By Michael E. Brooks
“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'” (Matthew 13:14-15).
When I began making overseas mission trips more than twenty years ago, communication with family left at home was difficult and expensive.
In one country I visited multiple times, if I needed to make a telephone call back to the U.S. I had to travel more than an hour, then book my call and wait (sometimes for hours) until my turn came for attempting the connection. If it went through there might be static, interference and even an abrupt disconnection.
For such service the cost was well over $2.00 per minute.
Things have changed greatly since then. Now we have internet connections in most places we visit, and with computer and mobile phone options we are able to talk with family almost whenever we want at a small fraction of previous costs.
At other times we take advantage of email, Facebook, and messaging. We are truly blessed with our modern technology.
Not all communication difficulties are caused by faulty equipment however. Sometimes one dials another who chooses not to answer. Employees expecting a reprimand may understandably avoid contact.
At other times someone may speak to a party who is simply not paying attention. Their minds are on other things and they have no interest in what the speaker wants to discuss.
It takes two to communicate. Whether it is caused by lack of interest, fear of the implications of the message, or simply the mood one is in, all will likely find themselves on one or the other side of such an uncommunicative situation.
Jesus came to this earth as the Jews’ long-awaited Messiah. At first huge multitudes gathered wherever he went, to hear his message and see his miracles. Soon though they realized he was not the kind of savior they expected and desired.
He was not interested in restoring independence and glory to the nation of Israel. Rather he came to establish an eternal spiritual kingdom (John 18:36; Hebrews 12:22-24, 28). The Jewish leadership turned against him and soon the majority of the people followed suit.
Jesus continued to preach the gospel of the kingdom, but most were unwilling to listen, much less to confess and follow him. They hardened their hearts, stopped up their ears and closed their eyes against his message.
Paul experienced the same communication problems (Acts 28:25-28). He also noted that tragic consequences resulted for those who willfully chose not to listen.
“But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).
When it comes to spiritual communication there is no technological barrier. God has spoken and has revealed himself fully through his son Jesus and through his word, the Bible (1 Timothy 3:15-17). He is not far from any of us (Acts 17:27).
He rewards those who diligently seek him (Hebrews 11:6). If we have trouble speaking to and hearing from God, the problem will always be found on our end of the line, not his.