Take heed how you hear (Lk 8:18)

By Lim Chong Teck

In Matthew 11:15, 13:9, 13:43, the phrase “he that haveears let him hear” was spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ. His aim was to call to attention their attitude in hearing. They were to take heed of what He said and to seek to understand Him.  

Matt 15:10  “And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand.” For when we understand the will of God then can we do the will of God.

Matt 7:21  “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.” 

In Matt 7:24-27, Jesus illustrates that hearing and understanding His word needs to be completed by doing them.

“Every one therefore that heareth these words of mine, and doeth them, shall be likened unto a wise man, who built his house upon the rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon the rock. And every one that heareth these words of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and smote upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall thereof.”

How are we hearing?

The crowd consists of people with different background and motives as they hear Jesus. Some of them were there to pick on the chance to prove him wrong like the Pharisees (Luke 11: 53-54). Some were dull of hearing and were not interested in what Jesus was teaching them but were there for the food given (Jn 6:26). When our understanding of the word is solely determined by the purpose of monetary or physical gain, then we will not be able obtain “the food that perish not” (Jn 6:27).

Some would not go the extra mile of seeking out the meaning if they could not understand. That was because even though they saw the miracles and heard the words of Jesus, their hearts had grown dull or callous and they are not interested to understand. (Matt 13: 10-16). 

We need have the attitude of a diligent workman in seeking to understand His will. 

2Tim 2:15 “Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth.”

The scriptures assures us that those who seek God and his word diligently shall find it. 

Pro 2:1-6: “My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;  Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, andliftest up thy voice for understanding;  If thou seekesther as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;  Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD givethwisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.”

God has promised that those who seek to understand his word with persistency will find the knowledge of God and with it wisdom for this life and the life to come.

Heb 11:6 “and without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto him; for he that cometh to

God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him. God is a rewarder of one who diligently seeks him with faith.”

And for others, his teaching was to them “hard sayings” which they could not “hear” or accept (John 6:60). Sometimes when a person learns of a truth that is “hard” to accept, they will turn

from the truth even though they believed in Christ (John 8: 30-59). In John 8: 30-31 they were believers but they could not receive the truth that they were in bondage of sin (John 8:31-37). It is strange but true that one can be a believer in Christ but not accept his word. The true disciple is not only one who believes in Christ but one who abides in his word, i.e. understands, accepts and do it. 

The question is does His word have free course in our hearts? John 8:37 “I know that ye are Abraham’s seed: yet ye seek to kill me, because my word hath not free course in you.” Or would we be like the believing Jews in the time of Christ who heard and accepted parts of the truth they liked and rejected the ones they disliked?

Jesus reminds us again that one needs to keep His word to benefit from it. 

Jn 8:51 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my word, he shall never see death.” The one who abides in Christ is the one who abides in his word (Jn 15:7-10).

Because of these reasons many of the listeners could not profit from their hearing. They would not believe in what He taught (John 6:64). Yet these were the very words that are able to save them (John 6: 63 & 68).

The call to hear from the heart and to hear with faith was necessary in order for the hearers to profit. 

Heb 3:8-15 “Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest. Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; While it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.”

Out of eight verses, five of them make reference to the condition of their heart.

Heb 4:2 “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

We are to be all ears when God is speaking to us as mentioned in Revelations 2 and 3 “he that ears let him hear what the Spirit says”. These words are life and they give us encouragement and nourishment (1 Tim 4:6) to continue our Christian race.

The book of Proverbs tells us in many instances as listeners to take heed of words from our parents and wise counsellors especially when they impart to us wisdom from above. 

Prov 1:8 “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:”

Prov 15:5 “A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.” 

Prov 13:1 “A wise son heareth his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.”

Prov 13:18 “Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth

reproof shall be honoured.”

Prov 15:22 “Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.”

Prov 15:31-33 “The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise. He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding. “The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.”

But there are times when the word of God tells us not to take heed of what man says to us. The bible tells us to shun human teachings of fable and the likes that canundermine our faith.

1 Tim 4:7 “But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.”

2 Tim 2:16 “But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.” 

2 Tim 2:14 “Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.”

The word subverting means to undermine or damage, usually established authority. In this case words of no profit or vain babblings can undermine what was taught by the apostles and undermine the faith of the hearers.  The remedy is to shun them and replace it with the diligent study of God’s word.

2 Tim 2:15  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

The bible tells us not to believe every word that we hear

Prov 14:15 “The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.” In a time when information is at the tip of the finger and sent through the tip of our fingers (literally) through whatsapp and computer, we need to ascertain if the information is true or false.

This is such a simple warning, yet we see many people fall into Ponzi schemes, lucky draws and the likes. This can happen if we do not seek knowledge to gain understanding but remain in our simple or naïve state. The worst state would be to feed on foolishness.

Pro 15:14 “The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness.”

The bible tells us not to take to heart all the words spoken by men about us or to us as these are words we really don’t need to hear. 

Ecc 7:21-22 “Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee: For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others.” (KJV)

“Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you.

Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others.” (ESV)

Some words are spoken in the heat of the moment, some are ill-conceived words, some are foolish words, some are the result of misunderstanding. We should not let these words affect us emotionally. These should not be taken to heart for they neither encourage nor impart wisdom from above but instead let the words of Christ dwell in you richly (Col 3:16).

Luke 8:18 “Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and

whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that which he thinketh he hath.”