Revelation 3:22 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
This verse is extremely familiar to me because I use it as part of my regular faith declarations. The declaration in question goes, “By the grace of God, each day I am more accurately hearing and obeying the Holy Spirit, for it is written, ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” Reading it again just now, I see that the Greek specifies even one ear. (Japanese pays little attention to plurals, since it requires special words to indicate plural.) This strikes me as similar to someone saying “I have half a mind to …” In other words, it’s “If you have even one ear, then listen up!” We are quite adept at being willfully deaf – and blind, for that matter. God says things to us and shows us things, and we choose not to pay any attention. I’m reminded of the people (it happens repeatedly) who drive around barriers and signs that say, “Bridge Out,” and get themselves into deep (literally) trouble, or even killed. God genuinely wants the very best for us, so everything He says to us is for our benefit, but like rebellious 2-year-olds we stick our fingers in our ears and do our own thing, complaining that “God is mean to us.” How foolish! This verse wraps up Jesus’ words to a church that seems very familiar to a lot of us in the developed world, words of caution to those who are self-satisfied. The recent economic shutdown is a reminder of how quickly things can change. The only true stability is in God, the Rock of Ages, and if we are to maintain anything good we’ve got to listen to Him.
As I am frequently reminded, really hearing God means not just recognizing words, but taking them into my heart to do them. That’s why my faith declaration says, “hearing and obeying.” I have long felt James 1:22 was written especially for me! Knowing the Bible intellectually, no matter how well, is not the same as actually hearing God. I think I could hold my own in most theological arguments, but that doesn’t mean much if I’m not living the Word out in my daily life. I am quick to speak the Word, which isn’t bad, but I had better be even more consistent in doing the Word, living in obedience to everything the Holy Spirit has spoken to me.
Father, thank You for this reminder. It’s very familiar territory! Keep me from letting familiarity breed contempt, because that will shut my spiritual eyes and ears for sure. With age, my physical eyes and ears aren’t what they once were, but that doesn’t matter so much. Help me indeed hear and obey You accurately in every detail, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!