At work, at play, from TV, from radio, from friends and business associates in person and over the telephone, words enter our ears constantly. Truth is, we are all bombarded with words every day. Have you noticed how many people are talking, yet how few people are really listening? Have you noticed how words can go in one ear and out the other, especially if you are a wife asking your husband to take out the trash, when he is sitting on the couch reading the paper? Have you noticed how some people talk incessantly, but seem to say so very little? Pay attention! Listen up! Do you have ears to hear? If so, you will "take heed what ye hear."
by Jerry Gentry
"And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live" (Deut. 8:3).
"If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath" (Mar 4:23-25).
Jesus Christ gave the world the greatest gift of all. He gave salvation freely to all who believe. But believe what? The simple answer is that personal salvation requires that you believe words, and you did not hear that from CNN.
Words are life. Jesus confirmed this idea: "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life" (John 6:63), he said. There is no salvation without words. There is no kingdom without words. There would be no life on earth without spoken words. Think about it. "In the beginning. . . God said. . . " (Gen 1:1, 3). A few words were spoken, and all creation sprang forth. Words are power, and the power of the spoken word&emdash;for good and for evil&emdash;is awesome.
There was once a scientific experiment performed with two groups of orphan babies. It was a test to see what language children would speak, on their own, if no one else influenced them. Two groups were separated into comfortable living quarters. All their needs were met, except that one group grew up with not a word spoken to them, except the sounds they themselves made. Though all were fed and held and provided for, the group that lived in silence were soon physically stunted and many died prematurely. All those little ears were simply waiting hear some words, such as, I love you. What a horrible experiment. Yet it proved that spoken words are necessary to life itself.
Life itself is engendered and nourished with words, if we only take heed what we hear and what we say. Yes, the words we speak give life, if we choose our words carefully. Do you spend more time listening to CNN than reading scripture aloud? Are you more fond of hearing secular voices than in reading John the Baptist or hearing a good sermon tape? Is your soundtrack tuned to easy listening or opera or jazz or country, or to the voice of Elijah? Christian, take heed what ye hear.
God sent the children of Israel manna, or bread from heaven, during their long trek through the wilderness of Sinai. They were nourished by chewing and eating the physical bread from heaven. Upon discovery of the manna, they responded by saying, "What is it?" The people told Jesus: "Our fathers did eat manna [meaning, what is it?] in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat" (John 6:31).
"Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven" (v. 32). And what is that true bread?
"For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world" (v. 33). Remember, Jesus said it is "the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life" (John 6:63). Jesus knew the power of words. The second person of the Godhead, Jesus, the great "I Am," (Exod. 3:14) originally spoke the very words from whence the worlds were made. And, "in these last days [God hath] spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds" (Hebr. 1:2). Yes, the preincarnate Jesus "made the worlds," all right. Speaking of the preincarnate Son, we are told: "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist" (Col. 1:16-17).
How is it that this second person of the Godhead, Jesus, hath "made the worlds?" He spoke them into being. The miracle of creation itself flowed from the spoken word of God. And Jesus gives every Christian a measure of that same power of the spoken word.
"For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith" (Mark 11:23). Jesus said, "By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned" (Matt. 12:37).
Now "The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven" (John 6:41).
Jesus confirmed that fact again, for emphasis: "I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world" (v. 51). Seven times in this one chapter, Jesus emphasizes the same point:
"This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever" (v. 58). The passover table commonly called the Lord's Supper celebrates Christ as our sacrificial lamb. When we eat of the bread, we are reminded of the Passover passion and death of our Savior. Yet there is a much deeper meaning to be found in "that bread which came down from heaven," a meaning which every Christian can and should celebrate and apply daily.
The true meaning and purpose of the manna was told to our ancient forefathers, who ate this bread from heaven 7 days a week, 365 days a year, for 40 long years. What then is the real message of the manna: "And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live" (Deut. 8:3). The real message of the manna is: take heed what ye hear. The real message in the manna is that Israel is to trust implicitly in every word of God. Words nourish our souls today just as manna nourished the bodies of our ancient forefathers. God wants us to guard our ears and keep them tender. Do you remember the first gutter word you ever heard, the first dirty story, the first cuss word? It is our duty to protect our children's ears and take heed what they hear. We are all commanded to take heed what ye hear.
Words are bread for the soul. When we meditate on Holy Scripture, through scripture memorization and recitation, we are actually ruminating or "chewing the cud," like a cow. When we bring up and speak scripture over and over again, and chew on the words of the Bible, we learn to live not "by [physical] bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4). Words nourish the soul of man, just as physical bread nourishes the body of man. Confessing and hearing the words of God is receiving bread from heaven into our souls. What a marvellous analogy.
