My family tells me my hearing is not as good as it once was. Ok let’s be honest, they say I need a hearing aid. But presently I think it is only certain frequencies that cause me problems. Several years ago I remember the entire family heard a cricket in the house. They couldn’t believe it but I had absolutely no ability to hear the sound. That’s the frequency! But they say I need to have my hearing checked.
They may be right. Hearing loss runs in my family. I remember my grandfather was almost deaf for all practical purposes. Communication with him was extremely difficult. And my Mother was as well. That was probably one of the factors that contributed to her retiring as a nurse. She just got to the point she couldn’t function in the quiet environment of a hospital.
So now they tell me I am losing my hearing. My Teresa says I will need a hearing device one day. But I don’t think we are to that point yet. Maybe one day I will go and actually have a test done that will determine to what extent I have become “dull of hearing.”
Dull of hearing… The Hebrew writer, in explaining the priesthood of Christ, noted the people had become dull of hearing (Heb 5:11). I am pretty sure that didn’t have anything to do with being able to hear a cricket.
The thing about hearing loss is that it usually occurs gradually even though there are exceptions. In my case, I really didn’t realize it was happening. It just happened over time. Sometimes I accuse Teresa of talking softer as we have gotten older. In fact, I think she mumbles sometimes. But she denies it. No, seriously I realize my hearing loss has occurred gradually.
Becoming dull of hearing spiritually can happen the same way. In our Hebrew text, the writer notes the people “had become” dull of hearing. The verb “had become” is in the perfect tense which means it was a process in the past whose results continue to the present. Simply put, their dullness of hearing was the result of a process. It was a process that began in the past and one that had brought them to their present state.
Now think about this as it may apply to us. One doesn’t normally just wake up and suddenly they have lost their hearing. This is true spiritually as well. It is a dangerous process. Over time, we can grow callous to the word and become dull of hearing spiritually. We can gradually lose interest in spiritual matters. Becoming dull of hearing is a serious matter spiritually.
The Bible speaks elsewhere (Eph 4:17-19) about our hearts hardening to the point of being past feeling, hardening to the point of no return. We can get to the point that we can no longer hear and receive the truth. To return to the “had become” focus of Hebrews 5:11, the full grammatical category is it is perfect indicative active. We’ve already addressed the perfect tense. The indicative simply means it is stating a fact. The active voice means the action was done by the subject. This is as opposed to something done to the subject. Don’t miss this important point, the people had become dull of hearing through their own actions. It was something they allowed to occur. They did it to themselves. Let us beware lest we fall into the same situation.
I think another serious warning about our hearing is found in Matthew 13:15 and Acts 28:27. Here Jesus and Paul both quote the Old Testament prophet Isaiah in saying,
Hearing you will hear and shall not understand…Their ears are hard of hearing…
Hearing is one of our 5 precious senses. I would hate to lose my hearing. But truthfully, my spiritual hearing is more important and I don’t want to be guilty of hearing and not understanding.
From a positive perspective, I want to make 2 closing points about our hearing with regards to spiritual matters.
First, I must hear the Christ. In Matthew 17:5 at the Transfiguration, GOD spoke from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him.”
Secondly, spiritually speaking, it is important what I hear and how I hear. What I want to hear is the truth (John 17:17). I want to hear GOD’S word because it is truth. How I hear is crucial (Acts 2:41, 17:11). I want to receive the word gladly with all readiness of mind.
Ok, these are the thoughts for the day. But in closing just let me say I am thankful that I still have my hearing and I think my hearing is just fine. Sometimes I think my family is conspiring against me. I think they say “let’s all just say we hear a cricket in the house and trick Dad.” Let’s see, as we age, along with hearing loss some people struggle with paranoia.