Stubborn

Me: Good morning Holy Spirit! I am perplexed by the way You told Isaiah to deliver a message (chapter 6) that Jesus later quoted in Matthew 13 to explain why He taught in parables.

Isaiah’s Commission

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” 9 He said, “Go, and tell this people:

‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive;
Keep on looking, but do not understand.’
10 “Render the hearts of this people insensitive,
Their ears dull,
And their eyes dim,
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
Understand with their hearts,
And return and be healed.”

Jesus’ Explanation

13 Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says,

‘You will keep on hearing, but will not understand;
You will keep on seeing, but will not perceive;
15 For the heart of this people has become dull,
With their ears they scarcely hear,
And they have closed their eyes,
Otherwise they would see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart and return,
And I would heal them.’

16 But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. 17 For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

Holy Spirit: Good morning Jon! Part of the problem being addressed is willfulness. In your idiom, one might say “he didn’t want to hear it”, or some such expression implying a closed mind or heart. How does that work out in practice? The message being delivered is contrary to the belief or desire of the recipient, so he discounts it entirely.

Jesus taught in parables because they were stories that were easily remembered and contained a somewhat oblique example of the truth that He wanted to teach. This approach at least has a chance of getting past the mental defenses of the willfully disobedient to get some level of consideration. An important aspect of a parable is that it is about someone other than the hearer; it is not a direct challenge to his mistaken beliefs. Nor is is an override of the choice of the individual. He may take it or leave it; spend time musing about it, or not.

You were created with the ability to filter the information you perceive, to categorize, to make judgments as to its value and to remember what you consider important. Control of this process is mostly subconscious and is regulated by your beliefs. Filtering of information was designed to be subconscious. If it were not so, it would increase the burden instead of easing the work the attentive part of the mind must do. Taken together, your beliefs and understanding of your environment is sometimes called your worldview.

Looking inward, people have beliefs about themselves. The same filtering of perceptions takes place related to self and to one’s behavior. For example, if you believe “I’m a good person”, your are less likely to be able to determine if criticism of your behavior is valid than if you believe you are good insofar as you are submitted to the leading of Christ. No one is harder to correct than the person who is completely convinced he is right.

Me: Of course, I believe He is good, and what I do is good if it is of His leading. (Mark 10:18, John 15:5) Still, I recognize that I sometimes have a negative script running in my head. At least I may recognize it if it rises to the level of consciousness or if negative emotions get egregious enough to bring it to the forefront.

Holy Spirit: That is why the scripture tells you to be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2). And you know from the process of learning anything difficult, that takes time and repetition. You should also recognize that as you have submitted to My leading that negativity has greatly diminished over time.

Me: You could remove it in the twinkling of an eye.

Holy Spirit: My way assures that it is obvious that it is your choice.

Me: Thank You Holy Spirit! I love You!

Holy Spirit: You are welcome! I love you!

Me:
Good morning Father!
ABBA:
Good morning Jon!
Me:
We watched an old movie last night: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I found it disturbing, the inmates of the insane asylum stripped of their fundamental human rights by their keepers and afforded no dignity as those made in Your image.  It would have been different if the authorities running the institution were actually trying to help those afflicted.  But, not only that, it highlighted the ravages of Satan’s work on the mind and heart – on both sides of the institutional hierarchy. Of course You know my attempts to help my own brother and how that has worked out.  I don’t know now whether he is even alive.  But I can surely understand his fierce desire to remain independent, even if he doesn’t eat.
ABBA:
Yes, the film did not whitewash how Satan’s schemes play out in the lives of My children.  It saddens me that it is so.  That is why Jesus came to redeem.
Me:
Even though the Lamb of God has paid the price for sins, it still seems to prove unlikely that the deceived will put their faith in Him.  Except You cause them to hear and cause them to see, it seems they remain unaware of the Gift.  Maybe not unaware, in many cases, more that they are unwilling.
ABBA:
Consider this passage:

10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” 11 Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. 12 For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says,‘You will keep on hearing, but will not understand;
You will keep on seeing, but will not perceive;
15 For the heart of this people has become dull,
With their ears they scarcely hear,
And they have closed their eyes,
Otherwise they would see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart and return,
And I would heal them.’ (Quoted from Isaiah 6.)
16 But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. 17 For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. (Matthew 13)
Me:
Why, Lord?  Why has it not been granted for them to know the mysteries of the kingdom?  How do I reconcile this with the scripture that says You are not willing that any should perish? (2 Peter 3:9)


ABBA:
If I make all the Truth obviously and irrefutably plain to those who have not already chosen to embrace Me, you could not say they actually had a choice in the matter.  The plain explanations to the disciples show what it is like for those who have already decided to follow Me.  The choice comes first, then the revelation.  I Am not willing that any should perish.  But I choose to keep My desire subjugated to the choice of the individual.  I do know the end from the beginning.  I could have chosen to give you no choice.  I desired that those who love Me do so of their own free will. Nothing short of that actually fits My definition of love.
As far as reconciling the scripture, if your foundation is the knowledge that I Am the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, you will suspect that the passage in the Greek is much more nuanced than the English translation shows.  Isaiah’s prophecy sheds more light.  The people do not hear because of their hearts.  They close their eyes.  Is that not a voluntary act?

Me:
Thank You Father!  I am grateful for Your patient explanations!  I love you!
ABBA:
You are welcome!  I love you!