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The Scriptorium

Caveat Auditor

Listen up, listen well. Luke 8.16-18

Luke 8 Part 1 (3)

Pray Psalm 12.1, 2.
Help, LORD, for the godly man ceases!
For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.
They speak idly everyone with his neighbor;
With flattering lips and a double heart they speak.

Sing Psalm 12.1, 2.
(Hamburg: When I Survey the Wondrous Cross)
Help, Lord! The godly cease to be! They who believe in Christ are few.
Falsely the wicked confidently flatter, deceive, and mock Your truth.

Read Luke 8.1-18; meditate on verses 16-18.

1. To what does Jesus liken us in verses 16 and 17?

2. What does He warn us about in verse 18?

I think it was Little Marcy who first impressed on me Jesus’ warning, caveat auditor:

O be careful, little ears what you hear;
Yes be careful, little ears what you hear;
For the Father up above
Is looking down in love,
So be careful little ears what you hear.

Jesus’ teaching about being a careful listener begins with a metaphor. Lamps are for giving light. Light a lamp and it reveals things which were before secret and unseen. When you turn the light of God’s truth on in your soul, what does our Father up above see there? What secrets are revealed when the lamp of God’s Word (Ps. 119.105) illuminates the recesses of your soul? What have you been listening to?

Darkness and light gain access to our soul through the portals of our ears. What we hear, listen to, receive with understanding, and shelter in our soul will affect everything about us. If we listen to lies, half-truths, flattering words, or the temptations of fleshly indulgence, these will become the secret things of our soul that shape us. The lamp of God’s truth can expose all such darkness, but we need to hear that Word, over and over and day after day, and receive and embrace and cling to it.

At the same time, we need to make sure we’re not listening to the voices of our lying age that tell us to make up our own minds about this, that, or the other, or to just do whatever we feel like at any moment. They may shout their lies at us from many directions throughout the day, but that doesn’t mean we have to take them seriously. If we hear God faithfully, His Word will guard our soul with the light of truth.

Shelter daily in the Word of our Father up above, and the lies of this world will have no power to deceive and destroy you.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
The truth that Little Marcy proclaimed is even older than she; although that seems hard to believe. Who doesn’t remember singing along with this song? And being a little afraid?

But way back, long ago, Moses said, “The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear…” And then God added, “I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him” (Deut. 18.15, 18, 19). Jesus is the Prophet of God we are to hear, and if we do not carefully hear Him, God will look down and see it.

God is intent upon searching our hearts and winnowing out what shouldn’t be there. “The spirit of a man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all the inner depths of his heart” (Prov. 20.27). Yes please, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps. 139.23, 24).

Jesus proclaimed, “For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light” (Lk. 8.17); and long before that, the LORD God said, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings” (Jer. 17.9, 10).

Along with our little ears, our little eyes, little hands, and little feet are to be careful what they hear, see, do, and where they go: for the Father up above is looking down in love. And because He is, then we should be very careful about how we are showing Him that we love Him, too. Hear Him. Carefully do what He says.

And just to include our Personal Mission Field, we have Paul’s words that remind us of our responsibility to others. “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Rom. 10.14).

“How beautiful are the [careful] feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” (Rom. 10.15). And the careful ears, eyes, and hands that love and serve Him in the light of His Word. 

For reflection
1. How would you counsel new believers to guard their ears against false teachings?

2. What would you suggest as a good way of regularly shining the light of God’s lamp on the recesses of your soul?

3. How does the Word of God function as a lamp to your path?

We ought to take heed of the things that will hinder our profiting by the word we hear; to take heed lest we hear carelessly and slightly, lest we entertain prejudices against the word we hear; and to take heed to our spirits after we have heard the word, lest we lose what we have gained. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Luke 8.16-18

Pray Psalm 12.3-8
Pray that God will stop the mouths of liars and that He will guard you from being led astray by false teachings. Commit yourself to sheltering in His Word for all the work of this day.

Sing Psalm 12.3-8.
(Hamburg: When I Survey the Wondrous Cross)
Stop, Lord, the lips that utter lies, all those who speak with boasting tongue!
See how Your holy Word they despise, while their own praises they have sung.

Rise up, O Lord, and rescue all Your precious children sore distressed.
Save those who faithfully on You call; grant them deliv’rance, peace, and rest.

Your words are pure and proven true, like silver seven times refined.
You will preserve Your Word ever new, and keep the heart to You inclined.

Proudly the wicked strut and stand; Your indignation builds on high.
Men may exalt their wicked plans, but You will judge them by and by.

T. M. and Susie Moore

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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