And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it; And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.
If you ask my kids what I most often tell them, they will likely repeat some of the phrases in my repertoire, including this one: “pay attention”. We are all guilty of being absentminded or not being present in the moment, and we act like we are listening, but we hear nothing. I have been guilty of being in a team meeting or even at the house when Rebekah is talking to me, and I have not a clue of what is transpiring. Sadly, I have been in many church services, and I have fallen asleep or thought of all kinds of things not related to the what the preacher was preaching on. The gift of hearing is taken for granted as well as the other senses God has given us. We do not fully appreciate our hearing, but we may one day if God chooses to take it away from us. The older we get, the more our hearing dissipates due to old age and headphone abuse. Hearing is a gift God gives us, but it is up to us whether or not we will choose to hear when He speaks to us. God is always working and speaking into our lives, but we give credit to “fate” and everything under the sun instead of God’s sovereign will.
In I Samuel 3:10 the Bible says, “And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.” Samuel had the correct response to the voice of God. God is always speaking to us but we often have the noise of the world in our ears, and we go deaf when He is speaking to us. He has given us His Word and there are many who ignore it or find themselves “too busy” to crack open its pages. We are exposed to preaching as God chooses to speak through His servants, and we instead scroll through our phone or nod off because we stayed up too late the night before. We also are guilty of not showing up altogether and the best message we should have heard was still preached in our absence.
I imagine this deaf and mute man whom Jesus was asked to touch never forgot the experience he had with Jesus. The notion of someone sticking their fingers in your ears and then spitting on those fingers and putting them on your tongue sounds strange, but God works in mysterious ways. The fingers and spit were not that of an ordinary man but belonged to the Great Physician. I can assure you that this man never forgot this encounter, and I am sure his ears were open to whatever Jesus spoke. We forget when God spoke into our ears for the first time and healed our spiritually-deaf ears, exposing us to the truth of His Word. We take it for granted that He speaks to us on a moment-to-moment basis as we have grown calloused to His voice due to our hard hearts. If God has saved you, then He has made your deaf ears to hear and you have come to know that He does all things well.
Where are you today? Are you guilty of being exposed to His truth and His word but your life does not show it? Are you paying attention when He is speaking to you, or are you distracted by the cares of this world? Are you taking advantage of reading His word and exposing yourself to preaching, or has your Bible grown dusty and your seat at church empty? James 1:22 says, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” May we not just be a hearer of the word, but may we act on what we have heard in obedience to how God has spoken to us. May we have the heart of Samuel and be willing to say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.”