Can the One Who Made the Ear…Not Hear…

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“Can the one who made the ear, not hear? Can he who formed the eye not see” (Psalm 94:9)? These are appropriate questions in the context of this psalm. It is the lament of an individual who is threatened by wicked people. The psalmist calls on God as judge. He prays for God’s help against those who threaten him personally, and especially against those who threaten the holy community from within.

As is true with all of scripture, this psalm has the ring of familiarity to us today. The Christian community today is still under threat from both without and from within. Those who attack the faith from without, are more than willing to oppress Christianity. In fact, it has been said by many great minds that last acceptable prejudice in our society today is that which is against the Church. Indeed, it is often considered a sign of one’s sophistication and supposed intellectual superiority to make snide, deprecating jokes about Christians and Christianity today. Your can see this on television in both comedies and dramas, or on the “late night shows.” It is considered “entertainment.” You can see this prejudice in all of its virulent forms on the various social media platforms. What is said about religion, and in particular, Christianity, is often charged with outright hatred, maliciousness, and threat. There is a clear and revealing arrogance in so much of this content too.

But, as painful as those exterior threats are, the more subtle, soft, or cloying internal threats to the faith are the ones that hurt the most. There are those within the faith today who challenge, or even deny every tradition and doctrine of the faith, with doey, tear filled eyes, wailing over how unjust the Church has been in the past, or is now in the present. They keep telling us that we have to leave the “stodgy,” old ways of the past, that we need to “modernize the faith,” to “make it more relevant” to our own times. They are the heretics of our day. Most of the time they are merely repackaged. or re-marketed versions of the many ancient heresies that cropped up from the first days of the history of Christianity.

We, like the psalmist, must recognize these threats from without and within. We must know the scriptures, of course, and we must know the teachings of the Church well enough to be able to challenge and to instruct those who condemn the Church without really knowing it. But, as we know, there are somethings that are beyond us that can only be dealt with, or “driven out by prayer and fasting (Mark 9:30). The psalmist’s example here is to be heeded as well. God who made the ear, hears our suffering. He who fashioned the eye sees the transgressions of the wicked and sees their hearts, as well as those of the righteous. We must trust in God’s love, have faith in his justice toward both the wicked and the righteous. “For the Lord will not forsake his people, not abandon his inheritance. Judgment shall again be just, an all the upright of heart will follow it” (verses 14-15).

Lord, come to our aid when our faith is threatened from without, or from within. Give us courage to stay true to your word alone. Through your generous grace, make us strong in faith so that we may resist all those who attempt to lead us away from you with confidence in your faithfulness to those who love you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen!

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.