Recently, while I was changing the batteries in my hearing aids, I began to think of the value of good and effective hearing and how difficult it must be for those who have a serious hearing impairment. The gift of hearing, like so many other things in life, can easily be taken for granted, until we lose it, or it deteriorates. As with all God given gifts, we should never fail to thank Him for the faculties of our mind and body, because we are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 138:14).
Poor hearing is not only an inconvenience to both hearer and speaker alike, but it can be dangerous if an audible warning is missed. Although some words heard incorrectly could have a humorous outcome, others could result in serious consequences, if important decisions were to be made on the wrong interpretation of a word.
Throughout Scripture, God’s desire has been to communicate with mankind, and He uses many ways to do so (Hebrews 1:1). For those who are listening He is still speaking today. His word the Bible is the primary source for hearing God’s voice. Other ways He uses to communicate are circumstances, people, creation, and the Holy Spirit speaking directly into our hearts. And these are just some of the ways He uses.
We live in a world which is becoming noisier, with so many sounds demanding our attention. For many it is increasingly more challenging to find that ‘place of quiet rest’ the hymn writer refers to. It is a place where we can stop and listen to what God is saying and what He has on His heart for us. But it is also true that to hear is one thing, but to listen and pay attention to what is said is quite another.
In these days it is so important that we are careful about what and whom we listen to. With the Holy Spirit’s help, we must be discerning about what is helpful and what isn’t. We also need the Holy Spirit’s help to ensure that our ‘spiritual ears’ are clear and that there are no obstructions, contaminations or distortions which could affect our ability to hear those things which are wholesome and beneficial. We need to be aware that wrong attitudes, resentment, unconfessed sin, bitterness, pride and unforgiveness in our lives can prevent us from hearing God’s word.
Jesus encouraged His listeners to consider carefully what they heard (Mark 4:24). The apostle Paul warned Timothy that there would be those who would only want to listen to what their itching ears want to hear and so they would turn from the truth (2 Timothy 4:4).
May each one of us be ready, willing (and able) to receive and respond to the voice of God when He speaks to us.
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