The Importance of Hearing the Word & the Spirit, Day 10
It should go without saying that when one speaks, they do so to be heard. The same applies to God. However, when it comes to the Godhead, the consequences of not listening are eternal versus the temporal ramifications we suffer now when, for instance, we fail to hear the specifics of what our spouse wants us to pick up at the store. Jesus stated, "He who is of God hears God's words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God" (John 8:47). An ear that refuses to hear or listen to the Lord does not belong to the Lord. It can't get much clearer than that.
When a woman from the crowd cried out how blessed Mary was to have borne Jesus, His response was, "But He said, 'More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it" (Luke 11:28). So the ability to hear is characteristic of the child of God, and those who hear and keep it are blessed. Unsaid is the premise that some hear and do not keep the word, as is evident by Jesus' parable of the two sons. One said he would do the father's will; the other responded he would not. Both heard the father's request, but when it came down to it, the one who eagerly agreed failed to do the will of his father, while the one who refused did follow through (Matt.21:28-32). In this passage, Jesus speaks of those who hear the message of repentance, but the important thing is that both listened to the same message.
During His earthly ministry, only a few instances record Jesus saying, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." The word hear means to wholly grasp and think about what is being said. These four instances have to do with the following: when He speaks of the kingdom, the Parable of the Sower, which speaks to our receptivity to the Word, and the cost of following Him (Matt. 11:7-17, Matt. 13, Luke 14:25-35).* So, our ability to enter the kingdom and operate effectively in it is directly related to our ability to hear and understand.
If that were not important enough, developing a listening ear is essential for those living in the last days. Consider the seven churches of Revelation, chapters two and three. All are exhorted with the same phrase, only with a slight modification. "He who has ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." Here, it is the voice of the Spirit reiterating the warnings of Christ specifically to the church.* There are things within our individual and corporate character that must be repented of and a return to our First Love if we are to avoid becoming entrapped by the enemy and become overcomers.
In John, chapter 12, the Father speaks audibly to Christ. In verse 29, we glimpse the reaction of those gathered. Keeping in mind that some precisely heard what the Father said, "I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again," others reported only hearing thunder, while others said it was an angel speaking. Their ability to discern the voice depended upon their relationship with Christ. Who is He? Do we believe He is speaking today? If so, am I listening and keeping what He reveals through His Word?
Consider for a moment what an extraordinary privilege it is that we can hear the Creator of the Universe speaking, guiding, and directing us. The children of Israel recognized it, but their response was tragic. Deuteronomy records them saying,
"Surely the LORD our God has shown us His glory and His greatness, and we have heard His voice from the midst of the fire. We have seen this day that God speaks with man; yet he still lives. Now therefore, why should we die? For this great fire will consume us; if we hear the voice of the LORD our God anymore, then we shall die. For who is there of all flesh who has heard the voice of the living God speaking from the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived? You go near and hear all that the LORD our God may say, and tell us all that the LORD our God says to you, and we will hear and do it" (Deut. 5:24-27).
Because the voice of God struck the fear of Him into their hearts (as it should ours), they opted not to hear it at all. Instead, they preferred God speak to Moses alone. How tragic! God offered them a beautiful gift, and they were frightened by it, so they rejected it. How many of us close our ears to the Lord because what He is saying frightens us? Can I encourage you today to open your ears? He's speaking in love with an invitation to engage with Him. Won't you respond today?
*Specific lessons are archived at comingdawnministries.org in March 2021.