Summary: Listening is important in communication. If you don’t hear what another person is saying you will not communicate with them. Hearing is not the same as listening and obeying. What are some of the ways we as Christians can learn to listen to,and obey t
A country boy went to visit a friend in New York City. It was about noon and they were downtown by Times Square in Manhattan. The streets were filled with people. Cars were honking their horns, sirens were wailing and the sounds of the city were almost deafening. The country boy said, “I hear a cricket.” His friend said, “You have got to be kidding. You couldn’t possibly hear a cricket with all this noise.” The country boy listened again and said, “Yes I’m sure of it. I hear a cricket.” The two boys listened very carefully for a moment and then the country boy walked across the street to a big cement planter where some bushes were growing. He looked into the bushes and sure enough there was a cricket there. “That’s incredible,” said the city boy. “You must have super-human ears.” “No.” said the country boy. “My ears are no different then yours. It all depends on what you are listening for.” What are you listening for today? God wants to speak to you.
When God speaks, do you obey Him? For Christians, this might seem like a silly question for someone to ask and I think most would answer, “Of course, I obey Him.” As Christians, it pretty much goes without saying that we love God and want to obey Him. We want to be like Isaiah, answering God with “Here I Am!” But the issue for many of us Christians is similar to the issue we will read about . God speaks, but often people do not listen. Jer 26: 1 Early in the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, this word came from the Lord: 2 "This is what the Lord says: Stand in the courtyard of the Lord’s house and speak to all the people of the towns of Judah who come to worship in the house of the Lord. Tell them everything I command you; do not omit a word. 3 Perhaps they will listen and each will turn from his evil way. Then I will relent and not bring on them the disaster I was planning because of the evil they have done. 4 Say to them, ’This is what the Lord says: If you do not listen to me and follow my law, which I have set before you, 5 and if you do not listen to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I have sent to you again and again (though you have not listened), 6 then I will make this house like Shiloh and this city an object of cursing among all the nations of the earth.’" 7 The priests, the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speak these words in the house of the Lord. 8 But as soon as Jeremiah finished telling all the people everything the Lord had commanded him to say, the priests, the prophets and all the people seized him and said, "You must die! NIV .
God speaks, but often people do not listen. But why is that? I know that as a parent, there many times when I am irritated with my children because I have asked them to do something, and then upon finding out that the task didn’t get done, they’d claim, well, “you never told me to do that.” What’s even more frustrating is I remember, distinctly, telling them, to do that chore. I spoke; the kids heard me, but they didn’t listen. And here it is again in Jeremiah. God speaks, but the people do not listen. So let me ask you, when is the last time God spoke to you? Does He speak to you? And if so, do you hear him? Are you listening to Him? In these verses , we find the people of Judah in a bit of hot water. God had a warning for them… that the Lord sincerely wanted them to hear and obey. If the people persisted in their sin and refused to listen to the Lord’s prophets, Jerusalem would be invaded and the Lord would abandon his temple . So Jeremiah hoped that this warning would bring the people to their senses and prompt them to listen to God, to stop sinning and to repent and ask for forgiveness. Did the people listen to God’s message? Well, they “heard” it, but they certainly didn’t listen to it or obey it. In fact, verse seven tells us, “the priests, the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speak these words…” But their actions certainly didn’t demonstrate that they listened because if you keep reading in chapter 26, you’ll find that they, in fact, tried to kill the Prophet because of the message. Hearing, then, is not the same as listening and obeying.
What are, then, some of the ways we as Christians can learn to listen to, and obey the Lord? In verse three, we see that God wants us to do more than simply hear Him; He wants us to listen, listening to God is far more than hearing. But hearing is the starting point of where we receive God’s word. One of the basic claims we have as Christians is that God is alive and He wants to have a relationship with us. In order to have a relationship with someone you must speak to them, you must listen to them and they must speak and listen to you. You must have communication. Do you remember the story in the Old Testament about the Tower of Babel? Do you remember why the work stopped on that tower? The work stopped because there was a break down in communication. The people wanted to be greater than God. So God gave the people various languages. This caused a break down in communication. because they could no longer understand one another. And when they could no longer communicate with one another The work came to a halt. There is a timeless truth found in that story. This truth is true for families, for business partnerships as well as your relationship with God. When there is a breakdown in communication you will cease to be productive.