Hearing But Not Understanding
Understanding is very different from listening and hearing. You can hear and NOT understand. You can listen and NOT grasp the intended meaning of what was spoken.
It is not enough that we hear the voice of God; we need to receive it with understanding. If we do not receive it with understanding, we will lose our faith when trials and challenges come our way.
In Matthew 13:5, in the parable of the sower, we see that some of the seed that fell on stony places immediately sprang up, but withered away as soon as the sun came up because it had no root. We go on to see that this represents people who hear the Word of God with joy, but quickly fall away when trials and persecutions come BECAUSE OF THE WORD, due to the Word not taking root inside them.
What does this mean? It means that:
They heard the Word, which is the Voice of the Lord (there cannot be a word without a voice)
Although they heard, they did not fully understand it for the Word did not go deep into them and take root
Tribulation or persecution can come BECAUSE of the Word that was given
If the Word does not take root, you can easily be shaken and fall away when trials come.
An example of how this works can be seen in Luke 8:22 to 24
After Jesus reveals the parable of the sower, He tells the disciples “Let us cross over to the other side of the lake” (Luke 8:22). Notice that the Word was given or in other words, the seed was sown.
Later a storm hits them in the middle of the lake – a tribulation/persecution came BECAUSE OF THE WORD - which now stood against them to destroy and keep them from reaching the other side. The intention of the trial was to oppose the fulfillment of the PURPOSE of the Word i.e. to cross over.
And not only crossing over to the other side. If you read further you will see that as soon as they reached the other side Jesus delivered a demon-possessed man (Luke 8:26 to 33)
The storm was trying to prevent the fulfillment of the Word that was given - crossing over AND delivering a man from the hands of the enemy. If the storm had succeeded in destroying the boat, the disciples would not have witnessed the power of God's Kingdom in action by the deliverance of a demon possessed man.
The intention of a trial is to stop the fulfillment of the promises God has given you
Now we can see how this is operating:
The disciples heard the Word – they heard Jesus telling them “Lets cross over to the other side”
They did not fully grasp it because if they HAD fully understood the intended meaning of what Jesus said, then they would not have panicked when the storm came.
If they had not only heard and listened to the voice of the Lord, but also understood and grasped the meaning of what He said, they would not have cried out and panicked because,
Jesus had already given the Word saying “Lets cross over to the other side”- and that meant no matter what came their way, they would reach the other side safely.
Their lack of understanding the Word - that they WILL reach the other side - caused them to lose faith and fall away
This is why Jesus, after calming the storm asked them “Where is your FAITH?” (Luke 8:25). He was not angry or punishing them. He was asking them why they did not understand and have faith that the Word given to them, GUARANTEED their safe crossing and reaching the other side.
Not understanding WHAT God speaks to us can lead us into panic, anxiety, fear and losing our faith.
Remember that when God gives a Word, challenges, temptations or trials can come against that Word.
The enemy will bring opposition so that the intended purpose of the Word is not fulfilled. This could be a healing, a breakthrough or a deliverance you have been waiting for.
We may be at a point in life where we had received the Word of God - either directly from God or through a pastor, friend, family member etc. - and suddenly find ourselves in the midst of a great trial. We thought since we received a prophetic word, it was going to be a smooth ride across. But instead we are faced with challenges, making us sorrowful and fearful.
It may be that we have not fully grasped the meaning of that Word which was given to us.
We listened and heard correctly, but we did not understand it correctly.
It is this lack of understanding that the enemy uses against you, so that the Word does not take root for you to hold onto, and gain your victory and see the fulfillment.
When we fully grasp the meaning of what God speaks to us, it takes root inside us and in turn our faith becomes activated, and that one Word will be enough for us to hold onto and anchor ourselves, no matter the intensity and magnitude of the storm. For the disciples, that one Word was – “Let us cross over to the other side” – and that should have been enough for them to hold onto and look at the storm and declare that they WILL reach the other side. They themselves could have rebuked the wind and the waves in Jesus’ name and the storm would have been still.
Today, if you are facing a challenge where you feel stuck in the middle of a trial with no way of going forward or backward, I urge you to shift your focus by remembering and thinking of all the promises and prophecies that were given and spoken over you. Meditate upon them so that you start understanding the intended meaning of what God said to you. Meditate as long as it’s needed so that the Word goes down into you and takes root- deep enough that you will not be shaken
And be not afraid - exercising your faith is a process and God is not waiting to whack you if you are not able to immediately gain victory. If you notice, even though the disciples panicked thinking they were going to die in spite of the Word that was given, their lack of faith did NOT stop Jesus from helping them in their time of need. He got up and calmed the storm.
He is there with you on your boat and He is there to help you through whatever your situation is, and NOT waiting to punish you and leave you alone
He understands you and the level of faith you have.
Think about Peter when he started to walk on water after Jesus said ‘come’ (Matthew 14:28 to 31). Peter heard the Word, grasped the full meaning of it, stepped out in faith and walked over the very same thing that was trying to drown him.
But in between he shifted his focus from Jesus to the raging wind instead and thereby lost faith and began to sink.
But the most beautiful thing was that Jesus IMMEDIATELY reached out and caught him.
He immediately caught Peter
We see the Father’s heart in action. Peter was not punished for his lack of faith – he was helped. Jesus IMMEDIATELY caught him- not after some time, not after Peter drowned and not after 'Peter had time to reflect on his mistake' - but IMMEDIATELY. Jesus was not standing there to accuse or punish, but with an outstretched arm to help him.
If you make a mistake in your walk of faith during a trial, and fall down, don’t beat yourself up. Do not think that it is the end and you are going to drown.
God is never going to give up on you
Look at what Peter did. When he started to drown he did not accept it as ‘his fate’, he did not see it as ‘God’s plan for his life’ nor did he accept it as 'God punishing him' for his lack of faith. He did not stay in that place and continue to drown. And he did not try to swim back to his boat or call out to the other disciples to save him.
No, he immediately looked at Jesus his Father and cried out "Lord save me" (Matthew 14:30)
He knew WHO to look at and cry out to
Remember, no matter what anyone says, it is NOT God’s intention that you drown. He will teach you to depend on Him in the midst of your trial but it is neither His plan nor His WILL that you should fail while going through a crisis.
His face is always TOWARDS you and never away from you
His will is for you to walk OVER and ABOVE the very trial that is trying to drown you. He is there by your side to help you gain victory and above all, take you closer to Him
So take courage and always remember and remind yourself of the Father-Heart of God
Start paying close to attention to what He is saying, meditating upon it and receiving the full understanding so that it starts going deeper and take root in you.
Then you will be able to hold on to His Word and it will take you to the other side