January 16, 2013 by Dwight Bernier
While swimming a few years ago, I had the incredible experience of having what felt like half of the lake stuck in my ear. I tried the “shake-your-head-til-everyone-thinks-you-are-crazy” approach to getting the water out; but that didn’t work. I tried sticking pointy, dangerous things in my ear to try to pop the bubble; but that was a failure. I dumped some chemicals into my ear, all of which probably shouldn’t be in a body; but that only proved to be a futile move in my “I’ll try anything” approach to removing the water (hopefully not creating sustained damages).
Water in the ear isn’t that bad for the first day. It’s annoying. But after four days, vertigo-type symptoms start to kick in. I remember walking around and almost falling over. It was amazing to me how incapacitated one can become from a little water. I started getting angry because there was nothing I could do about it, and had literally tried everything I could find on the internet (which is always the best way to do things).
Finally, I decided to go to the doctor, where they said they would flush my ear out and succeed in removing whatever was blocking the way. When they flushed it out, the feeling was incredible! I went from not being able to hear to being able to hear almost instantly. No more peroxide or pointy objects. No more asking “What?” to every question that I was asked. Now, the nasty part was the amount of ear wax that came out along with the water, but that is beside the point. I was so relieved to be able to hear, walk correctly, and not be frustrated about so much of life that depends on audible senses and balance. I was working correctly again.
I tell this story because this is what God has to do to us in order for us to hear Him. We all have some blockage to our hearing Him clearly. When I had the water in my ear, I could still hear, but nothing clearly got through. My wife would ask me to do something, and I would stand there as if she didn’t say anything because I didn’t really hear and understand what she was saying. The same is true of those without spiritual ears. They are unable to hear. Jesus often called “for those with ears to hear”. Without those spiritual ears to hear, one can listen to the words, but they don’t “get through”. No change takes place.
But God, in His mercy, takes blocked ears and digs out whatever is in the way. That’s what Psalm 40.6 is speaking about. The ESV translates it, “… but you have given me an open ear…”. The footnote informs us that the Hebrew is “ears you have dug for me”. In order for us to hear God, He comes and digs out our ears for us. Other places in Scripture tell us that He gives us new hearts and new eyes. He gives us these new parts to be able to truly and accurately discern, by the power of the Spirit, what He has said in Scripture.
We have new ears to hear what He has said. We have new eyes to see the glorious nature of Jesus. We have new hearts to hold the affections and change the motivations from prior. And our bodies are being transformed, and one day will be completely transformed, into the image of Jesus.
What amazes me about all this is that it is God who does all the work so that we can enjoy Him!
Our attempts at digging our own ears through religion, good works, moral and ethical behavior, and being a good person all fall short. They are like the hydrogen peroxide, sharp objects and shaking that I did to remove the water and, unbeknownst to me, the wax. The problem is deeper, but the grace, the unmerited gift of salvation and new parts (eyes, ears, hearts) through Jesus’ perfect sacrifice and resurrection, goes beyond what we can grasp. God does not desire your sacrifices, burnt offering or sin offering (Psalm 40.6), but He wants you to ask Him to dig out your ears and speak “I love you, died for you, am alive for you, will forgive you, and make you whole”.
So thankful that God digs our ears out to hear Him!