Deaf Doesn't Know It

A person can be spiritually deaf but doesn't know it. What we don't hear can be more important than what we do.

Sin deafens us. In Psalm 51:8 David addresses his deafness. "Let me hear joy and gladness."

The reason David cannot hear joy and gladness is that he is banished from worship in the Temple. He is unclean (v. 10). The man after God's own heart is now an outsider (v. 11). His desire for restored joy (v. 12) is not only spiritual but practical. He needs reconciliation with God and permission to reenter the sanctuary where he can hear the sounds of joy and gladness again.

The Deaf Worshiper

Have you ever gone deaf to worship? I have. Allow me to describe it. See if this sounds familiar.

There was a time in which you enjoyed reading the Bible. It was hard to understand, but it was like digging for a treasure you know is there. But now, it's boring. 

There was a time in which you enjoyed gathering with God's people and singing the songs of faith. But now the songs don't suit you; and by the way, why does the guitar player wear sandals on stage?

The sermons were like being spoon-fed from a buffet. You were so grateful for them as your faith is informed. But now you realize that the preacher has problems. Perhaps if you would point them out to others, they could fix him. 

You were willing to serve. You felt as if the most meager thing you could do for the Lord was a reasonable offering to bring. But now every Sunday is too much to ask. Isn't Sunday supposed to be the day of rest? 

And it all makes sense in your mind. Your arguments are valid. Your concerns are warranted. But what is it that you don't hear? You no longer hear joy and gladness. Instead, it is boredom, aggravation, distraction.

The problem is not the guitar player's sandals, nor the songs, nor the sermons. The problem is sin. Why is it that you are deaf to joy and gladness? 

The Only Broken Thing We Can Bring

The good news is that God heals the spiritually deaf. Notice in Psalm 51:17-19 David expresses what he has learned about true worship in his brokenness. "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise."

The beauty of this verse is that in Old Testament worship, nothing broken was allowed before God. You could not sacrifice a blemished lamb. The sacrifices had to be perfect.

But while he was on the outside, David realized that he's never really been on the inside (v. 16). He realized that there is only one broken thing he can bring before God - himself. 

David's acknowledgment of his brokenness and God healed his deafness (51:16-19).

Do you hear gladness and rejoicing? If not, come broken in confession. Receive God's forgiveness. Find healing for your deafness.

Bible Study

Read Psalm 51:13-19

  • List the truths of this passage concerning worship.
  • What are the commands to be obeyed?
  • What are the promises to be believed?


What is it you don't hear? Think about the area in your life where you are most critical. Is it your home? Work? Church? School? Why don't you hear joy and gladness there? Sure, there may be lots of problems and issues, but are there sinful things you are bringing into the situation either by attitude or action? Use Psalm 51 and pray through those things as a confession. Journal how God begins to bring joy and gladness back into those areas of your life.

Other posts from this week:

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