Are You Listening?
“Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand” (Mark 4:9, NLT). Ask God to give you hearing ears and understanding.
Read ISAIAH 51:1-8
 “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn;  look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth. When I called him he was but one, and I blessed him and made him many.  The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.  “Listen to me, my people; hear me, my nation: The law will go out from me; my justice will become a light to the nations.  My righteousness draws near speedily, my salvation is on the way, and my arm will bring justice to the nations. The islands will look to me and wait in hope for my arm.  Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath; the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies. But my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail.  “Hear me, you who know what is right, you people who have my law in your hearts: Do not fear the reproach of men or be terrified by their insults.  For the moth will eat them up like a garment; the worm will devour them like wool. But my righteousness will last forever, my salvation through all generations.” Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectHow does God describe his saving activity?
“Listen to me!” indicates that people aren’t listening. Perhaps they’re preoccupied with other things, or missing the significance of what’s being said. “Listen to me” comes three times (1,4,7); “Hear me,” as well (4). What point is the speaker trying to get across? The Israelites were exiled in Babylon. Far from home, life was bleak. Humanly speaking, no improvement seemed possible. Yet God says he will comfort his people (3); he is about to save them (5); deciding to live God’s way will not be a waste of time (7,8).
In a world where God is frequently ignored and self-centeredness appears to reap rewards, I often wonder: what is the point of serving God. Am I a gullible fool who has invested his life in a fairy tale? Perhaps this weekend God is saying to me, “Listen to me, pay attention!” I need to be ready to hear what Paul says this coming week. When I come to words like, “Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later” (Rom. 8:18), will they go in one ear and out the other, or will I have ears to hear?
Try to get away from other people, music and computers, and seek God’s presence. If you want a focus, try Psalm 27:4.
Lord, help me to really hear what Your Word says, and not ignore it, but wisely put it into practice (Matt. 7:24).
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