Domain.

The prophet Isaiah recorded the words of the Lord spoken to him at his commission. It was the year of King Ussiah’s death, when he saw this vision of the Lord upon His throne. He describes the train of His robe (His glory, anointing, see John 12:41 and Is. 6:9-10) as being so long that it filled the temple. Seraphim, bright, shining (in the sense of burning) angelic beings with six wings, stood above Him. With two wings they covered their faces, two wings covered their feet, and with two wings they flew, calling out to each other these words “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts. The whole earth is full of His glory.”2 

As soon as Isaiah saw these things, he acknowledged in anguish his condition of iniquity. Remember, he lived in a time when only the high priest was permitted to enter into the Lord’s presence in the holy of holies one day each year. The priests of that day sewed bells onto the robes of the high priest so they could hear him moving about while in the holy of holies. They also tied a rope to his ankle so that if God smote him dead for some hidden sin, they could pull his body out of from God’s presence by means of the rope.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Anja Bier. Public Domain.

Okay, now I am confused. Why would God give Isaiah such a message as this?

These three phrases, ears that hear, eyes that see, and hearts that perceive (understand) are linked together all throughout Scripture, leading me to conclude that the three physical organs spiritually are one and are related to receiving through revealed understanding or perception.

Six days before the Passover and after Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, Jesus and his disciples were having supper together. This was the meal where Mary took a pound of expensive perfumed ointment and poured it onto Jesus’ feet, wiping His feet with her hair. Judas Iscariot criticized her for the wasteful use of the perfume, when it could have been sold and the money given to the poor (proof herein that God is not a socialist.) But he was offended at the “waste”, not because he cared for the poor, Scripture records, but because he was a thief. Of course, we know that Jesus said to leave Mary alone, for she was preparing him for burial.

The next day, a crowd who had gathered in Jerusalem for the upcoming Passover Feast took up palm branches and shouted “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”4 as Jesus rode down the street on a young colt.

 

Photo courtesy of Kim Newberg. Public Domain.

Among those who had gathered for the Passover were some Greeks (John 12:20), recognized by all Hebrews of that day as “Gentiles” (John 12:32). They approached Philip and requested to see Jesus. It was to this request by way of Philip that Jesus responded with these words (see the entire chapter for context):

 26If anyone serves Me, he must continue to follow Me [[John 12:15, Zech. 9:9]to cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying] and wherever I am, there will My servant be also. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him…5

Jesus then admits his soul was distressed and troubled and asks the Father to save Him from his hour of trial and agony, yet that He came for this very purpose to undergo it. He follows this bit of personal honesty with submitting his will to God’s and telling the Father to glorify His name.

 28…Then there came a voice out of heaven saying, I have already glorified it, and I will glorify it again. 29The crowd of bystanders heard the sound and said that it had thundered; others said, an angel has spoken to Him! (Note that the ears of each person heard differently, perhaps according to the condition of their heart.) 30Jesus answered, This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sake

The Sleeping Gypsy (La Bohémienne endormie), oil on canvas painting of 1897 by Henri Rousseau, 129.5 cm x 200.7 cm (51.0 in x 79.0 in), Museum of Modern Art, New York City, United States. Public Domain.

35So Jesus said to them, You will have the Light only a little while longer. Walk while you have the Light [keep on living by it], so that darkness may not overtake and overcome you. He who walks about in the dark does not know where he goes [he is drifting]. 36While you have the Light, believe in the Light [have faith in it, hold to it, rely on it], that you may become sons of the Light and be filled with Light. Jesus said these things, and then He went away and hid Himself from them [was lost to their view]. 37Even though He had done so many miracles before them (right before their eyes), yet they still did not trust in Him and failed to believe in Him– 38So that what Isaiah the prophet said was fulfilled: Lord, who has believed our report and our message? And to whom has the arm (the power) of the Lord been shown (unveiled and revealed)? (Isa 53:1) 39 Therefore they could not believe [they were unable to believe]. For Isaiah has also said, 40He has blinded their eyes and hardened and benumbed their [callous, degenerated] hearts [He has made their minds dull], to keep them from seeing with their eyes and understanding with their hearts and minds and repenting and turning to Me to heal them. 41Isaiah said this because he saw His glory and spoke of Him. (Isa. 6:9, 10) 6

 

Photo courtesy of Bulinna / CC BY-ND-SA, GATAG 2.0

All University music colleges recognize the piano is the foundational instrument for studying music. If you major in music and do not play the piano, you are required to take piano instruction in addition to your major instrument.

I knew this before entering college but did not realize the advantage students who study an orchestral instrument requiring regular tuning have over students who do not until I enrolled. Piano study alone is not sufficient to train a musician to have an “ear to hear”. Even in singing, the singer must tune his or her voice to the proper note. And this is why a part of all music degrees require a series of intensive ear training and sight singing courses.

I have a bachelor’s degree in music with an emphasis in voice and piano. My ear training and sight singing involved lab time, independent practice, concert attendance, and examination. I was required to know the sounds of intervals and whether they were dissonant or consonant, chord progressions and whether they were major, minor, augmented, or diminished and be able to correctly identify a length of such progressions in a timed environment. I was drilled in modes, aural transcription and being able to sing a line of notes while at the same time naming each interval. I went through a rigorous training in rhythm which I then was required to reproduce flawlessly. For vocal training, I was required to complete linguistic courses in three languages and demonstrate my ability to understand and duplicate the sounds unique for each language.

After having my eyes and ears “opened” by the truths inherent in sound, I was then able to perceive not only all these things but was spoiled for anything less than what I knew to be “right.” Because of my training, I am to this day quick to hear and perceive when an instrument or voice is out of tune or not following the rhythm and chord progressions printed in the music.

Before college, my perception was limited to the knowledge I had at that time. My ears could hear but were limited by the truths I walked in.

The only way I could change was to change the way I think.

All these things pertaining to hearing and perceiving the intricacies of music had always been in front of me, but I did not see it, hear it, or perceive it. But afterward my hearing was “opened.” I now perceive the distinctions in sounds, sound progressions, and rhythm and I am aware of them every time I listen to music. And though I do not speak three languages, I still remember how sounds specific to a particular language should be pronounced. They have always been there, but now I am able to hear and perceive them.

My mind was renewed.

It is the same with perceiving, seeing, and hearing things pertaining to the Spirit:

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.7

To be continued…

Read: Deuteronomy 29; Isaiah 6:3-10; John 12; Romans 12. Journal your private thoughts.

Father, I desire with all my heart to know Your ways and walk in them. Open my eyes, open my ears, and soften my heart, so that I will perceive, understand, and obey. Grant me Your wisdom to walk in Your ways so that I will fully please You. I fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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1Deuteronomy 29: 2-4. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
2Isaiah 6:3b. Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
3Isaiah 6:9-10. Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org 
4John 12:13b. Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
5John 12:26. Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
6John 12:28b-30, 35-41. Bold Emphasis mine. Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
7Romans 12:2. Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. www.tyndale.com

Copyright © 2011, Érin Elise

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