Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Wisdom to Really Hear

Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” Matthew 7:6

When my children were younger and they would approach me with a bad temper, I would often quote Matthew 7:6 to them and then kindly ask them to come back to me later when they were more calm and aready to listen. I don't know if it had ever struck you as odd, as it did me, but this verse does seem kind of strange sandwiched in between Jesus talking about being a hypocrite (taking the plank out of your own eye) and the verses about asking, seeking, and knocking. But then again, is it really a strange place for this verse about dogs and pigs to have been placed?  With Jesus we know there is not strangeness, but rather a well calculated lesson.  One I learned today and am looking so forward to sharing with you.

The word hypocrite portrays the image of someone who is putting on a false image and here in verse 6 Jesus is relating those who are closed to the gospel truth in their true image – dogs and pigs – because of what they chose to do with the words that are put before them. Instead of taking the words of truth given them and regarding them as precious and holding them carefully in their hearts, they trample on them, try to destroy them, and pick them apart piece by piece with the intent of only leaving the scraps strewn about and left as garbage on the floor.

Contrastingly, on the back-side of this verse the person who is described is one who is pleading before the Lord – asking, seeking, and knocking – not doing anything on their own accord but rather just depending upon what the Lord provides and gives to them in perfect and hopeful simplicity. The differentiation between the animals on the front end and the simple-hearted seeker on the back end is stark and to the person reading all this verses in succession should be mindful about the clear distinction Jesus is trying to make.

Listen to what these proverbs have to say about the difference between those who are not willing to listen to the Lord and those who are: the scoffer, the simple, and the wise.

When the scoffer is punished, the simple is made wise; but when the wise is instructed, he receives knowledge.” Proverbs 21:11

Strike a scoffer, and the simple will become wary; rebuke one who has understanding, and he will discern knowledge.” Proverbs 19:25

Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; rebuke a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.” Proverbs 9:8-9

The scoffer is one who is the pig/dog that Matthew 7:6 talks about, the simple is one who may not have a lot of wisdom but is smart enough to know that the ways of the scoffer are not the ways she wants to follow – she is willing to do what needs to be done to avoid the wayward life the scoffer leads. Finally then there is the wise one. I love what Proverbs 21:11 says about the simple being made wise. Truly, wisdom is gained by each simple piece of instruction God gives to those who open their hearts to Him. To those who do not take His words, trample them, tear them apart for their own enjoyment and glory, but rather really treasure and internalize the instruction being put before them that is where real wisdom is found and built up upon.

For the longest time I had a hard time with the below verses from Matthew 13 because the logic of giving to those who already had an abundance of something and taking away the bit from those who had nothing, was not there for me.  But after going through the above scriptural digging which I did this morning, I have a found a greater appreciation for these words in regards to how God gifts wisdom to man. I hope the same rings true for you as you read them too.

For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:

Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,
And seeing you will see and not perceive;
For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed,
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.’

But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” Matthew 13:12-17

The choice to take in the lessons of God in simplicity and therefore grow in wisdom lies before us every day. God desires so much to teach us about Himself and about how He is working around us. But are we taking those lessons and trampling them and tearing them apart before willing our hearts to just sit before our Lord and simply hear what He has to say to us? I pray you discover great and priceless treasures today as you open your heart and ask, seek, and knock for the Lord to teach you His wisdom for your life.

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