April 29, 2011
PLAINER WORDS ONLINE …THE PLANTED EAR
“The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.” (Proverbs 20:12)
Spiritual hearing and seeing is, in some ways, much more important than physical. It is only by God’s free grace that any sinners are given spiritual ears and eyes to hear and see the things of God. Most men do not think about God, in any meaningful way, for their entire lives (Ps. 10:4). Not only that, but the vast majority of men seem to be comfortable being alienated from the life of God because of the “blindness of their heart” (Eph. 4:18). Spiritual senses are given when we are regenerated. We received natural hearing and vision at birth, but we receive spiritual hearing and vision when we are “translated into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son” (Col. 1:13).
Jesus said, “Except a man be born again (regenerated), he cannot see the Kingdom of God” (John 3:3). And, also, “He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God” (John 8:47). Both sight and hearing are the gifts of God! Jesus hid the truth from the Jews, but revealed it to His disciples (Matt. 13:10-16, Mark 4:10-11)!
Why do most men not even consider God and His Truth? Why do most think the gospel to be foolishness? God has not opened their ears to hear it with understanding and conviction. Why do most see His glorious creation and, yet, ascribe their existence to fate and evolution? God has not opened their eyes to see Him, or His truth.
Thinking back on Mobile, Alabama, as I write, I wandered back down memory lane. The year was 1963. Unknown to me at the time, the Spirit of God was beginning to work in my heart. As a consequence, I wanted to find a church which focused on the Bible, a Book which I had enormous respect for. I knew in my heart-of-hearts, since childhood, that It was a supernatural Book. A friend, an older man named Manuel Clackus, a Greek Orthodox, knew I was searching for a church and he suggested I try the “Mobile Gospel Tabernacle.” I said, “Manual, the name sounds like it is a ‘Holy-Roller’ church.” He assured me it wasn’t. He knew the pastor very well because of the pastor’s anti-communist and conservative stand in the community. Manual Clackus was a Chapter Leader of the local John Birch Society of which I was a member. The John Birch Society and its slogan, “It is better to light a candle, than curse the darkness,” had a profound impact upon me. Its emphasis on political truth highlighted the fact that I knew not God, nor His Truth.
So, it was on one Sunday night in February 1963, being aware that I was lost, I walked into a church which had a special message from God to me. I thought that most preachers “preached harder” on Sunday nights than they would during the 11:00 Morning Service. I knew enough about the Bible that I had to expose myself to the power of it being preached. As I searched a number of Sunday nights for such a church, I found most messages were soft pabulum, being served up to offend no-one. I needed to be “offended.” I wanted to be saved, and I knew it. I knew I was lost. On that eventful night in 1963, after taking Manual’s advice, I walked into the “Mobile Gospel Tabernacle.” It happened to be an Acts 9 church, but I knew it not, nor would I have known what it meant.
The pastor, Dr. Henry Grube, preached on the subject, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). I sat in the pew with my Bible opened and read the verses, along with Dr. Grube, as he preached. The more he preached and the more I kept reading these two verses, the Bible began to feel like I had a “live wire” in my hands. They began to shake; I knew, right then, that Jesus Christ became alive to me. That night, my life was forever changed.
Dr. Grube repeatedly said, that night, “God’s Word does God’s Work.” I knew, then, it wasn’t about “turning over a new leaf.” Or, that my righteousness had to exceed that of the Pharisees (Matt. 5:20) which had stuck in my mind ever since I was a youngster. No, it was by GRACE THROUGH FAITH!!! Wow! I had never heard such a thing. I could not have known because the Lord Jesus had not opened my ears until that night. Yes, Siree, God’s Word did God’s His Work on that 32 year old man that cold, February night in Mobile, Alabama.
“The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back” (Isaiah 50:5).
Isaiah 50:5 could have been my testimony. My ears which had been dull of hearing, that night, became quickened to God’s Word.
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17).
Indeed, that was true for me. It still stands today—without God’s Word, there is nothing to have faith in.
The Lord Jesus frequently said, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt 11:15).
