Please Listen

Do you listen when people talk to you? Do your ears work? Did anyone say anything to you today that was important, but you weren’t listening?

Poor listening is a common problem, but not only in conversations between people. It is a common problem in the way that we interact with the Word of God. In fact when I read the Bible, it seems that even the Bible assumes  I am not paying attention. Here’s what I mean. Listen to this very important verse in Deuteronomy 6:4-5.

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: and thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

What do you notice? God introduces the command with a simple prefatory command, “Hear!” This prefatory command also occurs at least 8 times in the book of Proverbs and repeatedly throughout the Prophets. And what about the New Testament?

  • He that hath ears to hear, let him hear (Matt. 11:15).
  • Who hath ears to hear, let him hear (Matt. 13:9).
  • And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear (Mk. 4:9).
  • If any man have ears to hear, let him hear (Mk. 4:23).
  • If any man have ears to hear, let him hear (Mk. 7:16).
  • And when he said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear (Lk. 8:8).
  • He that hath ears to hear, let him hear (Lk. 14:35).
  • He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches (Rev. 2:7). (This phrase prefaces all seven of the mini-letters in Rev. 2-3.)

And then there is the very important command written by James in his New Testament letter (Jam. 1:19).

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.

What is the significance of this phenomenon? Perhaps it is this. Perhaps the Bible is dropping hints that you are not listening. You have two ears, but you are not using them. What do you think? Is it true?

Zeno, the stoic philosopher said, “We have two ears and one mouth, therefore we should listen twice as much as we speak.” The rabbis put it even better: “Men have two ears but one tongue, that they should hear more than they speak. The ears are always open, ever ready to receive instruction; but the tongue is surrounded with a double row of teeth to hedge it in, and keep it within proper bounds.”3[1]

Will you consider these thoughts and ponder them? And if you will, ask the Lord to help you become a better listener – to listen better to what the Word of God is telling you and to what the important people in your life saying as well. If you take this simple challenge, even for one day, you will be surprised at what you hear.


3 3. John Blanchard, Truth for Life (West Sussex, England: H. E. Walter Ltd, 1982), p. 73.

[1] R. Kent Hughes, James: Faith That Works, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1991), 65–66.

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