Listen and Learn
‘Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live.’ (Isaiah 55:2-3)
Any husband will tell you that a frequent complaint of his wife is that he doesn’t listen when she’s speaking. (It’s not really that bad, is it guys?) Not listening to our partners is bad enough; but not listening to God – well, that’s just plain stupid!
The importance of listening to God is seen in the Bible’s many exhortations to listen – and learn! - and the many warnings that we fail to listen to our loss. For example in Deuteronomy 28 Moses says ‘all these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God’ (v. 2), followed by a list of blessings and the promise that ‘if you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom’ (v. 13). But then he adds, ‘However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you’ (v. 15), and there follows a list of curses. In other words, he’s saying: listen - and learn!
But how do we listen? One of the main ways, of course, is through the Bible. But along with Scripture, God also speaks through the Spirit’s gifts (such as prophecy), the counsel of other Christians, the promptings of the Spirit in our heart, and through our circumstances. But while he’s eager for us to listen, there are some things God expressly forbids, because of their link to occult powers, including astrology (e.g. Deuteronomy 4:19; 17:2-5), consulting mediums or spiritists (e.g. Leviticus 19:31; 20:6), divination of any sort (e.g. Deuteronomy 18:10-12; 2 Kings 21:6) and magic (e.g. Ezekiel 13:18-20; Acts 8:9-13). Many ‘New Age’ practices fall within these bounds, so beware of them. They may sound ‘spiritual’, but they don’t come from God.
In one way or another, take time to listen to God today – and in listening, learn.
Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. (Proverbs 8:34)
Copyright © 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont
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