Poor listening is often the first step to apostasy!
In Matthew 10:14-15 JESUS says, “14 And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. 15 Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the Day of Judgment than for that city!
If we do not listen as we should then we are judging ourselves unworthy of eternal life (Acts 13:44-49). The men of Nineveh repented after hearing just one lesson from Jonah. Will we reject The Gospel of JESUS CHRIST after being given so many opportunities?
Hopefully, we appreciate the wonderful opportunities we have just to be able to listen to GOD'S Word, and the importance of good listening!
How can we improve our ability to listen? The same way speakers need to learn to speak so as to be understood, people need to learn to listen so as to understand!
How you listen to GOD'S Word being read, or preached, is as much an indication of your devotion to GOD as to how you pray or sing to and for HIM.
So when you have opportunities to listen, do it with "a worshipful attitude".
Think of how you would listen if some famous person were speaking. Imagine your focus, or the absorbed attention if you were listening to some famous person speak on a topic you are passionate about.
Now think, doesn’t GOD'S Word deserve as much attention as we give to sports games, reality television, court tv, text messages, game shows, parties, our friends, family, even our pets get more attention than GOD'S Word gets on a daily basis. And I am preaching to myself here as well Beloved.
Not only do we need to focus and pay attention when listening to The Word of GOD, but we need to pay attention all the way through, from start to finish.
Do you expect to understand a novel by simply reading a sentence here and there? Do you go to the movies and just watch bits and pieces of it? When you get a text on your phone, do you read the first and last sentence only??
And, so it is with listening... sentences, phrases and words all need to be understood clearly, so they must be heard in the very context in which they are presented.
Speakers must follow certain rules of speech so they can be understood:
a. Introduce the subject
b. Present main points with supporting arguments
c. Conclude with a summary
So listeners must listen to all the parts the speaker presents in order to truly understand what is being said. Try looking directly at the speaker, this greatly helps with your concentration. Looking elsewhere makes it easy for your mind to wander while closing your eyes makes it easy for you to nod off!
Pay Attention! This requires self-discipline, but it is helpful to developing a longer attention span. Try it, and see if it doesn't make a difference! When the speaker is reading from The Bible, follow along and read in your own Bible the very words being spoken. You remember more of what you both see and hear over what you just hear, which is why visual aids are often used in lessons and speeches. But the greatest visual aid, for listening to the Bible, is your own Bible!
Your knowledge of the Scriptures will also greatly improve by doing this. It may be hard at first to keep up, but persevere and it will soon become easier. We encourage children to learn by doing this, shouldn't adults provide an example and do the same? We have to listen with a willingness to accept and believe what is shown in GOD'S Word.
Notice, in Hebrews 4:1-2, that those who died in the wilderness did not listen with Faith! If we don't listen "with Faith," the same sort of thing will happen to us, we will fall short of our Heavenly rest!
We must also listen with a mind to act on what GOD'S Word demands of us. Or are we like the people in Ezekiel's day? They loved to hear him, but for the wrong reason.
Ezekiel 33:30-32 says, 30 “As for you, son of man, the children of your people are talking about you beside the walls and in the doors of the houses; and they speak to one another, everyone saying to his brother, ‘Please come and hear what the word is that comes from the LORD.’ 31 So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain. 32 Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them.
Do we love to hear lessons because of how well the speaker presents them? Hearing must be accompanied by doing if it is going to be of any profit, to be of any good to us.
As important as good listening may be, the Blessings come only if we are do’ers as well as hearers! To be Blessed in what we do, which is my goal in presenting these thoughts on listening, all begins with listening in the proper way.
How important, then, is listening? When it comes to listening to GOD, it is very important!
Isaiah 55:2-3 ~ 2 Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. 3 Incline your ear, and come to Me. hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you.
So listening is essential for the good of our soul!
Is there ever a time when GOD does not listen? Yes, there is. When our sins are between us and HIM. Isaiah 59:1-2 ~ 1 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. 2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.
But we can take care of that problem by receiving GOD'S Mercy. In Isaiah 55:6-7 it says, “6 Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.
Today, that Mercy is offered through JESUS CHRIST, our GOD that Loved us so much that HE robed HIMSELF in flesh to come to Earth to die for our iniquities.
Have you heeded HIM by obeying HIS Word?
Or does the following cry of JESUS apply to you?
"But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46)