Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil, See No Evil
“But I am like a deaf man; I do not hear, like a mute man who does not open his mouth. I have become like a man who does not hear, and in whose mouth are no rebukes. But for you, O Lord, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.” (Psalm 38:13-15 ESV)
You may be familiar wth the concept of an ancient Japenese saying, “mizaru, kikazaru, iwazaru”. It literally means, “don’t see, don’t hear, don’t speak”. This concept is often Illustrated with “The Three Mystic Apes”: “See No Evil” with hands over eyes; “Hear no evil” with hands over ears; and “Speak No Evil” with hands over mouth.
David struggled with the significant sufferings of his sin. Many feel that Psalm 38 was written during David’s detour of disobedience. David writes, “O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath!” (Ps 38:1) In “The Teasury of David”, Spurgeon writes of the shepherd King, “Rebuked I must be, for I am an erring child and thou a careful Father, but throw not too much anger into the tones of thy voice; deal gently although I have sinned grievously.”
David combatted the physical, emotional, spiritual and social consequences of his own convicting evil. By God’s mercy, David memorialized his own “don’t see, don’t hear, don’t speak” message.
Hear No Evil
. It’s a challenge to ignore the cries of critics. David described himself as a “deaf man: I do not hear”
. (Ps 38:13) He chose to consciously close his ears to the attacks of his antagonizers and hear his Helper. Jesus is the encouraging Good Shepherd, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
) David wrote, “Be still, and know that I am God.”
(Ps 46:10). Andrew Wommack explains’ “It’s in stillness, not busyness, that we tune our spiritual ears to hear the voice of God. The Lord always speaks to us in that ‘still, small voice’.” (1 Kings 19:12
,) but often it’s drowned out amid all the turmoil of our daily lives.” His voice is the one we hear.
Speak No Evl. David wrote that he was, “like a mute man who does not open his mouth . . . and in whose mouth are no rebukes.” (Ps 38:13-14). Isiah foretells of the Messiah, “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth.” (Is 52:7). Peter reminds us of his eye witness account, “When He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but continued entrusting Himself to Him who judges justly.” (1 Pet 2:23). Spurgeon writes, “To abstain from self defence is often most difficult, and frequently most wise.” We don’t defend, He does.
See No Evil. David shifted his focus from the accusers to His Advocate. He writes, “But for you, O Lord, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.” (Ps 38:15). John reminds that “we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1 John 2:1) In the writings of Hebrews we are encouraged, “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” (Heb 12:2-3). We look at Him, not the evil around us.
With our critics, our detractors and our accusers . . . Hands over our ears, hands over our mouths and hands over our eyes . . . We hear Him, we praise Him, we trust Him. May God bless our deaf ears and mute mouths.