God Doesn't Just Hear: He Listens
Hear or Listen
Hear or Listen
Often we mix the words hearing and listening together as one word.
We think to hear someone is to listen to them.
We think that these words are synonymous of one another.
Well, ask any wife if there is a difference, or parent for that matter.
How many times have we said “You might be hearing me, but you’re not listening to me”?
Hearing involves knowing that there is a distinct sound coming from something but we do not know what it is.
We know something is going on but it is unfamiliar to us. Such as, when a car is coming towards you in the distance. You hear it but are unsure what the noise is. You may discern it is a vehicle, but what type is not known from the distant noise.
You do not know what it is until it is by you and you see it. This then involves more senses than just hearing.
Merriam-Webster defines hearing as the “process, function, or power of perceiving sound; specifically: the special sense by which noises and tones are received as stimuli.”
Hearing is a passive action and has to do with the perception of sound. Concentration is not necessary, we hear sounds and words all day long, even if we are not paying attention to them.
This is why Jesus repeatedly said phrases like, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” He wanted them to listen.
Listening is more than hearing. it involves hearing but it is actively paying attention to the words and sounds that you hear, trying to absorb their meaning and develop an emotional response.
Merriam-Webster defines listening as “to hear something with thoughtful attention.” Hence, listening is mental, it is an active process requiring multiple senses. This means that listening is a voluntary act of the will and if you choose to listen then you are being active. It is not passive but active requiring more than just one sense.
So, what is the best way to get someone to listen to us?
Is it to always complain to them? Is it to always bring nothing but worries and concerns before them?
Is it to only ask for things? Is it to be bitter at them because something did not happen as you thought it should?
The best way is to be thankful to them. To Boast in the good they have done. To be adamant that they have helped you many times before. And to do this without asking them for anything else. You are just doing it because you are thankful for them.
When we are thankful and appreciative to people they will listen to us more often than not. But if we never do anything but complain and bellyache to them, they begin to not listen but only hear.
That is why we see David here in Ps. 34:1-3 saying
1 I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2 My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. 3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!
This Psalm was written about the time he was fleeing from Saul. He was running for his life and in a bad way. Maybe he had not trusted the Lord to protect him but now he is. Either way whatever the situation he was facing he was praising the Lord because he knew it is better to praise the Lord than always complain. God hears the cries of the righteous as 34:17 tells us. The righteous love the Lord and will praise Him for the good and even the bad because they know He knows best.
This is what David was doing and this is what we can do too if we want God not only to Hear but Listen.
When we are praising Him and glorifying His name we will know to...
Seek Him, He is There
Seek Him, He is There
If all we do is sit around and praise someone for their greatness and abilities to help but never seek the help or greatness, we may very well continue to suffer and strain.
It takes action on our part too. We are not only to send out praises and cheers, we must actively seek.
At the Alamo Travis knew the situation was dire and that without help he would not make it through with his men. He knew they would all die if help did not come.
Now, he could have sat around praising Houston for his military brilliance and many other things and many may have agreed, but those praises alone would not get the help needed.
No, he had to act and seek the help. So he sent dispatches and riders out.
Sadly, the help was cut off and they held strong for many days but feel after thirteen days.
But the point here is he sent people to seek help. He did not just sit back and do nothing, he made moves to get help.
This is what we see David saying here in Ps. 34: 4-8
4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. 6 This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. 8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
We see right off that he sought and the Lord answered and delivered him.
That those who look to Him will have radiant, joyful, faces. They will know that their Lord is good and that He is loving. They have Him and that is all that matters.
With the Lord we can be joyful regardless the situation. Nothing can remove our joy in the Lord if we are His and diligently seek Him.
You see, if we are His but we never seek Him, praise Him, or love Him; we become cold and bitter.
I just read a story from a friend who went through a stage of severe doubt about his faith. He is from a strong Christian family and became a believer at age 10.
Yet, he began to doubt. He called to God regularly for strength and help. Tried many different things to no avail. Things became difficult and he was struggling. Suicide entered his mind.
He continually cried to God but then started reading and researching works on God from theology and apologetics.
He is no secure and knows his salvation is secure and that the Lord is real and nothing will shake this from him. But he still daily seeks and looks for the Lord and continually grows in his faith.
That is how it is with us too. He felt God had abandoned him only to realize that his prayers were being listened to and that God was guiding him to seek Him more and more.
He tasted and saw that the Lord was good. This is what verse 8 is telling us.
This “verse encourages us to try God out, almost physically, just as we would some great treat or delicacy. Does that seem indelicate or impious to say? To compare God to good food? Maybe. But although God is more than this image suggests, he is certainly not less. Our problem is not that we think of him too literally but that we do not think of him literally enough.” (James Montgomery Boice, Psalms 1–41: An Expositional Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2005), 296.)
So go ahead and try Him out. Seek Him like you seek everything that you love. He is there and He wants you to find Him. Seek the Lord and know that He wants you to find Him. When you do you will know that not only that the Lord saves but that He satisfies all things.
