I wish I had a nickel for every time I asked my children or my students to “listen.”
I knew they could hear me but I wanted them to “listen” to me because listening also includes…
- Paying attention.
- Considering (thinking about) what was heard.
- Following instructions or obeying.
Hearing can simply be passively taking in sound.
Listening is actively paying attention to that sound.
And active listening strives to understand and internalize what is being heard.
A good relationship requires two active listeners because truly getting to KNOW someone requires active listening.
And if we want a close relationship with God we need to “listen” to Him.
In Psalm 81, God instructs His people to LISTEN.
My people, listen. I am warning you.Psalm 81:8a (NCV)
If you have children, I’m guessing you’ve said, “Listen, I’m warning you.”
Because you love your children and you want them to know that there will be consequences to not listening.
God loves His children. He always has and He always will.
This Psalm begins with a word of thanks and praise . . . a holiday hymn celebrating the Exodus from Egypt.
Why would God inspire the writer of this hymn to give a warning about listening in the middle of a holiday hymn?
Because He knows that we all have a foolish tendency to wander off and go our own way. So, He said…
Israel, please listen to me!Psalm 81:8b, 13 (NCV)
I wish my people would listen to me;
I wish Israel would live my way.
That’s parental love, isn’t it? Please listen to me. I wish you would listen to me. I want your life to be happy and blessed. I don’t want you to have to live out the consequences of your choices.
So, let’s listen to God in ways that can change our lives…
- Pray – ask God to speak through His Word.
- Sit quietly and listen for what the Spirit imprints on your heart.
- Pray for discernment and continue to read the Word to affirm the Spirit’s guidance.
- Ask God for the strength to trust and obey Him.
- Thank and Praise Him for His perfect parental love.
Let’s listen to God to grow in wisdom and learn His will.
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.2 Timothy 3:16
Let’s listen to God to trust and obey Him with child-like faith and love.
“Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.”Luke 18:16
A Prayer to Faithfully Listen to God
Father, As Jesus taught the crowds about Your tremendous love and Your heart for people, He often said, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” Listening is so much more than simply processing sound. Truly listening is taking to heart and applying what we hear, what You say, to life.
Oh, Father, how often I’ve been guilty of hearing Your Word without applying it to my heart. How many times I have followed the crowd without trusting Your promises. I am so sorry. Please forgive me.
Again and again, You have told Your people to listen to You. Please help me. I want to truly LISTEN. I want to FOLLOW You, my Shepherd, trusting that Your ways are good and that You want only the best for me now and eternally.
By the power of Your Spirit, please help me SEEK Your will through Your commands and promises. Help me to “be still and KNOW” Your heart. Help me discern Your plans and purposes for me. Help me TRUST and OBEY You that I might shine the light of Your love in ways that give You glory.
Thank You for forgiving me and for covering me with Your grace, mercy, and love. You are my perfect Father. I give myself to You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
“Blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.”
“If you love me you will keep my commands.”Luke 11:28 and John 14:15
Listening is taking what we hear and taking it to heart. When a parent tells a child to “listen,” they’re instructing them to do what they have been told to do. And they warn them to listen and obey because they know it will be good for them.
So, may we take God’s Word to heart and apply it. May we listen and follow, trust and obey knowing that our Heavenly Father will faithfully care for us with His perfect love.
God bless you as you listen to the One who loves you more than you can imagine. The One who wants you to listen.
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