Thursday, September 16, 2010

2010 – September 16 – Listening to Discern

Study from God’s Word Job, Chapters 32 - 37 … Passage for Reflection: Job 34: 3 – 4 … NIV For the ear tests words as the tongue tastes food. Let us discern for ourselves what is right; let us learn together what is good.

My Journal for Today: In my Bible readings from Job, led by Dr. Smith in his devotional entry for today, we analyze some of the thoughts from Elihu, the Buzite (who were the “Buzites” anyway? ;>). He was a younger observer, who had been listening to Job interact with the older three “friends,” … the men who had been giving their opinions as to why Job was experiencing all the pain and suffering which had transpired for poor Job. Well, Elihu, was finally felt compelled to give his “two-cents worth;” and today’s text comes from his insights. And in today’s verses there is one very interesting and pertinent perception to which we should all take note.

And I really like what LaGard Smith uses as a word picture comparison in his devotional today to explain the truth of what is said by Elihu. Dr. Smith picks up on Elihu’s comparison of listening to tasting foods and compares our discernment of what we hear with the discernment the palate has for what we eat. And Dr. Smith is right that we can easily discern some differences with our untrained “palate,” … things like spicy versus bland or sweet versus sour. But if we were given a complex casserole, most of us could not discern what spices were used in the dish. Only a chef with a trained palate could discern the ingredients by tasting the dish.

And what Elihu is accurately implying in today’s passages is that we need to become “listening gourmets” when it comes to ideas we hear from others. We need to be able to listen to the words spoken by the world and to determine what is right and what is wrong, … what is truth and what are falsehoods. And as our word picture implies, we need to develop a discerning listener’s palate for the ideas we take in. Some things we hear are easy to spot as true or not. But some ideas can be infiltrated with poison; and the untrained – or undiscerning – “ear,” combined with a heart, prone to deception (see Jer. 17: 9), can take in poison and not discern it’s even there.

Moving from OT to NT, I think of the Bereans (in Acts 17: 10 – 12 [linked]) who used their plumb of truth from God’s word to discern whether the Apostle Paul was speaking truth to them when he was sharing the Gospel message of The Messiah. They knew, in their hearts, they needed help in discerning the truth; and they went to the one source of discernment they knew they could trust, … God’s word.

And that is what we need to do to develop discerning “spiritual ears,” determining whether what we hear is giving us the truth or whether it is tinged by spiritual poison. There’s a lot of subtly poisoned thoughts being spread around for our spiritual palates to consume these days; and we need to be like the Bereans, using the plumb of truth from God’s word to help us taste the truth and avoid the poison. And hopefully over time we will learn and grow to become “spiritual gourmets,” being able to sample what we hear and know if it’s the real deal or whether someone is trying to poison our minds with falsehoods.

May we all become gourmet palates when we come to Christ’s table of truth!

My Prayer for Today: Lord, give me a discerning “ear” for truth. Amen

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