This indicates that some don’t have ears to hear, to wit, spiritually awakened ears. This is, also, true in the natural realm of hearing. An Italian by the name of Corti discovered the fine hairs in the ears which vibrated when sound waves crossed over them. The vibrations created discernable sounds. These hairs were named the “organs of Corti.”
Some sounds I cannot hear. Some sounds are barely discernable to the hard of hearing. Some sound frequencies are pitched to such high decibels that humans can’t hear them, but dogs can.
Some folks have a natural ear for music. I remember Eddie Kneuper who I played professional baseball with. Eddie was a good ballplayer. What I remember most about him was the fact that he could play the piano by “ear.” He had never taken piano lessons. He couldn’t read music. But, there were times when the players would have a party, and if there was a piano available, Eddie would sit down at the piano and play for several hours. He’d start out playing a lot of “Boogie-Woogie ” which was popular at the time. Then, he would play anything that was requested. We all thought it was amazing.
One time, Eddie told me, “You know, it’s funny that the more I practice, the better I play.” This comment has stuck with me for over fifty years. Here was Eddie Kneuper who had a God-given gift of playing the piano. What a great gift! But, he admitted the more he practiced playing the piano, the better he developed the God-given talent. He said that if he went for quite awhile without playing, he lost some of his “touch.” Think about that!!! Lost some of his touch.!
So, as some have an ear for music, some have an ear to hear the things of the Spirit of God. Some have a divinely planted ear, that is, a spiritual ear. It is the spiritual ear which hears and understands the Word of God. The hearing ear, in this sense, is a gift from God—divinely planted.
“He that planted the ear, shall He not hear? He that formed the eye, shall He not see?” (Psalm 94::9).
What a wonderful planting!
Psalm 94:9 assures us that the One Who planted the ear has ears to hear our requests, our pleas, our moans, our cries, our rejoicings, and our thanksgivings. And, He also has eyes to see our need, our condition, our delight, and our joy. In fact, He knows our need before we do! He sees a problem before we are aware of it.
“The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, He wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned” (Isaiah 50:4).
God awakens the ear to hear morning-by-morning, or day-by-day. The divinely planted ear, by means of the metaphor, “planted ear,” is likened to a fruit-tree. A planted fruit-tree needs to be continually cultivated, pruned, trimmed, weeded, watered, dug about, and fertilized. This attention maximizes the bearing of fruit. So it is with the “planted ear.”
“He (Jesus) spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down” (Luke 13:6-9).
THE HEARING EAR—USE IT OR LOSE IT
As Eddie Kneuper said, “The more I practice, the better I get.” We can say the same regarding exercising the “hearing ear.” The Christian who fails to cultivate his God- planted ear allows it to under-go atrophy. The planted ear, which becomes atrophied because of lack of practice, consequently it produces very little fruit. The atrophied ear does not cry out for the nourishment needed to keep it fit and active. It becomes “dull of hearing.” Its spiritual organs of Corti are atrophied, and they no longer are able to distinguish between noise and the things of God. It can no longer perceive advanced Truth because the sound seems to be that of tinkling brass. Their ear only hears the same old story, and that’s all it wants to hear. It hears, only, what it was trained to hear—the same old story. As the old hymn says:
“Tell me the old, old story of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love.
Tell me the story simply, as to a little child,
For I am weak and weary, and helpless and defiled.”
It is sad to say that so many of us have grown weary and no longer have a desire to “go on to perfection.” We become as a little child; “Tell it to me, again, Mommie.” The Scripture certainly doesn’t indicate that “standing still” merits any reward at all. Yes, many of us have come to the point of being satisfied with what we think we know. The old, old story of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love might as well be our anthem, or benediction.
The application can certainly be made, as I was warned many years ago by a number of Englishmen who were strongly indoctrinated by the teachings of Charles Welch. They wrote me saying, “Tom, do not go beyond the teachings of Charles Welch. If you do, you’ll be sorry.”