Now we can begin to understand why there are so many nonscriptural words bombarding our ears incessantly. If Satan can distract us with enough CNN or CBS or theology discussions or opinions and speculations about the Bible, he can successfully rob us of our bread from heaven, the very Word of life for our souls. If he can distract our minds through the "miracle" ministries of Benny Hinn and Oral Roberts; if he can captivate our hearts with the prosperity gospel of Kenneth Copeland; if he can tempt our souls with the positive thinking message of Norman Vincent Peale, he can rob us of the words of life that nourish and feed our souls. "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled" (Matt. 5:6). "Son of man, all my words that I shall speak unto thee receive in thine heart, and hear with thine ears. And go, get thee to them of the captivity, unto the children of thy people, and speak unto them, and tell them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear" (Ezek. 3:10-11). Will you today, hear these words? Or will you forbear? "He that hath hears to hear, let him hear" (Luke 8:8).
Take heed what he hear.
Can we admit to ourselves and to God today that we have all listened to the wrong words? Can we say, Father, I have opened my ears to falsehood; I have listened to the gods of the land; I have bowed down to that prince of the power of the air who fills the airwaves with false words. We must receive and heed a basic Bible message:
"Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you" (Prov. 1:23). Did you know that an unrepentant person can read the Bible from cover to cover and miss the entire message? He has no ears to hear, no eyes to perceive the great truths of the Bible. Yes, the unrepentant must first "Turn you at my reproof." He must find a genuine change of heart. He must confess his sin and accept the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. Only then will God "make known my words unto you." Only then will the sinner begin to "take heed what ye hear."
"Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction, That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man. He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword" (Job 33:16-18).
The wise man said: "Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge" (Prov. 22:17). How can we hear the words of the wise, when we tune into the foolishness of the world so many hours of the day? "Surely God will not hear vanity, neither will the Almighty regard it" (Job 35:13). Truth is, the more we hear and speak words of the Bible throughout the day, the more we please God and the more life we take into our souls.
"The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."
The Psalmist tells us: "My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness" (Ps. 119:172).
The principle Christ is teaching is this: "And unto you that hear shall more be given. For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath" (Mar 4:24-25). Will you today tune your ears to the words of life? Will you hear the Word of God.
It is a lesson that teaches us wherein the real treasures of heaven lie. It is a lesson only for those who have ears to hear. It is a lesson for all to take heed what ye hear.
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things [our physical needs] shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6:33). We first seek the kingdom by hearing the word of the kingdom, which is outlined in the great parable of the sower and the seed.
"A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it" (Luk 8:5).
"And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture" (v. 6).
"And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it" (v. 7).
"And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear" (v. 8).
"And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be" (v. 9)?
"And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand" (v. 10).
"Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God" (v. 11).
Take heed what ye hear.
"Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved" (v. 12).
"They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away" (v. 13).
"And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection" (v. 14).
Take heed what ye hear.
"But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience" (v. 15).
"He that hath ears to hear let him hear."
"The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back" (Isa. 50:5).
"As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever" (Isa. 59:21). Hallelujah!
"Wherefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them" (Jer. 5:14). Unrepentant, unregenerate Israelites are the wood, hay and stubble of the LORD's coming vengeance in times of great tribulation. Will your words endure the fires of great tribulation? Do you stop your ears at the words of God, if you don't like those words? Or do you let the very words of God, the fires of truth, burn from you the chaff of sin and iniquity and wicked ways?
Christian, take heed what ye hear. "Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (1Pet. 5:8). He is "the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience" (Eph. 2:2). How does he work? He works by broadcasting words everywhere, to distract the Christian from his focus on the words of God. From beer commercials to travel ads, from coffee promos to catfood jingles, from sitcoms and soap operas to faith healers and prosperity preachers, Satan uses all their words to derail Christians from hearing "attentively the noise of his voice, and the sound that goeth out of his mouth" (Job 37:2). The prophet Micah reminds us: "Do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly" (Micah 2:7)?
"But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment" (Matt. 12:36).
"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, [that hidden manna is the Word of God] and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it" (Rev. 2:17).
Today, amidst millions of words of distraction bombarding us from every possible direction, can we as Christians focus our hearts and tune our ears attentively to the Words of God? If we will live for the kingdom, yes we will be both hearers and doers of the word of God.
Christian, take heed what ye hear.