God said to Isaiah: “Go and tell this people: ‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed” (Isa. 6:9–10, NIV).
This type of judgment is articulated by Paul in Romans 1: “Since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done” (v. 28, NIV).
The worst punishment that can befall us is to be given over or abandoned to our sin by God. This anticipates God’s verdict at the final judgment: “Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile” (Rev. 22:11, NIV).
Every time God’s Word is proclaimed it changes all of those within its hearing. No one ever remains unaffected by God’s Word. To those who hear it positively, there is growth in grace. To those who reject it or are indifferent to it, calluses are added to their souls and calcium to their hearts. The eye becomes dimmer and dimmer, the ear heavier and heavier, and the mystery of the kingdom more and more obscure. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Ask God to open your ears to hear His voice, to clear your spiritual eyes, and to let you understand with your heart.