How many animals did Moses bring on the ark?
It may be easier to pick it up while reading the question, but verbally ask someone the question and the average person will say “two of each kind.” That’s because we hear everything about the question except what’s right in the middle … the heart of the question! It’s a good illustration when it comes to how we can listen without hearing.
“And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive; For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.’” (Matthew 13:10-15 NKJV)
The people had heard it all before: There’s a God in Heaven. He’s the giver of blessings. Repent of your sins. The Lord will make things right in his kingdom. Judgment is coming!
They would listen but they couldn’t (due to their wouldn’t) hear what was being said. The point of Jesus’ lessons would go over their head because their ears had shut down the pathway to their heart.
To avoid making the same mistake, no less than three things must be done: We must be willing to examine God’s word with an open heart. We must be willing to allow God’s word to examine our heart. We must be willing to change when we hear what the word of God says.
“Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. … Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:1-2, 11-13 NKJV)