Give ear and hear my voice, Listen and hear my speech. - Isaiah 28:23
Have you ever thought about the difference between hearing and listening? Did you know there was a difference? To "listen" means that we are paying attention to the sound, thoughtful and considerate attention to the sound. To "hear" refers to perceiving something with our ears, kind of like seeing with our ears. In life today there are literally thousands of noises a day that compete for our attention. There are so many different of noises and sounds that most of us do not pay attention to most of them. The television can be on, the phone ringing, and everyone in my house talking at once and I can still tune most of it out. It is not that I am not hearing the noise, but I am not listening to it.
God gave us ears to hear the beauty of sound and He gave us the ability to listen so that the sound can be understood. When both hearing and listening work together, we have an understanding of the purpose of the sound. You can hear music but not listen to the words. When both music and lyrics are understood, the beauty and meaning of the whole song is revealed to you. You can hear the words of a person speaking to you, but if you truly listen to the person, you will better understand their heart and the meaning behind their words. The same principle holds true with God's Word. We can hear the Word preached, taught and read. We can read the Word ourselves and hear our own voices speak it. But, when we really listen to God's Word, then our understanding begins to change. So many times, people leave church after having heard a sermon and not remember anything about it. When we are listening and giving consideration to what we are hearing, we will leave thinking about what we just heard. The next step is to start talking back to God, asking Him to open up more of our understanding.
Take time today and think about how much you hear versus how much you listen. How much are you missing of what God has for you? Is He talking to you but you are not paying attention? Take your Bible and read today's chapter in Isaiah. Instead of just reading the words and hearing them in your head, pray the Holy Spirit will give you the power to listen and to understand the message God has for you. When the Word of God truly becomes His voice in your life, then your hearing and listening will open up a new world of understanding for you. Your life will change. But it all begins with understanding the difference between hearing and listening—start listening to God today.
~Daily Disciples Devotional~