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Sermon 6/19/05 – The Microwave
Matthew 13:15

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The Microwave

The heart of this people has grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their heart and turn, so that I should heal them” (Matthew 13:15)

I like my microwave.  It does exactly what I want.  When I hit the “1” button on its keyboard, indicating that it is to run on “high” for exactly one minute, that’s precisely what it does!  It offers me no debate about the process.  It does not suggest somehow that two minutes might be better, nor does it distract me by telling me that in this instance a conventional oven might be more appropriate.  It doesn’t offer any suggestions at all – it just does what I tell it to do.

That’s great, if you happen to be a microwave.  But you are a person, a living, breathing human being, and because of that fact, I need to LISTEN to you, just as all of us need to respond to one another, and especially, it’s time to HEAR the Lord.  He is indeed speaking right this minute to your heart and mine.

A couple of weeks ago, we were in the Medium Security section of a federal prison, in the USA.  We spent three wonderful days in the facility, laughing, talking, crying and getting acquainted with several dozen of the prisoners who wanted to know what we could DO for them.  In ministry, just like it was in business, we’re finding that the “bottom-line” for people everywhere is the age-old question: “What’s in it for me?”  The answer, of course, when our Lord is involved, is that a LOT is being done for us all.

One of the prisoners told us, “By coming to prison, we got rescued!”  He went on, “We have time to read the Bible, time to study, and time for fellowship.  They give us reference Bibles and books about the Bible, like concordances.  Best of all, we’re off the streets and away from a lot of temptations.  We’ve been rescued.”  There were a half-dozen or so other prisoners who were with us at the moment, and they all nodded and agreed with him.  The “worst” had happened to them, but God was turning it to victory in their lives.

Almost everyone wants to avoid the prisons of this world, which may be literal jails, or they can be situations people fall into that just SEEM like jail.  All would agree that being sent to prison is definitely negative from a human standpoint, but God has wonderful ways, and He is always turning our mistakes into His blessings, which we can “see” if we are WILLING to understand.  The prisoner who remarked he was “rescued” had one more comment: “If this (jail) was what it took, it was well worth it!

You might say something like: “If only I could SEE God, I would believe in Him.”  The reality is that the Lord HAS revealed Himself and He is clear to us all.  God’s work may be seen in His creation (Romans 1:20), and His Law is “written in (everyone’s) hearts” (Romans 2:15).  The fact that we often have not perceived Him in our lives is our own choice.  When we don’t recognize His hand in our victories and apparent defeats, it is because our hearts have grown “dull,” and we simply aren’t willing to “see” with our eyes, ears and hearts, as Jesus described in Matthew 13:15.  What we think we want is often what we get, and many have simply not WANTED to “see” Him all these years.  God has intended that we will respond to other people, but we have all too frequently wanted the opposite, that OTHERS would be something like the microwave mentioned earlier, just doing what WE want when we want it and merely responding to OUR needs.

For humans, communication is difficult.  While finishing my own scheduled “talk” to the prisoners during the weekend, one of the lay leaders gestured to me through the window at the back of the room.  He held up two fingers, which I assumed meant “two minutes to go,” but when you think about it, the gesture could also have meant “V for Victory” or it could have been a “peace sign” from the 1960’s.  But with God, the only reason we don’t “hear” Him, is because we don’t want to.  He’s very open and specific.  As Jesus commented, “Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their heart and turn, so that I should heal them” (Matthew 13:15).  Open your “eyes” and look to the Lord, for He is indeed offering to “heal” your “heart” and life.

Do you “see” (understand)?  If you do, you are blessed, for the Lord said this: “Blessed are your eyes for they see and your ears for they hear” (Matthew 13:16).  Whether you are in some kind of prison or consider yourself to be “free,” if you have said “Yes” to God, He will “bless” you (make you happy) – forever!  It is the LORD who enables you to “see.”

Isn’t it amazing, wonderful and terrible, all at the same time, that God did NOT make us like a microwave oven that does everything its owner tells it to do?  It’s “amazing” because God has actually allowed us freedom!  It’s “wonderful” because we incredibly can choose our own destiny.  You can be with Him forever or not – your choice!  But it’s “terrible” that so many choose to live and die without Him, entering into an eternity where they will be isolated and alone – forever!

It’s good that we are not God.  Humans are fearful by nature and if we did manage to create a race of beings, we probably WOULD make them into something like toasters or microwaves, because fearful beings want to control –everything!  God is not like that.  He created us FREE to listen or not, to acknowledge Him or not; and amazingly to love Him or reject Him as we choose.

God is not fearful – He is personally full of love (1 John 4:8), the opposite of fear.  You may wonder, “Why don’t people LISTEN? Why don’t they care?”  Well, we’re just people doing the best we can, and many HAVE tried to care for you!  It may be that YOU need to listen, as well.  And as you have correctly observed, all human beings actually have little to give.  But there is One who DOES have much for us all, and HE is the One you need to hear.

As a people, we have “grown dull” in “heart.”  We have “closed” our “eyes” and “ears” to Him, for we have been fearful about losing our freedom, when in fact, He sets us free through His love.  He is the One, if we listen, who can “HEAL” you and me.  Will you pray?

Father, I confess that I have wanted to be in control, when I really should give MY life to You.  I trust in You now, Lord. Thank You for setting me free. In Jesus Name.  Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries
First Church On The Net
"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)

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