Keeping Your Ear To The Ground

“He, who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Matthew 13:9, NKJV)

As I was growing up in what seems a long, long time ago, one of my favorite TV shows to watch was The Lone Ranger.  He along with this companion, sidekick and scout, Tonto, always seemed to find challenges that others were having, and often one or both of them were having!

Oh, when the Lone Ranger would gently spur Silver, his beautiful white horse and then Silver would raise up on his hind legs, then we would hear the familiar words, “Hi Ho Silver, away!”

Those were simpler days filled with fun, games, whiffle ball, and all the joys of being young and pretty much carefree! But all too soon, life becomes more serious, choices with serious and eternal ramifications present themselves.

The phrase that finds its origin in the late-1800’s, “keep your ear to the ground” actually comes from the practice of placing one’s ear to the ground in order to hear the pounding hoof beats of oncoming buffalo, horses usually with mounted riders, footsteps and also the rumbling of a train in the distance.

When this phrase occurs in a metaphorical sense, a similar concept is being expressed.  Staying knowledgeable about life, truth, topics can prove to be most advantageous when something seen, heard or observed seems to have a strange ring or sound to it!

Clearly the Bible places a great deal of emphasis on the need to listen with one’s heart and mind in a discerning and sobering way!  In Matthew 13, Jesus uses the word “hear” or “hearing” some nineteen times to underscore the value of listening carefully.

It would be at those teaching moments when care needed to be exercised to understand and apply His message that Jesus would employ the term, “He who has an ear to hear, let him hear.”  J.B. Philips New Testament words the passage this way, “The man who has ears should use them!”

In the language of our day it would be, “Listen up” and “pay very close attention!”  We must realize that Scripture puts a high premium on listening to God’s voice!  The wise man worded it by inspiration in this fashion, “Blessed is the man who listens to me.” (Proverbs 8:24, NKJV)

The “family and household of God”, the “church”, is made up of those who have voluntarily chosen to listen to the Father! Jesus as He stands before Pilate states, “… Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” (John 18:37)

It is not our right to prefer the latest approach to worship … to buy into the latest trend sweeping the country or the brotherhood!  It is our responsibility to “Buy the truth and sell it not.” (Proverbs 23:23)

We must always keep our ears to the ground as we go about the business of serving our God … whether it is in our personal life, congregational worship, etc.!  Make no mistake about it … there is a sound in the distance of pounding hoofs, the rumbling of the train on the tracks … and it is NOT what we should ever hope to see or experience!

The sounds you can hear if you listen with your ear to the ground … the things you see and observe are not those you really want to see appear on the horizon.  In some cases, the horses hooves have already arrived … the train has already arrived and trouble is nearer than we think!

Our adversary, the Devil, is busy, careful, discerning and persistent in his desire to nullify the grace of God, the hope of salvation and the value of obedience to God’s will.

Satan would have us to believe … yea … to accept as true … that whatever pleases us … whatever make us happy or more in tune with the Spirit of God as we worship and serve Him just has to be right!  Wrong!  Read the words of Jeremiah 10:23.

In the words of the noted Indian scout who rode alongside the Lone Ranger, Tonto would say, “Me hear the sound of hoofs coming in the distance!”

Do you hear them?  Are you listening for them?  Are you looking for them?  Paul warned Timothy, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”  (2 Timothy 4:3-4, NKJV))

Bill Fairchild, Jr.

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