“Hear, O My people, and I will admonish you! O Israel, if you will listen to Me! There shall be no foreign god among you; nor shall you worship any foreign god. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt; open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. But my people would not heed My voice, and Israel would have none of Me. So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart, to walk in their own counsels. Oh, that My people would listen to Me, that Israel would walk in My ways!” Psalms 81:9-13 (NKJV)
They captured my attention!
“If you will listen to Me!”
Okay, God! Six words from the sacred pages of God’s Word, the Bible, captured my attention, calling me to listen. What should I do? What would YOU do?
Let’s face it, listening, really listening, is quickly becoming a lost art for many of us. What? Not for you? Well, consider this.
We are all very busy people. I get that truth. Sadly though, sometimes we are too busy to really listen the way that we should. After all, there are places to go, people to see, things to do, projects to complete, decisions to make, and etc. I’m just too busy to list all the different things that we are busy doing. BUT, the reality is, there are always some things that we need to listen to.
Just the other day, I was sitting out in the garden, chatting on my cellphone with a friend. We were both sharing about our busyness. Both of us, equally busy in our own way, with lots of various circumstances happening in our lives. I love, though, what my friend did in the middle of that conversation. All of the sudden, she bursts out with a loud voice and says, “Stop! We have to stop this! Do you realize what we sound like?” At first, feeling a little taken aback, I wasn’t sure what to do. But I smiled, though, for I realized what she was saying. “Stop for a minute, Kathy, and just listen to what is happening around you.” The pause, the silence between us, was rather refreshing! Just to take a precious moment and stop everything else, just to listen. What a novel idea! She broke the silence first and described the sounds she heard, in the coffee shop, where she was sitting. Then it was my turn. Sounds of the back yard garden. Wind whistling through the big pine tree. Birds chirping over on the gate. Water dripping from off the rooftop. Our dog digging in a corner grunting and growling to himself as he worked. For a moment, I thought I could hear the daffodil grow a little taller. Ah, the art of listening! It had been a while since I literally just sat and listened. It was comforting. It was refreshing. It did my heart good.
And that, that precious moment of refreshing quiet and restful sounds is just what the Lord God wants to give to His people. If only we would slow down, and take the time to listen. “If you will listen to Me!” He gently whispers. Will we listen to His voice?
It reminds me of the Bible story of Mary and Martha, and their visit from Jesus (Luke 10:38-42). We have in this story such a great contrast between the two sisters. Martha, was the busy one, getting everything ready for Jesus’ visit. And when He arrived, she was still busy making sure everything was just right. And she was fussing in that busyness. “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her to help me,” Martha says to Jesus. Can anyone relate to that kind of busyness? I love Jesus’ reply to her. He said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.” Yet, I think Jesus was more concerned about her listening skills than He was about her busyness.
And then, there was Mary. Jesus said of her, “Mary has chosen the good part, which will not be taken away from her.” So, what was Mary doing that was better than Martha’s busyness?
“Mary… sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.” Mary chose to put the busyness aside. To her, it didn’t matter. What was more important to Mary, was listening. She sat, at Jesus’ feet, and she listened to His every word.
In that very moment of Jesus’ presence in their home, nothing else mattered to Mary. She stopped everything else. She gave Him her undivided attention. She sat, in reverent awe, at His feet. She cherished each and every word He spoke. She listened. She loved what she was hearing. For Mary loved Jesus. She wanted to be in His presence. She wanted to listen!
“But one thing is needed…” Mary chose it. I want to choose it too.
Lord God, I want to be like Mary. I want to learn to stop the busyness more often. I want to learn to sit more at Your feet, in awe and in worship. I want to learn to listen better. To listen more and talk less when I am in Your presence. I want more of You. I want to give You my listening ear. I want to hear Your every word. I want to hear Your whispers in my ear. I want to cherish Your words more. I want more of You, Jesus! I’m listening now!