May 5, 2023 — Hearing but not Listening?

“The other day,” Stan commented one morning while we were enjoying breakfast, “I was reading in Luke’s gospel about the transfiguration.”

“The transfiguration,” I said. “Is that when Jesus and some of the guys went up on a mountain where they saw Moses and Elijah?”

“That’s it,” Stan replied. “Moses and Elijah were talking with Jesus about what was going to happen when He went to Jerusalem and the cross.”

“Yeah, I remember,” I said. “And didn’t God the Father also have something to say?”

“He did,” Stan replied. “And after I had looked at what Luke wrote about what God said, I read Matthew’s version and saw that Matthew treated it a little differently.”

“How so?”

“Luke used one word and Matthew used another to describe what God said.”

“Two different words?” I asked. What words?”

“Both Luke and Matthew described how God spoke from the cloud,” Stan said. “Matthew wrote that God said that they were to ‘hear’ what Jesus had to say. Luke wrote that they were to ‘listen’ to what Jesus said.”

“Isn’t that just a distinction without a difference?” I said. “‘Hear’ versus ‘listen’?”

“Maybe,” Stan replied, “but I don’t think so. Just ask my wife!”

“Ask your wife?” I said. “What’s she have to do with it?”

“I think she would say, ‘No’ if you asked her if my hearing and listening are the same. I think she would say that I may hear what she’s saying, but that doesn’t mean I’m listening to her. There is a difference, and I think God says the same thing about me all of the time.”

“That you don’t listen? Is that it?”

“Bingo and Amen!” Stan exclaimed. “God wants me to listen to what He has to say to me. In the first place, He wants me to hear Him, not ignore Him. And then He wants me to listen and receive, not just hear. It’s kind of like what my mom would sometimes say, ‘In one ear, and out the other’!”


Bible verses to consider:

And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him.” Luke 9:35.

While he (Peter) was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; hear Him!” Matthew 17:5.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for giving Jesus so that all who believe in Him are in your eternal presence. Thank you for the people you sent into my life to encourage me in hearing, listening to, and accepting the truth. As well, I thank you for all you have for me in knowing you and Jesus. I confess that too often I don’t hear what you have to say, and too often, while I may hear what you have to say, I don’t really listen. Please forgive that foolishness and help me follow every step of your lead so I listen to, accept, and apply all you have for me. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Have you heard, listened to, and accepted the truth of the gospel so you know you will spend eternity in God’s presence? If no, why do you want to remain separated from God? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing in listening — truly listening — to what God has to say to you? Are you ignoring Him rather than hearing Him? Are you hearing, but not listening? Are you listening, but not applying? If you sense the need for change with any of this, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

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