I owe a lot to the work of Mr. Welch, which I readily admit, as I do also, to many others. But, I would not sing the song of, “Tell The Me Old, Old Story of Acts 28:28 ” over and over, again, as many of Mr. Welch’s disciples would have had me sing. Nor, would I sing, as a benediction, the anthem of Mr. Otis Q. Sellers, or Mr. Oscar Baker, or Mr. Stewart Allen, or Mr. Howard W. White, or Dr. E. W. Bullinger. Each of these gifted men walked farther down the road of Truth than did their early mentors and blazed trails which had been less traveled. We recognize their ground-breaking work and have entered into their labors, hoping to build upon them.
I admit, along with these superb teachers that, “Though we have studied the Scriptures for a lifetime, we have only scratched the surface.” All of the men, mentioned, agreed with this statement, albeit, in not the exact, same words, but in principle. However, a number of their devotees are in disagreement with this statement.
True teachers of the Word, as far as I am concerned, never believe they have all of the answers, yeah, far from it! What was said in the foregoing paragraph is not to be construed as any disrespect for these men. In fact, I esteem them very highly. I was personally acquainted with Brother Oscar Baker, and we were friends to the end. He wrote the Foreward to a hard-back book I published—Plainer Words. I, too, was personally acquainted with Brother Stewart Allen, the successor to Charles Welch in The Berean Forward Movement. I can say, without reservations, that he was the most gracious man I ever met. Interestingly, Brother Baker never severed fellowship with me when I began to teach about the Pre-Millennial Kingdom of God and the Church’s hope being bound-up with the Epiphaniea. But, upon Oscar Baker’s death, those who assumed his ministry promptly deleted my name from the mailing list of Mr. Baker’s Bible Study paper, Truth For Today. And, no more mention was ever made of any of my writings, or work. Some of the devotees of the great men of God feel as though they have been divinely appointed to protect, safeguard, and shut-out anything contrary to what they have been taught. I do not mean to imply, at all, that any of the readers of PWO are part of that number. Otherwise, they would not tolerate these essays. I am profoundly thankful to the Lord Jesus Christ for my readers’ patience with me.
All of this was said in order to point out that many of us have stopped-up our ears and closed our eyes to any line of Truth that doesn’t “walk the line” of orthodox Acts 28 didactics.
Sometimes, I feel as though we have stepped “through the looking glass.” For example, Bob Jones University, the fundamentalist university in South Carolina, years ago, censored Plainer Words, thus, protecting the student body from yours truly, a “false teacher.” While, at the same time, the Pentecostal school of higher learning, Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, requested all of the Plainer Words publications for their school library.
GOD OPENS THE EAR
“For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside Thee, what He hath prepared for him that waiteth for Him” (Isaiah 64:4).
The natural ear cannot hear Divine truths, nor discern them. Neither can the “atrophied ear” hear, or discern Divine truths because the sound is like a clattering of pots and pans. Ah, but the exercised ear HEARS!
“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:9-14).
“An ear for music” is certainly a gift of nature; not everyone has this peculiar “ear.” And, no- one has, by nature, that ear which can distinguish the things of God. The spiritual ear is the direct gift and planting of God. Thus, it is written, “He that hath an ear,” to wit, only he that hath that divinely-planted, God-given ear can hear the things of the Spirit of God.
This God-given, God-planted ear must not be neglected, for without proper use and exercise, the “hearing ear” will encounter atrophy. May the Spirit of Truth, daily, give us something to believe which we have not, hitherto, perceived. USE IT OR LOSE IT!!!
The Lord wakeneth the ear to hear (Isaiah 50:4). It is the Lord that openeth the ear (Isaiah 50:5). The natural ear does not hear spiritual sounds; it cannot discern them (1 Corinthians 2:9). So, it can be said “that nature and grace illustrate each other, and reveal the great fact that there is a secret ear, more delicate than any organs of Corti, that can detect sounds invisible as well as inaudible to the senses” (Numbers In Scripture, page 18 by E. W. Bullinger D.D.; Second Edition).
November 1, 2007 (Date of original publication)
Issue No. 202
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From Plainer Words
The Planted Ear
Posted in: 2011
By Tom L. Ballinger
Apr 29, 2011 - 9:13:43 PM
Apr 29, 2011 - 9:13:43 PM
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