I woke up early this morning, grabbed my coffee in my "good morning beautiful" mug (nice mug to read in the morning haha). I am slowly getting through a Bible Study book, and when I say slowly, I mean SLOWLY! I have been on the first chapter for months. In my defense, each question has at least 5 scripture references and I take the time to read and meditate on each one. Then someone wakes up and needs me, so let the games begin; #ilovemyfamily. This morning I have been reading about my ears, yes, this Bible Study has me thinking about my ears and what I do with them or don't do with them.
Ears are wonderful! Right now I am listening to birds chirping in my backyard and the buzzing of my very old laptop. My mind really starts to wander about this hearing and listening subject. Just yesterday, my youngest daughter chose not to listen to me and instead make herself very loud so I would listen to her. Well, I hopped into what became a horrifying shouting match and I won, but that didn't make me feel any better. Have you ever tried to talk to your kid and they appear to be listening? Nodding their head, saying "uh huh" or "ok", but then you realize they hadn't heard a word you said? They have an amazing ability of selective hearing. If it doesn't have to do with giving them the choice to choose the meal, their christmas list or the plan to go shopping for them, they want nothing to do with what any one has to say. Now they walk around with their earbuds, looking up at me, having me think they are listening or just simply ignoring me because they have more important things to listen to, more interesting things, non-demanding fun things, that entertain and make them happy. Anyone else?
I ask myself, as a daughter of God, how many times do I shut out God's voice in the exact same way? I mean, my kids have ears, I have ears; my kids can hear, I can hear; yet we choose what to hear and what not to hear, and then there is hearing without listening. In our society, where there is so much noise and stimulation, it is becoming easier and easier to tune one another out and, even worse, to tune God out. Psalm 40:6 says,
"Sacrifice and offering You (God) did not desire, but my ears you have opened, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require." (NIV)
I have been walking with the Lord since I was 13 years old and I have to sadly admit that, at one point, my walk with Him became more about "doing" then "listening". It became about how hard I worked, the good deeds I did, how many church meetings I went to and how long I prayed and read the Bible, but I quickly forgot how to seek Him and listen to His voice. I know, for a fact, that I don't lose my salvation over this, but I did cause a lot of peace-stealing situations in my life because of my poor listening skills. I see this a lot with Christians who grow up "in the church", have Christian parents; the "I know, been there done that, you are preaching to the choir" mentality sets in and we stop seeking God and we stop listening to His voice. We wonder why so many Christians seem bitter and miserable, how is that especially when Jesus offers us peace and joy, something's not right.
What kind of ears does this Psalm talk about? Open ears. This is more important then what we think we know, what we do, or have experienced.
God, reopen my ears and help me to listen to your voice!
As a youth leader, many of the teens would ask me how can they know God is speaking. I told them the story of back in the day, we used to communicate with people by talking on the phone. When I would meet a new friend, they would call me and, the first few phone calls, I would have to ask "who is this?", until finally the day came that I learned this person"s voice, how they greeted, the pitch, the tone, the unique aspects of their voice. At one point, the phone would ring, I would say "hello" and when my friend answered I knew exactly who she was.
We can't recognize God's voice if we don't know God's voice. How do we get to know God's voice, by spending time in His Word. We need to talk time to read the Bible, to hear His heart, thoughts, likes, dislikes, his feelings towards us. I love different devotionals and books that talk about God and His word, but nothing can replace digging directly into the Bible. As you dig into His word, His voice will be so clear to you and you will know it is God speaking. This is the only way. When we don't know God's voice, we run the danger of following other voices. Voices such as, our emotions, other people's, the enemy's voice.
Ask God for open ears to listen to His voice.
Here are more verses and some questions to ponder as you read.
Do you close your ears because you don't want to hear? Like a child throwing a tantrum, you put your hands over your ears because what is being said may not be what you want to hear.
Are you careful about what or who you listen to? Are you drawn to only those who say what you want to hear?
Ezekiel 12: 2
ears that hear
Just because you can hear, are you listening? To listen is to pay attention and an action follows. My kids hear me say "clean your room", but they didn't listen to the instruction and it doesn't get done. This is rebellion.
Calloused heart: our past experiences can cause our hears, eyes and ears to get hard.
Are there past experiences or spoken words, that caused you to harden your heart against God? Just because people are christian and go to church and quote the Bible, they too,can be ignorant and stupid. Yes I said that.
2 Timothy 4:3-4
It is so much easier to listen to things that make me feel good and keep me far away from the truth that can set me free. Do you dare listen to someone who wants to speak the truth into your life, even though hearing it may not feel good at the moment?
This will be my prayer and focus this week. God open my ears, if they have been infected, heal them and help me not only to hear, but to listen to your voice of truth, grace and mercy.