If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God…. if you pay attention… Exodus 15:26
I sure got quite a chuckle with myself this morning as I checked the weather and seeing that it was a sunny brisk (lung searing) 21 degrees and thought, “Oh, perfect for a run outside!” If you knew me you would realize what a flabbergasting and revolutionary thought this is, as I moved from Arizona 3 years ago and LOVE warm. I would have looked at the weather being 110 (skin melting off) degrees and thought, “Oh, perfect for a trip to the zoo!” I thought, gosh how we acclimate to our surroundings (praise the Lord for those survival instincts right!). Which led me to reflect deeper on my surroundings…
“Hearing is through the ears, listening is through the mind.” I can hear the sounds of an echo from miles away but I may not be able to discern the actual words being said in the echoed noise. Listening is something you have to choose to consciously do, it requires concentration for my brain to process information. If I really want to listen I need to draw up close, limit the distractions in my surroundings. It requires intentionality so what I allow myself to listen to is like seed I sow in my life… what fruit do I expect from my listening seed?
Isaiah 5:1-2 I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on fertile hillside. He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest of vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a wine press as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes but it yielded only bad fruit.
My dad has always grown grape vines in our backyard wherever we lived. As a child with all my brothers and sisters we would crawl under all the vines and sit and eat grapes (come on, I bet Jesus did the same thing…). I learned that grape vines need rocky soil to make the roots grow down deep in order to find their water source so this farmer in Isaiah doing what HE thought was a good idea and maybe he HEARD everyone else did in their various fields but was actually harmful in his vine field! It was brought to my attention that this farmer also then built a watchtower around his field… he was counting on his own way to success, building a life around HIS own way. In the end he was surprised that listening to himself or maybe others around him in other fields only yielded bad fruit!! Isaiah 5:21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.
With all that surrounds me do I take it all back to His Word? Do I take it back to Him in prayer and then LISTEN patiently for HIS voice? In 2 Peter 2:17-18 I find instruction to pay attention, Jesus is a light shining in a dark place, verse 18… until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Rev. 22:16 Jesus says He is the bright Morning Star!!! Is He that close to you? Is He rising in your heart? Do you know His voice…are you listening to know it? He has the words of eternal life!! (John 6:68)
I should wrap this up but there is one more thing! In Exodus 14 the Israelites are making their escape from Egypt and verse 8 says they are marching out BOLDLY! However in verse 10 they looked up and noticed their surroundings and went from bold to terrified in milliseconds! In verse 15 God says, move on. They could have been too consumed with their own worry to even notice His voice or chosen not to obey because they didn’t understand. I’m reminded of Exodus 10:26 when it says…until we get there we will not know… God told the Israelites to move on yet how could they have known that God would fight for them all night long blowing back the sea with His breath so they could escape across dry ground (Ex. 14:21)?!! I think often times we won’t know until we get there, and we won’t get there unless we move on WITH Jesus, and we won’t know when to move on if we aren’t listening for His voice, and if we aren’t in close range of Him we may only hear an echoed noise of which we pay no attention.
His mighty hand longs to bring us out and on too, into eternal life with Him! The Morning Star gave His life to make it possible, now He wants to rise in each of our hearts that we would listen, obey and know the Way home! We can’t even grasp how deeply we are loved by Him, it surpasses our human knowledge!
Jesus help me to trust beyond what my eyes can see and my ears can hear in my physical surroundings. Tune me into Your frequency that I may truly listen to obey and know through ever increasing faith and trust that You are able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to Your power that is at work within us. To You be the glory throughout all generations! (Eph. 3:20-21)
Independent Read: Psalm 130:5, Isaiah 50:4, Eph. 3:14-21