Summary: People tend to listen only to what they want to hear. Why do we do that to God and how can we learn to listen when He speaks?
People have a tendency to listen only to what they want to listen to…
Keith Downing shared a story about his Uncle Dick. Apparently his uncle noticed that every time he ate his favorite food, chitlins, his foot pained him immensely that evening. The family physician confirmed his suspicion of pork-induced gout, and when my uncle returned home from the doctor’s office, my aunt asked him how the appointment had gone. Uncle Dick plopped off his shoes and replied, "The doctor said I’m going to have gout about 3 times a week."
APPLY: People have a tendency to listen only to what they want to hear. The Bible even tells us that. God’s Word informs us that "The heart is deceitful above all things."
In Ezekiel, God complained that "these people have ears to hear but they never hear eyes to see, but they never see" (12:2).
But God knew people would be like that… and so repeatedly thru scripture you can hear God say: "Listen to me! Listen to me!"
· Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day,
that you may learn them, and keep, and do them
· Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.
· Hear, O Israel the word which the LORD speaks unto you
· Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak…
and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth
· JESUS SAID: My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me
· JESUS SAID: He that has ears, let him hear.
Why does God want us to listen?
· Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey/ so that it may go well with you
· Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will
make an everlasting covenant with you, [even] the sure mercies of David
What God’s saying is = I want to bless you. I want to give you what your heart desires… BUT I can’t if you won’t listen.
Now let’s review…
1. God wants us to hear His voice
2. And God wants us to hear His voice because that’s the only way we’ll receive all the blessings He wants to give us
3. But we struggle with this because our hearts are deceitful (that is, we hear only what we want to hear, and we tend to put our priorities above His)
Even the most righteous do this occasionally because even the most righteous has a deceitful heart. How do we heal the deceitful heart? How do we protect ourselves from this disease and open ourselves up to the full blessings God wants to place in our lives?
1st look with me to I Samuel 3:3-4
"The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was. Then the LORD called Samuel. Samuel answered, ’Here I am.’"
Where was Samuel when God 1st called his name? He was lying down in the Temple of the Lord where the Ark was.
Now, I believe that every word of Scripture is there for a reason. For example, in this passage, God could simply have said: “Samuel was sleeping” BUT God goes into detail. It’s as if God is saying: "I want you to know WHERE Samuel was sleeping."
If I’m right, why would God give us these details? I believe it was because God wanted us to see that when Samuel heard God’s voice he was sleeping NEXT to God. In Other Words: Proximity is critical: If you’re gonna hear – you’ve gotta be near.
James 4:8 tells us "Draw near to God and he will draw near to you."
ILLUS: My wife & I will be in the Dining room and she’ll be sharing something she feels is important. I, however, don’t like to just sit around and listen. I’ve got to be doing something – straightening the furniture, straightening the desk. I’ll even drift into the kitchen and begin putting away dishes in the dishwasher, etc. Then it might occur to me that I need to do something in the back room, or in the den (about 4 rooms away)… and she’s still talking. And she gets frustrated (pause) – go figure!
Why does my wife get frustrated? Because she knows - if I’m not in the same room – I’m probably not listening to her anymore.
If you’re going to hear God’s voice; if you’re going to know His will - you’ve got to be in the same room as He is. That’s why Church attendance is critical. That’s why Bible Study is essential. Jesus said: "Wherever two or more are gathered in my name - there I am in the midst of you."