We are continually bombarded by images. Advertisements are thrown our way continually in many forms to convince us to buy whatever they are trying to sell. TV, internet media, video games, etc have manipulated our sense of sight to the max. In the western world we have been conditioned to believe that “seeing is believing”. In fact, there is an old saying: “Believe NOTHING that you hear, and only half of what you see”. Should we believe NOTHING that we hear? Seeing is important but what about the other 4 senses: taste, smell, touch and hearing?
I know from personal experience that nothing is greater than the human touch. I think many of us came to miss this precious sense during the pandemic, and if you had Covid and lost taste and smell then you have come to fully appreciate those senses as well. Again, I know from personal experience that I can encounter a certain smell and it will immediately bring back a memory from my childhood. All of our basic 5 senses are very important. However, in this article I would like to concentrate on the senses of sight and hearing.
In the first paragraph I indicated that sight has been manipulated to the maximum in our current culture. Sight was also manipulated to the max in ancient cultures, hence all of the pagan statues and images made by ancient people groups of their many gods. Seeing depictions in hieroglyphs, statues, carved or graven images made the people believe that their gods were real because they could see them. They could touch them. Seeing was believing!
However, there was one ancient people group that served an invisible God. He demanded no image, carved or graven idol, be made to worship or identify with Him. I speak of the Hebrews. In fact, historical documents record that the Hebrews were made fun of because their God could not be seen. There was no image by which to honor Him or by which to bow before and to worship this God of the Hebrews.
How were they supposed to interact with a God that they could not see? Although He could be seen in the universe that He created, there was nothing physical for them to grasp hold of and touch and cling to like the other people groups had.
The watchword of their faith says it all: Hear Israel, the LORD our God is one LORD. The word hear in Hebrew is Shema. It means to hear and obey. For the Hebrew “hearing” was supposed to be believing. By hearing you obeyed. He was a God who spoke. At the foot of Mt Sinai they heard the voice of God speaking to them and they were afraid. They asked Moses to go and to speak to Him and to come back and tell them what He said.
By hearing, not seeing, we come to know this God that we serve. Seeing can be deceiving, but learning how to listen to that still small voice of God will build your faith and lead you in the straight and narrow path. Regardless of what is going on in the world around you, if you live your life and make your decisions based on hearing from the LORD or from His Word then you will never be led astray.
Everything that God has ever shown me, the understanding has come by hearing. I have dreams where I see many things before my eyes but usually I do not understand what I am seeing. It is only when I pray and ask God to reveal the meaning to me that I hear Him speak the meaning to my heart. I also read His Holy Word and I see the print on the pages but the meaning only opens up to me by hearing. This is a supernatural hearing.
Deut. 4:12-19 And יהוהspoke to you out of the midst of the fire. You heard a voice of words, but saw no form, you only heard a voice. And He made known to you His covenant which He commanded you to do, the Ten Words, and He wrote them on two tablets of stone. And יהוהcommanded me at that time to teach you laws and right-rulings, for you to do them in the land which you pass over to possess. Therefore, diligently guard yourselves, for you saw no form when יהוהspoke to you at Ḥorěḇ out of the midst of the fire, lest you should do corruptly and shall make for yourselves a carved image in the form of any figure – the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any beast that is on the earth or the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the heavens, the likeness of any creature that creeps on the ground or the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth; and lest you lift up your eyes to the heavens, and shall see the sun, and the moon, and the stars – all the host of the heavens – and you be drawn away into bowing down to them and serving them, which יהוהyour Elohim has allotted to all the peoples under all the heavens. (TS2009 boldness added)
When the books of the prophets are read we read passages that all sound the same: “The word of the LORD came to …..”. WORDS came to the prophets. Words that they were to pass on to the people. Even if they saw a vision that vision contained words and it was those words that were to be passed on. It was the words that were to be obeyed or that brought discipline or encouragement.
This theme holds true in the Renewed Covenant:
Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
John 17:8a For I have given them the words which you gave me and they have received them.
It is apparent that we walk by faith through hearing and not by sight!
We must be careful not to fall into the trap of thinking that we have discernment by relying on sight. True discernment comes from hearing the invisible God speak into our hearts. Then and only then can our eyes truly see as His eyes see. We can then taste and see that He is indeed good.
Psalms 34:8 - O taste and see that the LORD is good, blessed is the man that trusts in Him.
In learning to intimately know Him through listening all of our senses will come alive to the taste, smell, sight, and touch of this truly magnificent Creator of the Universe.