Recently, while watching all five of my grandchildren, I noticed something that caused me concern please allow me to share:
As we all sat around the kitchen table participating in an art activity my oldest grand-daughter asked my youngest grandson for a specific container of colored glitter which he had just completed using. Initially her tone was normal, however as she began repeating her request to him, her tone gradually elevated until by her fourth request she was almost at a yelling tone. Innocently, at that point he acknowledged her request by handing her the container of colored glitter in which she was requesting.
Now, of course in her mind he was just simply ignoring her previous requests; however, in my mind it signified the need of me notifying his parents to have his hearing checked to be certain that all was well.
Later, as I reflected on the day, I considered how many of us who are believers in our Lord and Saviour Christ Jesus appear to becoming dull of hearing (slow to grasp spiritual truth.) Now please know that I do not believe that in all cases we are intentionally ignoring the commands and promises of Scripture; however, I do believe that we have allowed the things and cares of this world to tiptoe into our lives so much so that many of us have become sluggish in personally working toward intimacy with God through our Lord Jesus and therefore considering the urgency of sharing this great Gospel. Additionally, I believe that we have also become dull in seeking God and asking Him for spiritual wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. This lethargic attitude has prevented us from graduating from the basics of solely hearing Scripture to implementing Scripture into our lives and teaching others to do the same. This said, today we will examine what the Scripture says about the matter of having dull hearing.
Hebrews 5:9-14 (NKJV) 9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, 10 called by God as High Priest“ according to the order of Melchizedek,” 11 of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
The entire book of Hebrews was written as a letter addressed to the Jewish Christians, who were being tempted to go back to their old ways of Judaism because of persecutions and sufferings. The undocumented writer of this book wrote to his audience regarding the absolute supremacy and sufficiency of Jesus Christ. In the prior chapters 1-4 our writer encouraged his audience to pay attention to the preached Word, which they had already heard and to not harden their hearts to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Now here in chapter 5, where our Observation Scripture comes from, he assesses through wise discernment their spiritual maturity.
11 of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.
Our writer clearly had a burning desire to share with his audience the deeper things of God; he therefore stated in verse 9 and 10 that he had much to say particularly concerning Christ, whose priesthood was eternal, being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. However, we find him quickly constraining himself while admitting that he couldn’t complete his desire.
See our writer fully understood that the Word of God gives LIFE, UNDERSTANDING, and therefore continuous GROWTH! His evaluation, concerning his audience spiritual state, demanded that he honestly and straightforwardly notify them that they had become dull of hearing (in a settled state of spiritual sluggishness, slow in understanding).
Dull- Lexicon:: Strong’s G3576 rendered: as nōthros, the pronunciation is (nō-thro’s) – which means (1) slow, sluggish, indolent, dull, languid
Unfortunately I believe this is the current condition of many believers today. Although via modern technology, we have access to the Word of God in hands reach, we too have become settled in a state of spiritual sluggishness.
Treasure Point: There is a responsibility factor which remains in place on the part of every believer; we first must demonstrate the discipline of spending personal quiet time DAILY in study and meditation of the Word of God. Then we must individually ensure that we have not become slow in our understanding, lethargic (un-energetic) in believing, or even sluggish in apprehending the things of God for application sake into our daily lives…It is only then that we will continue to mature and are able to discern satan lies from God’s truth and retain while applying the truthful principles into our daily lives, and in so doing, GROW IN FAITH.
Hebrews 6:1 – Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
Hebrews 6:11-12 – 11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
Our writer straightforwardly communicates to his audience his disappointment in their level of spiritual maturity in connection to when they first received the Gospel of Christ. Notice how he does not mince words, but instead he admonishes them by directly pointing out that they are in a state of still needing to be taught again the basics of the faith versus being in a mature position of teaching others. As harsh as it may sound please know that he said it in love, for he truly had high expectations, regarding the increasing maturity they should have had in the knowledge of God.
It is the same for us; there is absolutely no reason for us to attend church for years upon end and remain in the same state of infancy, or even worst regress, after we have come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact it is sinful, God expects growth!
Luke 12:48 – But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.
Treasure Point: Like graduating from kindergarten, to first grade, then second grade, third grade, and so forth – there is a progression (development, growth) that is visibly apparent when we continue to study and mediate in the Word of God. As we eat of the Word of God, His Word initiates a change in us inwardly until it manifests itself outwardly into our day to day living as we are being conformed to the very image of Christ. We who profess to be Christ followers should enjoy growing in the knowledge of Him and we should have a burning desire to share Him with others!
13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Partaker of milk/unskilled in the word of righteousness /babe
Do you know the reason we do not give an infant solid food immediately when they are born? It is because their little digestive systems are simply too immature. As a matter of fact their saliva glands are not yet fully developed and their systems are deficient in having certain digestive enzymes to help them digest solid foods; so milk provides everything a baby needs nutritionally.
With this thought in mind since we are speaking of a baby, clearly a care provider is needed. The care provider both prepares and measures their intake, at regular intervals little by little, while stopping midway during the feeding process to burp the baby to ensure the proper digestion.
Now consider this on the spiritual realm of a babe in Christ: one who can digest nothing but the doctrine of justification and imputed righteousness. This person would require someone to measure their intake of the Word of God, line upon line, lest they choke and fall away…
Partaker of Solid food/discerner of both good and evil /of full age
When a meal has been prepared, this person is one who is skilled in cutting their own food into the proper chewable portion sizes; they are able to savor the magnificent flavor of each bite, while still avoiding the possibility of choking, and then properly digesting-
Again, consider this on the spiritual realm of one full of age person (mature) in Christ: This person has practiced the daily habit of spending quiet time in the Word; therefore when they hear messages being preached, they are able to rightfully discern between truth, and falsities, good and evil, right and wrong; and they desire to teach others the same.
Treasure Point: In both examples God is still the eternal provider who gives to each of His children, (1) the partaker of milk and (2) the partaker of Solid food, the proper nourishment that preserves each of their lives; but He expects us to grow in knowledge!
Colossians 1:10 – 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
Revelation 2:7 – “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”’
Time to slow down long enough to examine our own spiritual maturity:
(1) Have you become dull? In a settled state of spiritual sluggishness when it comes to hearing, believing, understanding, and applying the word of God to your life?
Litmus test: When listening to the preached Word, do you often begin to think of the name of someone else who you feel needed to hear that specific message more in order for a change to occur within them versus you?
(2) Have you grown to the point where you are able/willing to share your faith and the Hope, which you have found in Christ Jesus with another?
Litmus test: Have you recently shared Christ with someone? It could even be a moment where a friend was struggling and you simply stated “I used to feel that way until Jesus came into my life.”
(3) Do you have a burning desire to avoid falling into the same old sins?
Litmus test: Do you have a Christian person, of the same gender, whom you can be completely transparent with? Someone whom you can be held accountable too and vice versa? One whom you share daily devotionals time with, – a prayer partner?
Romans 10:17 – So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
2 Timothy 2:15 – Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
I encourage you my sisters and brothers to daily seek to live your life for Christ, in an deliberate fashion!