Two men were walking along a crowded city sidewalk. Suddenly, one of the men remarked: “Listen. Hear the sound of that cricket?”
But the other man couldn’t hear it. He asked his friend: “How can you hear the sound of a cricket with the roar of the traffic and the sounds of the city?”
The first man, who was a zoologist, had trained himself to hear the sounds of nature. He didn’t explain to his friend how he could hear the cricket. Instead he reached into his pocket, pulled out a half-dollar coin, and dropped it onto the sidewalk.
Quickly several people began to look for the coin as they heard it clanking amid the sounds of the traffic.
He turned to his friend and said, “We hear what we listen for.”
The word “hear” is used many times in the Bible as a plea for people to listen to God.
Before entering the promised land of Canaan, Moses often preceded his admonitions to faithfulness with the call to “Hear.” “Hear my words…” “Hear the voice of the Lord your God…” “Hear and learn…”
The Old Testament prophets frequently began their warnings with this refrain, “Hear O Israel…” It was a call to God’s people, to stop and listen. Consider their transgression. Reflect upon their disobedience. And discover what God wanted them to do.
Jesus often used a phrase as he concluded his teaching with an exhortation to hear. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Matt 13:9) This proverbial expression spoke to the need to pay serious attention. To take heed. To realize the importance. And to really understand and apply His words.
Oftentimes we fail to hear what the Lord is saying because it doesn’t fit our agenda. Or conform to our schedule. Or reinforce our own preconceived notions.
Really hearing what Jesus says requires an open mind. A willing heart. And a humble spirit. We must have a longing to hear God’s will. A love for God’s Truth. And a desire to allow Him to work in our lives.
In the practical book of James, as he addresses issues of Christian living, He commands, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (Jas. 1:19). Like Samuel of old, I should always be willing to say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.” My relationship with God will greatly improve, when I quit questioning, quit doubting and give up my anger when things don’t my way.”
Of course, God doesn’t speak us today through prophets, inspired apostles, or miraculous means. God speaks to us today through His Son, Jesus Christ (Heb 1:1-2). And Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to reveal His word to the apostles (John 16:13 who wrote it down. Paul said that when we read it, we can understand God’s message for us. (Eph 3:3-5).
When I open the Bible I hear Jesus say, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:16). And when I really listen with an open mind, I hear what to do be saved. How to treat other people. How He wants me to worship. What my purpose on earth is. And what my eternal destiny will be.
Rid yourself of obstacles and barriers to hearing God’s voice. You can, if you train yourself.
What are you listening for?
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman