Monday, February 23, 2009
Hearing Versus Listening
I was visiting with my hubby the other day, and told him that I'd noticed something new in Ezekiel. Here it is. . .
God, speaking about his people, makes quite a distinction between "hearing" and "listening."
Instinctively, this is something every wife understands. We try to talk to our husbands over the children's noise, with the TV blaring in the background, the phone ringing, and the microwave beeping and then we wonder why they forget what we say.
We know that there is a vital (the root of the word comes from LIFE-giving) difference between hearing and listening. God knows it too.
In Ezekiel, God complains that his people heard the truth, but they didn't consider it. They didn't take it in, roll it around in their minds and hearts. They didn't try to ask questions, understand it, relate it to the things they already knew, and finally to apply it. Instead, like our husbands after a busy day at work, they let God's instructions go in one ear and out the other.
Women do it too, by the way.
And then this morning I found this. Jesus speaking in John 8 says this: "Anyone whose Father is God listens gladly to the words of God."
Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees and teachers of religious law. They were men and women who knew the Word. They'd memorized it. They understood it. They obeyed it, quite perfectly.
But they hadn't let it sink into the deepest places of their heart. It hadn't changed them from the inside out. Instead, they'd only let God's word in as far as their superficial behaviors. They'd conformed, but they hadn't changed.
So, I ask you. Do you hear or listen to God? Do you think there is a difference? Do you listen gladly to God's word? Do you let it sink into the deepest reaches of your heart? Do you let it change you, or conform you?
Are you changed?