Hearing? Or Listening?

The Lord Jesus is speaking to us. Do you hear Him? And are you listening?

In Hebrews 2-4 the writer makes a distinction between those who hear the Word and those who listen to it, or hear with understanding.

Only those who truly listen to the Word enter into the rest and abundance of God's promises (3.18; 4.3). Those who merely hear the Word, but do not hear with understanding, fall short of that promised rest (4.1).

We truly hear the Word of God when, hearing it, we believe in and trust it, beginning that process of mind and heart which works to incorporate what we have heard into the depths of our souls (3.19; 4.2; Ps. 119.9-11). Those who merely hear the Word may find it interesting, even pleasing, but they do not take it into their hearts and minds with the intention of trusting in and obeying it.

We truly hear the Word of God when what it promises is so exciting, desirable, and enthralling that we actually fear we may not attain to what the Lord has spoken; hence, we strive day by day to make sure that rest and abundance will be ours, now and evermore (4.1, 11).

We truly hear the Word of God when we attend carefully to it (2.1), meditating on it deeply and comparing what we read with what we see in our lives, to make sure we are not drifting away from the Lord.

We truly hear the Word when we work out our salvation in obedience to the inward work of the Spirit, so that we hold fast to our confession and confidence, in every situation, for all of our lives (3.6, 14, 18, 19; 4.11; Phil. 2.12, 13).

In order to listen to God's Word in this way we must make regular and constant resort to it, daily taking the Word into the depths of our souls (4.12) as we look to King Jesus (4.1, 2) and plead with Him to enable us to hear with understanding all He wants us to know and to have (4.15, 16).

The Lord Jesus is speaking to us. Do you hear Him? And are you listening?

T. M. Moore

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore