Come And Hear

The children of Israel were not to behave like those nations who had previously lived in the Land. As the people of God they were required to walk blameless before Him, in all that He had commanded. Instead of soothsayers or diviners, the people of God were to listen to a prophet whom God would raise up. The prophet would be one of them, not a Gentile, and God would place His Word in the prophet's mouth.

"You shall be blameless before the LORD your God. For these nations which you dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the LORD your God has not appointed such for you. The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, according to all you desired of the LORD your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, 'Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, nor let me see this great fire any more, lest I die.'" (Deuteronomy 18:13-16)

The people of God would test a prophet so as to avoid the consequences of being led astray from God by false teaching. If the message did not come to pass, then the prophet was deemed false, and the people did not need to fear him. "And if you say in your heart, 'How shall we know the word which the LORD has spoken?'–when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him." (Deuteronomy 18:21-22)

The importance of waiting for the messenger of God, by the people of God, is highlighted by the regular appearances of prophets, and the keeping of their messages, in the Scriptural record. Aside from the fact that not all the prophets were received warmly, they were, however, acknowledged as having a special role. The message may have agitated some, but the people of Israel recognized the prophet's function as an integral part of the community, and important to the development of the nation. Like the devotee who took the Nazarite vow, with their long-uncut hair and abstinence from wine, was a constant reminder that God was among them, so too, the prophet reminded the nation that God will speak to His people.

Moreover, God raised up His messengers to speak directly to Israel's leaders–kings and priests, princes and judges, the elders and the heads of the community– for the purpose of keeping them on the path of righteousness. It was urgent therefore, that the prophet was heard and his message be understood! Samuel was God's prophet to King Saul. Nathan was a prophet to King David. Isaiah spoke in the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, the kings of Judah. (Isaiah 1:1)

Since a prophet could appear at any time it created an environment of expectation within Israel.

Crucial in teaching the children of Israel to walk blameless before God was the coming of the Great Prophet, the Messiah. Significantly, He would be a prophet like Moses, but He would be greater than Moses. The Messiah would be the Prophet of prophets. This heightened Israel's awareness, therefore, the Messiah's arrival has been eagerly expected since the nation was established, in the days of Moses. Even today, the Jewish people look forward to the Messiah's arrival with great anticipation.

Moses said of the Messiah, "Him you shall hear." (Deuteronomy 18:15)

And so it was, when the Messiah arrived, many came to hear His words. "And He came down with them and stood on a level place with a crowd of His disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the sea-coast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear Him and be healed of their diseases, as well as those who were tormented with unclean spirits. And they were all healed. And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all." (Luke 6:17-19)

There were those who testified that He had spoken with great authority. "Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught. And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes." (Mark 1:21-22)

On one occasion while three disciples, Shimon Peter, Jacob (James) and Yochanan (John), were on a mountain with Yeshua, Moses and Elijah appeared, and were speaking with the Messiah, then " . . . a cloud came and overshadowed them; and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, 'This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!'" (Mark 9:7)

The heavenly voice was affirmation of the promise made through Moses centuries earlier. It also confirmed that Yeshua was the Messiah, the One whom the people of Israel had been eagerly awaiting.

On another occasion, seventy talmudim (disciples of Rabbi Yeshua) were greatly rejoicing after they had healed the sick, had exorcised demons from people, and preached the Kingdom, during their visit to local villages and towns in Israel. "'Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your Name.' . . . In that hour Yeshua rejoiced in the Spirit and said, 'I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in your sight.

'All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.'

"Then He turned to His disciples and said privately, 'Blessed are the eyes which see the things that you see; for I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it, and to hear what you hear, and have not heard it." (Luke 10:17, 21-24)

The Messiah confirmed that those whose hearts were willing to receive the truth, to them He would be revealed.

As was expected, the Messiah exalted the Word of God. Moses taught the authority of God's Word in the routine of daily life, so too, Yeshua the Messiah. And like Moses, the Messiah affirmed that there is blessing for all who hear and keep the Word of God.

"And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, 'Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!' But He said, 'More than that, Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!'" (Luke 11:27-28)

When asked which commandment was the greatest, Yeshua replied beginning with Shema, "Hear O Israel! The LORD our God, the LORD is one." (Mark 12:29)

He then continued, "And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment.

"And the second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbour as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30-31)

This was consistent with what Moses had taught the children of Israel in the Wilderness. It was not a new doctrine or a replacement philosophy, but completely in unison.

Furthermore, the Messiah confirmed that the words He spoke were not His own, but that which His Heavenly Father gave Him. "He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me." (John 14:24)

Sadly, the Scripture reveals that the prophets whom God sent were not always warmly welcomed by Israel, during their development as the people of God. The prophet Ezekiel was one who suffered rejection. Consider his plight:

"As for you, son of man, the children of your people are talking about you beside the walls and in the doors of the houses; and they speak to one another, everyone saying to his brother, 'Please come and hear what the word is that comes from the LORD.'

"So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain.

"Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them. And when this comes to pass–surely it will come–then they will know that a prophet has been among them." (Ezekiel 33:30-33)

In a similar way that the prophet Ezekiel was treated by his contemporaries, so too, the Messiah was criticized and not taken seriously. The religious authorities, in particular, endeavoured to find any means by which they could justify to rejecting Him as the Messiah.

"And when all the people heard Him, even the tax collectors justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.

"And the Lord said, 'To what then shall I liken the men of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another saying: "We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we mourned to you, and you did not weep."

"'For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, "He has a demon." The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, "Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!"

"'But wisdom is justified by all her children.'" (Luke 7:29-35)

Despite the Messiah encountering rejection, He welcomes all who are willing to listen to Him. "Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

He who has an ear let him hear!