He who has ears to hear…

I’ve always thought of the above phrase simply as Jesus’ way of getting the Pharisee’s attention. Then I read Psalms 115. Now, I think Jesus is communicating something very specific.

Starting in verse 4…
“But their idols are silver and gold, made by the hands of men. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but they cannot see; they have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but they cannot smell; they have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but they cannot walk; nor can they utter a sound with their throats. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.”

It appears that Jesus is leveling quite the accusation. It sounds like he’s calling them either idol worshippers or idol creators… or both! It is easy for us to see, 2,000 years after the fact, that the Pharisees were bowing down to the idol of tradition. And because of that, though they did in fact have ears, they couldn’t hear.

But what of us today? What if we replace the word “tradition” with the word “heritage”? Does that strike a chord with any of us?

I need to ask myself, do I do what I do (how I worship, evangelize, experience God…) because God has led me to this point? Or am I simply allowing what my heritage has always done to dictate how I continue on? And I think Jesus is quite clear on this point. Doesn’t he warn us to never put our hand to the plow and then look back? I can’t look for God today if I’m constantly looking over my shoulder to see if the history of my heritage approves.

Sadly, if your heritage has become your idol, you won’t be able to hear what’s being said.


freetolive said...

Tim, loved this post. So true!

Paul said...

One of the most formative parts of our heritage (and I'd say the best) is the freedom & call to ask the question...Is X 'biblical? Granted, as soon as you practice this you run the risk of being put into question.
It is that questioning part of our heritage that gives me hope for our heritage.
May we have ears to hear.

WC said...

Wow, Tim. Just...wow.

cemotosnack said...

I have been amazed over the past few years at how many things I just did ... or expected to be done ... just becuase it was what I grew up with.

I am blessed to worship every week with a group of people who's hearts have been severely injured in their lives. Some of it was our own fault ... some was not. But when you are at that jumping off place between eternity in heaven and eternity in hell some things become more important than others.

I've realized how important it is to look at what God asks us to do and what we've decided to do. What God has commanded and what we've done because we like it. What is crucial to someone who is hurting and lost and what can wait a while until they are breathing again.

I have been challenged to study and learn ... I have ears and I want to hear what God has to say.

Rex Boyles said...

Not long ago a self-appointed brotherhood "watch-dog" called to "check us out" at the OPEN. He had several questions. None of the questions had to do with our obedience to the Lord or our devotion as a church to more than just a church of Christ - but a church like Christ. As he asked his questions, I remembered (in times past) having to react to such questions and questioners with an almost reverential deference, because they might cut support for me or for the work I was doing. I always tried to respond scripturally and sincerely. This time when I was asked some of those same questions - questions that were matters of brotherhood hermaneutics - I spoke biblically and respectfully ... but I answered the questions from a different perspective. My response: "In our place we have a teenage girl, who is unmarried and pregnant ... an older man, who just out of rehab for addiction ... a young mother with three children, whose abusive husband just left them. These people do not care for any of the issues you just mentioned. They just want to find peace with Jesus and rebuild their lives."

I agree with Jesus, "the Sabbath was created for man - not man for the Sabbath."

I am grateful for my heritage - for it taught me to "listen to Jesus". (or was that my mother?)

p.s. But can I also say, that I find it equally disturbing that there are those that have negative reactions to "heritage" or "tradition" make the same mistake - "over-reacting" ... throwing baby out with the bath water ... or swallowing the gnats will straining the camels.

tim rush said...

Rex, on my blog you can always, "also say".

The Harris Family said...

Tim loved the post! Jason and I have had such heavy hearts the past few weeks due to a brother publicly (and loudly) scolding us to stop clapping during a Sunday night devotional song...yeah you read me right, clapping! It scared and confused my kids, made be cry and well, I don't have to type how it made Jason feel. Then everyone in our congregation got a letter from this man a few days later that compared clapping to the cutting off the heads of chickens and saying "praise God!" That was just one vile thing this letter said BTW!

Funny, I thought my worship was between me and my God...clapping! who knew!

Pray for us! We don't want to have a rebellious heart or anything like that. This whole issue is just so ugly...

tim rush said...


I'm so sorry to hear about your crazy-insane-unfortunate run in with the clapping guy. Especially that it would be in front of the kids. I hate that for you guys.

We'll be praying for peace for you guys. ...if you're like Kim and I, you've already spent way too many hours fuss, cussing and discussing the event and the fall out.

God bless you guys muchly.

California Jason said...

I won't type details here. Let me just say that your post was timely for our family. I thank God that He used you today to lift up our hands (We're not supposed to do that either I found out).

I, like Senior Boyles, am in a position of not having my paycheck tied to the answers that come out of my mouth. Because of that I have to guard against pride and feelings of superiority which are not from God. May God always remind us that we are saved by His grace, not by our accuracy.

My struggle today is deciding if appeasement of a handful to keep "peace" is truly keeping peace? Is allowing a pack of bulldogs to chew up God's church just to keep unity, truly keeping unity? May God grant us wisdom.


Terry Rush said...

Good job Tim. Keeping thinking, keep studying, and keep watching for Him to show up!


Jarrod said...

Tim ~

Enjoyed the post...made me think, a lot!

If tradition hasn't shackled us, it sure has stunted our growth!