And he said, “Go, and say to this people:
“ ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand;
keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’” – Isaiah 6:9 (ESV)
Rob and I have had a bit of what the reality of the empty nest may be like when it comes. This weekend our home has had just the two of us. Robert was away at college and even away from that as he was gone for a ministry opportunity. David has been on a church ski trip.
We trekked over to Auburn one night for a great dinner in a fabulous restaurant…it was one-meal getaway. There was just one tiny problem with the restaurant. The acoustics were not quite conducive to actually hearing each other as we spoke across the table. Admittedly, I grew a bit impatient having to repeat some statements and my voice was reflecting that when we were misunderstanding what the other was saying.
I had to ask him to repeat some things for me, and vice versa. Eye contact was imperative in order to correctly hear what we were saying to each other.
Flashback 20 years to being a new stay-at-home mommy. Throughout the day I had noticed a small bird perched on the fence in our yard. I was amazed at how still it sat all day. I was afraid to go outside to check on it having convinced myself that the bird must surely be impaled on the fence in some horrific incident. When Rob got home at the end of his workday, I told him about this bird and pointed it out to him from the window.
He looked at the bird. He quickly looked back at me and returned to the bird then burst out laughing! How insensitive he was, I thought. He informed me that the bird was no bird, but a gray pine cone stuck on the fence. I thought he was teasing at first. Then, I got a bit embarrassed over my inaccurate vision of the bird on the fence.
In both the restaurant and further back to the “bird”, my understanding and perception were off.
I can relate to hearing but not understanding and to seeing but not perceiving.
Those examples are trivial in these innocent incidences. However, when you consider in the verse above that God is speaking to His prophet Isaiah about telling Judah a message from God and yet God tells him they’ll hear and not understand as they see without perceiving, that is rather sobering. I kind of think that if I were in Isaiah’s shoes, I’d have asked God, “Why tell them and show them at all?” But that’s my temperament. I’m kind of cut and dry about things. Selfishly, too, I want for people to listen and obey. Yet, I know I have had too many times of disobedience in my own life after God was clear to me in His directions. So, I know. I know.
Isaiah will speak God’s words to a nation that God set apart for His own. God will continue to act as He has prescribed towards them and they’ll not hear His words nor see Him at work.
That can seem so long ago, but it is so today in the Church.
How many who sit in the pew on Sunday will take the Bible and open it during the week to truly read it? How many will take the time to study it and find out what God is saying and how it all applies today? How many will slow down to spend time with God alone in His Word? How many will really take God at His word? How many are so ignorant because like baby birds, they want the mother bird to pre-digest their food for them before they can eat it? How many will believe a book telling heresy about God over what He says about Himself in the Bible? How many will assume the one preaching is preaching truth?
How many hear but don’t understand? How many see but do not perceive?
Has this ever been you? I know that at times it has been me and I want so much to make sure my ears and eyes are in tune with God’s messages in His Word. Oh Lord, help me to see with Your eyes and hear with Your ears the things you need me to know, to change, to repent of, to be a part of, and so on…
There are 66 books in the Bible. Each one is included for a reason. One is no greater than the other for all tell the story of Who God is, what He has done, and what He is planning to do. Throughout them all you see the intricate plan of God putting the Savior in place to redeem us, realizing how He would do it, and what He’ll do when that Savior needs to come for the second advent. Sure, we’d prefer to read an epistle over Leviticus. But, those are in the Bible for a reason.
How are your ears and eyes when it comes to hearing and seeing God’s Word and work?