Important aspect of spiritual growth:
Moses summoned all Israel and said:
Hear, O Israel, the decrees and the laws I declare in your hearing today. Learn them and be sure to follow them. – Deuteronomy 5:1
The people had entered into a covenant with God, and Moses commanded them to hear, learn, and follow his statutes. Christians also have entered into a covenant with God (through Jesus Christ) and should be responsible to what God expects. Moses’ threefold command to the Israelites is excellent advice for all God’s followers. Hearing is absorbing and accepting information about God. Learning is understanding its meaning and implications. Following is putting into action all we have learned and understood. All three parts are essential to a growing relationship with God.
May prevent you from acting wrongly:
She fell at his feet and said: “My lord, let the blame be on me alone. Please let your servant speak to you; hear what your servant may say. – 1 Samuel 25:24
David was in no mood to listen when he set out for Nabal’s property (25:13, 22). Nevertheless, he stopped to hear what Abigail had to say. If he had ignored her, he would have been guilty of taking vengeance into his own hands. No matter how right we think we are, we must always be careful to stop and listen to others. The extra time and effort can save us pain and trouble in the long run.
Are you listening to opinions of others:
David conferred with each of his officers, the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds. – 1 Chronicles 13:1
David took time to confer with all his officers. As king, he had ultimate authority and could have given orders on his own, but he chose to involve others in leadership. Perhaps this is why there was unanimous support for his decisions (13:1-5). When we are in charge, it is tempting to make unilateral decisions, pushing through our own opinions. But effect leaders listen carefully to others’ opinions. Of course, we should always consult God first. We can run into big problems if we don’t talk to him (see the note on 13:10).
God is listening to you:
Hear me, O God, as I voice my complaint;
protect my life from the threat of the enemy.
Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked,
from that noisy crowd of evildoers. – Psalm 64:1-2
We may believe that God wants to hear only certain requests from us. While it is true that we should offer praise, confession, and respectful petitions, it is also true that God is willing to listen to anything we want to tell him. David expressed himself honestly, knowing that God would hear his voice. God will always listen to us, and he will fully understand what we say.
With the mind and heart:
Then Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” – Mark 4:9
We hear with our ears, but there is a deeper kind of listening with the mind and heart that is necessary in order to gain spiritual understanding from Jesus’ words. Some people in the crowd were looking for evidence to use against Jesus; others truly wanted to learn and grow. Jesus’ words were for the honest seekers.
Must be followed by obedience:
But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete. – Luke 6:49
Why would people build a house without a foundation? Perhaps to save time and avoid the hard work of preparing a stone foundation. Possibly because the waterfront scenery is more attractive or because beach houses have higher social status than cliff houses. Perhaps because they want to join their friends who have already settled in sandy areas. Maybe because they haven’t heard about the violent storms coming, or because they have discounted the reports, or for some reason they think disaster can’t happen to them. Whatever their reason, those with no foundation are shortsighted, and they will be sorry. When you find yourself listening but not obeying, what are your reasons?
How to listen to Christ:
We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. – Hebrews 2:1-3
The author called his readers to pay attention to the truth they had heard so that they wouldn’t drift away into false teachings. Paying careful attention is hard work. It involves focusing our minds, bodies, and senses. Listening to Christ means not merely hearing, but also obeying (see James 1:22-25). We must listen carefully and be ready to carry out his instructions.
Important part of communication:
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. – James 1:19 *
When we talk too much and listen too little, we communicate to others that we think our ideas [mathematics] are much more important than theirs. James wisely advises us to reverse this process. Put a mental stopwatch on your conversations and keep track of how much you talk and how much you listen. When people talk to you, do they feel that their viewpoints and ideas have value?
©Dodgsons, KingsWay 1973.