Thursday, March 1, 2018

Develop an Ear For God

Which is harder, to hear God’s guidance, or to obey His direction? 

If Jesus were to come into your room at night and give you firm direction, you would probably obey without question. But what if He spoke to you in that still, small voice? (1Kings 19:12) Then you could argue that it may not have been God, it may have been my own thoughts, or it might have been the enemy trying to confuse me.

We must all develop an ear to hear God often and clearly, even when He speaks in that still small voice. That still small voice tends to get drowned out by all of the noise around us.

Learning to listen

How well you listen to your spouse, neighbor or friends is an indicator of how well you listen to God. How you listen to others is exactly how you will listen to God. The key to hearing God clearly is learning to listen. You can begin practicing by listening to others.

One of the most loving and healing human acts is also one of the easiest to accomplish. That is listening - not advising or coaching, but sincerely, silently, and fully listening. If you love your spouse or neighbor as you love yourself, you will listen to them. If you love God with all your, heart, mind, and strength, you will listen to Him. There is no greater expression of love than to listen to somebody else. When you listen, you are laying down your life and your agenda to listen and help them reach their agenda.

Listening creates relationships; it helps us connect with others. It values what they have to say. Listening is one of the clearest signs of deep, genuine spirituality.

Some may believe that God no longer speaks to His people, and if you don’t believe He still speaks the odds of hearing Him are pretty slim. At times we may not want to hear. If we hear God speaking to us, we may be required to respond. If we know it is God we have no wiggle room. If there is a doubt in our mind, then we can make excuses. We may not want Him to get too close. When God had given the Ten Commandments, Moses invited the people to come forth to hear His voice. But the people refused (Exodus 20:19-20). But, God can and will break through our blinders and communicate with us regardless of our reasons.

We Need to Hear

When Jesus was asked which was the greatest commandment in the law, He responded;

“Hear O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one. ‘and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. This is the first commandment” (Mark 12:29-30).

Jesus then adds another commandment not found in the Shema but taken from Leviticus 19:18;
 “And the second, like it is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:31) Jesus responded by citing the Shema and the Vaharta, the main prayers of the Jewish faith, found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9.

In the Old Testament, the word for “Hear” or “listen,” is Shema. Shema includes hearing but has a further understanding of obeying the words heard. Obedient hearing brings blessing (Proverbs 8:34), while judgment comes against the refusal to listen.

Zechariah 7:12-13 (NKJV) Yes, they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the words which the LORD of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Thus great wrath came from the LORD of hosts. Therefore it happened, that just as He proclaimed and they would not hear, so they called out and I would not listen," says the LORD of hosts.

In New Testament usage, the Greek term akouo also refers to the simple hearing and obedience but is often used to denote hearing with faith. (Romans 10:17; Galatians 3:2, 5; 1Thessalonians 2:13). The expectation is that when the gospel is heard it will be responded to in faith and submission. The refusal to listen is considered to be disobedience (John 8:47);

 "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it." Luke 11:28 (NIV)

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