A deadly disease is sweeping our nation, one which you may not even be aware. Some have felt the tragic effects in their own families, many more are affected by it and do not even know the symptoms. The sickly demeanor and lifestyle have become so commonplace in our society, those who suffer appear completely healthy to everyone around them. It’s nothing new, but it is just as deadly as it ever was. Fewer and fewer are brave enough to confront this infection.
We pour millions into cancer research; we are hypersensitive to obesity signs, we diagnose depression and anxiety and Attention Deficit Disorder. We sympathize with almost every degree away from optimal health, but not in the case of this morbid dysfunction. The spiritual health of our society is in grave condition. And it’s only getting worse.
On a grand scale of life and death, beginnings and ends, we are only a breath of the larger picture. There was a world of creatures, life, and history before we were here. There will be a world of creatures, life, and history after we have gone. But there is a truth about the whole thing, one who created it all and one who will finish it. There is a Word from God that will remain forever, even though this Earth and everything we have will pass away (1 Pet. 1:24-25). This eternal Word promises life to you on account of Christ. And yet our generation remains sick, unaware, and dying quickly.
The disease hides the truth. It scales over eyes that think they can see. It plugs up ears that were made to listen to the beautiful life-filled Word. It hushes the voice of a God who acts for his people. It darkens the external work of a Savior. Blind and deaf to the life-saving answer, this disease feeds on the internal lies of a sickly, inner heart. Shockingly, we have been too good at helping the disease silence the ears that should listen and dim the eyes that should see. We’ve encouraged the disease to overtake our families, our children, and the generations to follow.
This plague is no new thing. A dreaded deformity of disobedience clung to every soul since Adam and Eve. A rampage of doubt quarantines all people away from the holy presence of the God who created them. Certain death smothers every blind and deaf creation, leaving no flesh untouched. Almighty God knew this terrible ailment which actively plagued His very own beloved people, Israel. In the Old Testament, after choosing, saving, and leading His diseased people out of slavery and into the land of promises, God says this:
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise (Deut 6:4-7). Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations” (Deut 7:9).
A God who spoke the stars and sun into existence, spoke the ancient anecdote into the lives of yet another wretched generation. Hear, He said. Hear, and you will know. Hear, and your children will know. Hear and know that blindness and deafness will not overtake these people whom I have chosen to love.
Knowing that the Lord is your God means trusting the spoken promise of God steadfast love because He chooses to reverse death through our ears. He is the faithful one who has always delivered His people from oppression, slavery, and finally the grave itself. For Israel, the hearing Word of the Lord led them out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, away from their enemies. Hearing the Word of the Lord leads us out of the chains of sin and away from our enemies forever, through the cross of Christ’s sacrifice, to a kingdom of rest.
But to know the Lord is God, we must listen to a story about who we are as God’s creation, contrasting what the sick generation will show us. To know the Word of the Lord, we must believe God’s spoken truth in His revealed Word more clearly than the thoughts and desires observed from our own hands and heart. And even this, our Lord has already done for us.
Jesus doesn’t rely on the faithfulness of our ears because He has heard every command of the Father and followed them to completion. “This is my beloved son,” said the Almighty who speaks. Here, ever and always, Jesus is listening and trusting for us. God’s only son drowned willingly, repenting for all of us in Jordan, crucified in the flood of every sin. God’s only Son remade reality for the deaf and blind who wander. Jesus rose from the dead, opening dead eyes and clearing closed ears, now and forever.
His new life is the incredible healing promise for us. Hidden in unlikely places, God heals and renews, one child at a time, in a very particular way. His spoken Word names, forgives, and physically touches the flesh of the diseased, washing her ears wide open. Unknowing, undeserving, and rotting away, the blind are buried with Jesus. But, for everyone that this blessed flood claims, a new listening life is granted. On account of Christ, through the waters of baptism, we are reconciled to God. By no merit of our own work, we know and love the Lord God with all our heart and soul and might.
God mends unhearing unbelief with the Word of Christ, placing faith in the ears of our children and us. God has personally sealed eternal life and peace upon our own head and heart with the waters of baptism which bestow upon us the promise of eternal life. This physical body hears, loves, and trusts that the Lord is God. This very flesh is audibly touched by the steadfast love that is Christ. His Word cures even this blinded generation, through our ears.