Anyone who knows me well knows that I can eat almost anything. In fact, I have ate some things that should have been thrown out and the only reasom I know that they should have been thrown out was that a bodily solid which is normally a shade of brown was at the time an emerald green colour. Another thing about my eating habits is that I tend to eat fast. In response to someone saying that I should slow down and enjoy it I told them that I just happen to enjoy things quickly. I think the true cause of my fast eating might be traced to a time where, as a teen, I lived on a beach close to the U.S. Border without much food.
So, I love food butI am not one would call a connoisseur. I admire those who can eat something and be able to tell what spices went into it and other of the finer details. I would be happy just to know from a taste whether something had turned or not.
What does this have to do with eating with your ears? I am glad you asked. Let's look at a text from the book of Job in the Old Testament:
Job 34:3 For the ear trieth words, as the mouth tasteth meat.
What does this mean? Job is comparing tasting (not devouring) meat to what our ears do with words. I think many people could taste a piece of meat and tell what kind of meat it was, if it had been over or under cooked, or if it had turned. We can discern with our taste buds things that are bitter, sweet, spicy, etc. Our tongue takes in the taste and tells us information about the meat. In the same way our ears try words. We listen and not only hear the sounds but, hopefully, try to make sense of what is said. We hear arguments and advertisements. We hear lessons and slogans and all other sorts of things.
It is interesting that this verse is in the setting of the book of Job. Job is in the midst of an agonizing trial and he is visited by a group of “friends” who have come to help him. It may be that their intentions are good, but job calls them physicians of no value – they point out all kinds of causes for his trouble – most of the causes can be narrowed down to one. They have made the assumption that Job must have sinned and brought all these troubles upon himself because he has sinned. Job goes on to say that if he had a friend in trouble he would try to comfort and help them but that they offered him no comfort or help. Sometimes when we try to help people , if we are not careful, we add to the problem instead of making anything better. The old saying goes – you shouldn't kick a man when he is down.
The book of Job mainly consists of the arguments of Job's friends (who are like a legal team presenting their argument for his guilt) and Job making his defense and his complaint. So, it is in this setting that job says that the ear tries words as the mouth tasteth meat. He is saying I have heard your arguments and they neither prove anything nor provide any tangible solution.
Job must be commended for in his time of great stress and suffering he was still able to listen intelligently and provide a reasoned response. Fast forward to the culture of our day where we are constantly bombarded with messages and ideas – do we have our ears trained to try the words that we are hearing? A few generations ago it was a staple in school alongside the three r's to be taught lessons in logic and critical thinking. People knew how to spot a false argument and break it down to show its flaws. I have read that in a time gone by public debates drew greater crowds than the biggest sporting events. People from that generation were able to sit and listen to speeches and debates that sometimes went on for hours – but today we get soundbites and commercials. Today we get not noly verbal messages but ambiguous messages through the images flashed on television and computer screens – they speak another language and they influence our day to day life in ways that we are not even aware.
One of the things that has caused us to stop trying words is the growing apathy that is infecting us all. We have come to believe that all the messages are lies – or at least most of them – and that there is no hope to sort through the mass of garbage to find the truth. And when we lose hope apathy is the inevitable result – if we continue to hope after hope is gone we are just torturing ourselves. It is easier not to care than to suffer needlessly. So we grab on to th position or party or point of view that is most palatable and run with that and we sit back wallowing on our apathy. There is hope, however, and there is truth and right.
The old saying the pen is mightier than the sword holds very true to our world today. Today more than any other we should stand up and think, stand up and question, and reason and make a stand. We should learn how to think and read and listen critically. Here is a quote from the movie Ben Hur:
You can break a man's skull. You can arrest him. You can throw him in a dungeon. But how do you fight an idea?
You fight an idea... with another idea
There is a war of ideas going on all around us and we have to a large part been robbed of our shirlds and swords. We need to dig them up, polish, sharpen, and practice using them and fight. As a Christian this is even more important. The bible says in Rom 12:2:
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
We need to have our minds renewed and transformed by the truth of the word of God. We need to read it, study it, memorize it, preach it, and most of all live it.
2Cr 10:3-6 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
We have an advantage in that we have the word of God which is the sword of the Spirit in order to fight. It is useless to us however if we do not read it and know it. We are more concerned today about events and experiences than in in knowing bible doctrine. As a result false and even occult teaching is creeping in to the church.
2Ti 4:3.4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
1Jo 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
How do we try the Spirits? How do we know false doctrine and false prophets?
Isa 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
If it does not line up with the clear teachings of God's word it is not of God.
1Ti 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
The devil is subtle and comes dressed in sheep's clothing so we really have to know the word of God to be able to identify the counterfeit.
Our whole faith is founded (or at least is supposed to be) on the word of God and it is a shame how little most of us know of it. We are like babes who can only handle the milk and not the meat.
Hbr 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
This verse sums it up – we are supposed to use our faculties to learn how to think properly. We are supposed to have our senses exercised in the area of discernment – to discern good and evil – right and wrong – truth and error
Your ears have taste buds that try words and ideas – those taste buds need honing, developing, fine tuning so that you can discern and differentiate between good and evil – and I suppose what you feed your ears will either dull their senses or sharpen them – avoid verbal junk food and poison
Job 34:3 For the ear trieth words, as the mouth tasteth meat.