For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions (2 Tim. 4:3 ESV).
The scripture teaches us that the time is coming when people will no longer want sound teaching but will having itching ears and look for teachers that suit that own passions. I am sure it is as plain to you as it is to me that verse is no longer looking into the future but instead describing the present to us! That time is already here!
What are itching ears? The context of the verse above gives us the different facets of this intriguing description. First, itching ears means people will be eager and hungry to hear things, which sadly, are not the truth but what they want to hear. They will not stand sound teaching. Verse 4 says they “ will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Tim. 4:4 ESV).
Do these things sound familiar to you? There is a kind of message that appeals to the masses. The majority might have a huge appetite for it. They have itching ears. For example, if you tell them God commands us to repent and turn away from our sins, you will lose membership. Tell them you have a word from God about their prosperity and breakthroughs. Tell them God accepts them even in their sin and make them comfortable in their ungodliness. You will see your membership list skyrocket.
The prophet Isaiah almost graphically depicts these days with the words in Isa. 30:10: “Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits” (KJV). The people were telling the prophets not to speak to them the true word of God but to prophecy unto them “smooth things.” Yes, smooth things!
Beware of the itching ear syndrome. Crave the pure and sincere Word of God. It will build you up. Sometimes, it will not encourage but correct and rebuke you. It may sometime even discipline you! Itching ears only want “smooth things,” and broad is undoubtedly the way that leads to destruction.
Can you see all the things God’s Word does in our lives in 2 Tim. 3:16?
APPLY THE WORD
The Word is not a buffet table for us to choose what we want. Receive the entirety of the ministry of the Word and stay away from the snare of itching ears.
Pray fervently for your life and the Church at large, that we will not develop itching ears for “smooth things” but for the unadulterated Word of God.