TITLE: Listen Good
DATE: December 4, 2019
Christ is risen. He is risen, indeed.
TEXT: Matthew 2: 15b – ESV - This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, z“Out of Egypt I called my son.”
One of the most difficult doings in any healthy relationship is the ability to be a good listener.
I’m not talking about the biological function of the ear to hear. I’m talking about listening…not only hearing what someone is trying to communicate to us, but taking it in, processing it, and making it a part of who we are. And I believe that kind of focused listening is hard to find these days. I think there are a lot of people who have perfect hearing, but can’t listen very well. And I think that part of why we don’t always hear is that we train ourselves not to listen.
Let me point a finger at myself.
I have this habit of turning on the radio or TV and then not listening to it. It drives Pam nuts. I’ll come into a room and the first thing I do is flip on either the TV or the stereo, and then I walk out of the room. My excuse is that I want to hear the news, but then I don’t listen to it anyway. It’s just needless noise.
It’s the same way each time I hop into my car. After starting the engine I automatically reach for the radio and turn it on, or turn the dial to a station to which I am going to listen. Sometimes I do listen, most times I don’t. I do the same just about everywhere I go: It’s almost automatic. I flip on my computer and then the radio. I have Public Radio playing all day long, but I don’t even hear it. It’s just noise in the background.
I know it’s a bad habit but I can’t seem to break it.
I’ve tried turning off the radio when I’m driving in the car or sitting in the office, but the silence drives me crazy. I think we’ve all been trained, to some degree, to have some kind of noise going at all times. It’s almost as if we’re afraid of silence. Why do you suppose they pipe that endless music into elevators, department stores or restaurants? Nobody really listens to it. It’s just there. And I have the feeling that all this background noise in our lives teaches us not to listen. That can cause problems for us, especially when it comes to relationships.
Most of us have had the experience of talking to someone while fighting the feeling that we were speaking to the proverbial brick wall. The person with whom we are trying to communicate kind of stares at you blankly and nods his or her head, with an occasional, uh huh. After the 25th uh huh we come to the conclusion that while they may be hearing our voice, they certainly are not listening to what we have to say.
I can’t help but think that God feels that way sometimes when he tries to speak to us.
There are times when our relationship with God suffers from our poor listening skills. It must be frustrating for God, trying to get through to us. We pretty good at delivering our list of things we want God to do for us. But then we often forget the other important part of prayer…the listening part.
In Advent we need to do some listening. For centuries the Lord had used His prophets to share various things which would help identify the Messiah. A voice in the wilderness; Bethlehem as His birthplace; conceived by a virgin; the martyrdom of the infants. All these prophecies Jesus fulfilled so we might know.
It was a habit He kept up the rest of His life. So when it was finally finished, we would know, God’s promise had been kept, the work of our redemption was done and all who were brought to faith are saved.
We just need to listen.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I am surrounded by noise. Grant me the ability to filter our Your truth from the sound pollution. Let me believe You are unique, ands Jesus is the only Savior. In His holy Name I pray it. Amen.
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann. He along with three of his brothers perform on the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html