OCTOBER 25, 2017
The Word: LISTEN
“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching” (Proverbs 1:8).
Being born and raised in New York City, Teddy loved two things. He loved to sing in his church’s choir, and he loved his work as a certified heavy equipment operator for the city. Unfortunately, he began to experience hearing loss. His wife would be speaking and he would shout. “Honey, I can’t hear you—speak up!”
Pat replied. “Theodore! I’m shouting at the top of my lungs.”
Pat remembered the day Teddy graduated first in his class with honors from the community college. Job offers came in to him from all over the New York Metropolitan Area. Within a matter of weeks, he was employed. Teddy got his dream job. But now after working for more than 20 years, his dream job had taken its toll with this hearing loss.
Teddy begin to sing louder and louder in the church’s choir on Sunday mornings. Singing his favorite song, “Amazing Grace” became an amazing problem to congregation. Instead of hurting Teddy’s feelings, the choir director gradually asked Teddy to sing less and less until he decided to step down from singing in the choir completely. Crushed and deeply embarrassed, Teddy decided to search the Bible for an answer to his hearing problem.
As he was reading late one Saturday night preparing for Sunday morning worship, his Bible inadvertently fell open to Proverbs 1:8, which said, “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” Immediately, Teddy realized that he was not having a hearing problem; he was having a listening problem.
For many years he decided to do what he wanted to do. He never asked for God’s directions for his life. If he wanted to do something, he just did it. He never took time to get on his knees and open up the Scriptures to find out what the Holy Spirit of God wanted him to do with his life. He felt that he was his own man. As his own man, he didn’t need to be whining to God about what he needed to do. In a flash, Teddy realized why he lost his hearing. He realized that he never asked God for the type of job God wanted him to have. He just did what he wanted to do.
Finally, Teddy came to a profound understanding of the unique and distinctive difference between “hearing” and “listening.” Once he sincerely and humbly read Proverbs 1:8, God opened the eyes of his heart to realize that hearing speaks to the human head, whereas listening speaks to and penetrates the human heart. Teddy’s Christian life was taken to a new level of sincere obedience to God on that late Saturday evening. God spoke to him through the written Word, and he was able to listen and not just hear from the Living Word—the Lord Jesus Christ.
Far too many of us suffer from having spiritual hearing problems because we have a spiritual listening problem. Listening to and obeying the voice of Almighty God is critical. That is why hearing and listening is as distinctly different as night and day. Let us never forget that God is speaking but are we listening to His “every last word”.
It is my prayer that God’s Word will be driven deeper and deeper into the secret places of our hearts…places where you and I do not feel comfortable in inviting strangers to enter—not even the dearest of friends, companions, or loved ones. These are the hidden places where God desires to reign as “Lord of all” in our lives. But why are we to listen to God? Proverbs tells us clearly, “So that we might be instructed not only by our earthly fathers and mothers but really by our eternal Father in heaven.”
This is when the Wisdom of Heaven is imparted to us, but we must listen. We must still ourselves in the quiet and tranquil places of human existence and rest totally in the arms of our loving and compassionate heavenly Father. He’s waiting on us. Listen and learn how to know His distinct voice. God is speaking. Are you listening?.
“It is amazing that God speaks to us. However, to hear Him we must, of course, be quiet and listen.”
Jesus, teach us how to not simply hear Your Voice, but to listen and do what You have commanded us to do for Your Glory. Lord, we need Your wisdom. Christ, I desire Your way and not my way. This is my prayer in Christ’s Name. Amen.
Devotional taken from Today’s WORD: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times by Robert F. Loggins Sr.