In all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it is sometimes difficult to find time to sit still and be quiet, to think and ponder and be calm before the Lord.
So, as we come to the end of the “old year” and to the beginning of the new year, let’s take a moment or two to consider.
If there were one thing you or I could do better in the New Year, what would it be?
I suppose we all have our own individual answers for that. Sometimes we instinctively know the answer to that immediately. Sometimes we don’t have a clue.
I wonder, if we asked the Lord, what one thing would He like us to do better, what would He say?
The word “listen” comes to mind. It’s something a majority of us have trouble doing well, listening to other people, but even more importantly, listening to the voice of the Lord. Or as the KJV says it: “Hearkening” to the voice of the Lord.
Over and over God spoke to His people through Moses in the Old Testament, saying that He would reward them with good if they would hearken to His voice. (Ex. 15:26; Deut. 15:5; Deut. 28:1; Deut. 30:9-11).
You know, it’s funny — when I listen to my child or my friend, I am showing them honor and love, but listening to them in no way implies that I have to do what they say.
But when I say to my child, “Listen to me!” I am calling attention to the fact that I am his/her authority, and listening, in that context, means that he/she is to do what I say.
So also, when God tells me to listen to Him, that command carries with it the understanding that I must also do what He says.
But are commands the only things the Lord speaks to us?
Not at all! He also speaks to us promises, revelations of who He is, and words of comfort and encouragement, these three being much more readily accepted by us in our humanness.
When we listen, we need to do so with humble hearts, ready to hear whatever it is He says to us and to respond appropriately, whether in obedience, or thanksgiving, or praise or worship.
So maybe some of you, like me, need to determine in our hearts this year to be better listeners, and especially to be still before the Lord and listen to what He has to say to us each day.
Other Scriptures on the subject are:
- “Samuel said, ‘Speak, LORD. I am your servant and I am listening.'” (I Samuel 3:10) NCV
- “Jesus said, ‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me.'” John 10:27
- “And Samuel said, ‘Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.'” 1 Samuel 15:22
- “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” James 1:22 NLT
- “…my dear brothers and sisters! Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.” James 1:19 NET
May these verses be a springboard for each of us to leap into the New Year with a fresh start. May the Lord give each of us a blessed new year as we pursue the goal of listening to Him!
Happy New Year!
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