Ears & Mouths

    Mark Twain said,   “If you were supposed to talk more than you listen, you’d have 2 mouths and 1 ear.”  I quoted this all the time to my students as a teacher.   Part of my beginning of the year procedure training was teaching the difference in listening and hearing.   We would sit silently for 60 seconds, then list the sounds we heard.  Next, I would read poetry, usually  Shel Silverstein for 60 seconds.  Always, the noises of the classroom and hallway would fade away as they focused on my voice reading a humorous poem.  The noises were still there but we were now Listening, not only hearing.
   God knows the difference between our hearing and listening.  The word “listen” is found 231 times in the NIV version of the Bible and “hear”  is found 347 times. (Bible.org)   Not only did God know the difference in the two but He placed great importance on both also.

  Psalm 81:8 is only one of many times God begs His children to listen. “Listen to me, oh my People, while I give you stern warnings.  O Israel, if you would only listen to me.” Most translations say “listen” .  The CEV says “pay attention”  some translate “obey” and the Hebrew word means “hear intelligently.”   Oh, that we would hear with a little intelligence.   
   It is not enough that we listen,  but we must also follow the “stern warnings”.  Verse 9 isn’t a new commandment,  it’s the first one God gave Moses in the wilderness, ” you must not bow down before a false god”.  He laments again and again that the people will not listen.   And then, ” How quickly I would then subdue their enemies.  How soon my hands would be upon their foes!” v14 .
   I can’t help but think God is speaking this to America today.  His desires for us are good,  He wants to help us, but we won’t listen.  Worse,  we won’t give up our false gods. “But no, my people wouldn’t listen.  Israel did not want me around.” v11.
   I can’t make you listen or do.  But, as for me,  I do want God around and I’m going to practice listening and following his “stern warnings”.   

Thinkin’  Psalm 81 is the answer to Rona.


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