This means that we need to...
Obediently Seek God and Good
Obediently Seek God and Good
We see in verses 9-16
9 Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! 10 The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. 11 Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. 12 What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good? 13 Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. 14 Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. 15 The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. 16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
That is what fear the Lord means. It means those who are His will seek to be obedient to what He desires.
We will know that good is from and in Him and when we seek good, we are seeking Him.
The young lions are those who think they can make it on their own.
You see young lions learn how to hunt and seek prey from their mothers but if they do not have this teaching and shepherding, they cannot learn. They will do without.
That is what is being said here. The young lions are those who are trusting in themselves and not in the Lord.
They have want and hunger, while those who seek the Lord lack no good thing (v. 10).
All who want the Lord to be for them and listen to them will seek to be obedient to His desires and passion.
That is what David is saying to all in verse 11. Come and learn how to fear the Lord.
When we do we are truly seeking the life and good days. We want joy and radiance. Yet, this is like when we want to be heard, we need to be thankful to God and do what He desires.
This includes avoiding evil and not speaking falsely. Seeking peace and good.
To seek peace simply means that we are not stirring up division. We are striving to get along and love one another. We are not ill at another but thankful for their gain. We are seeking the best for all. We are living in community and seeking to have others live this way too.
The world says differently. It says we are to live how they say. The way they say is right. In a place that can’t even tell us what the definition of a woman is. In a place that allows for all forms of immorality and says it is good and if anyone says it is not, they are evil.
Love is love they say. Well, God calls us to be different. He calls us to be as He says. He calls us male and female and that we are to be that way. What you are as He created you is what you are. The world wants us to be able to be what we want to be and that is evil and vile.
Simply, the world seeks to kill us because the world is ruled by Satan and Satan has come only to John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
Whereas, the Lord looks at the righteous. He looks at those who are clean and seeking Him. His ears and eyes are towards those who are being obedient to Him.
His face is against those who are evil and wicked. They are not heard, they are pagan and worshipping the god of this world, not the one true God.
God will cut them off and destroy them in due time. This is why we need not fear them or anything they do to us because we have the Lord and He has made us a way to Him for eternity through Jesus Christ and once you have placed your faith in Christ alone nothing can remove you from that.
You are His and He loves you and because of this you can...
Trust Him and Know He Does Listen
Trust Him and Know He Does Listen
This is shown in verses 17-22
17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. 18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. 19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. 20 He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken. 21 Affliction will slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned. 22 The Lord redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.
What we need to know is that even though God listens and will respond to our cries, we will be in situations that we will be crying from.
We are not promised safety and perfect protection from all problems.
We are promised that we have a Holy God who will listen and will strengthen us.
A God who is near to all who hurt.
A God who loves us and that deliverance is certain.
Now, that deliverance may not be what we are calling for. We may not be delivered like soldiers who have became POW’s and forces come in and destroy the enemy and remove them from the wicked and vile POW camps.
We may not be delivered as many people have been from illnesses and death.
Our deliverance may come in the form of God calling us home. Calling us to Him from this war we are in.
As Oswald Chambers wrote about this, “Faith for my deliverance is not faith in God. Faith means, whether I am visibly delivered or not, I will stick to my belief that God is love. There are some things only learned in a fiery furnace.”
God will deliver us. Our deliverance is guaranteed. Just as Chambers wrote and as David wrote in the final verse, “none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.”
Our deliverance is certain. The method and how is not.
Just as those men who fought at the Alamo continued fighting because they knew the cause was worth it regardless whether help came or not, that is our Christian life.
We continue to go forth daily because we have a God who is worth it.
He is worth the struggles and battles we face. He is worth the battle scars we receive.
He is worth it because with Him eternal deliverance is certain and with that kind of hope there is nothing in this world that should make us fear.
God is with the righteous because the righteous are only righteous because of Jesus Christ.
God blesses and strengthens those who live righteously. He will listen to you and see you and He will give the direction just as He did my friend even though my friend was unsure for a while.
Just as Oswald Chambers said he may not visibly deliver us, but He will deliver us.
Trust Him and Know that He listens to you. He is for all who are His.
To have this joy and strength you must believe in Jesus Christ for your salvation.
It is only through Jesus that we have this peace and calm. Jesus is how we are righteous and Jesus is how we walk in Righteousness. He gives us His Spirit and because of that, we can walk in righteous obedience to God because our faith is in Him to guide and strengthen us.
Trust the Lord and know that He listens.
You Can Know The Lord Is Good
You Can Know The Lord Is Good
This whole psalm is to let you know that God is for the weak and all who rest in Him for what they need.
He has made it possible for you to make it through all the struggles this life gives us.
We will face adversity and bitter failures and losses.
This life is tough and difficult.
God knows this and that is why He listens to us. He knows we struggle and need Him.
But be thankful for Him seek Him rather than the world and trust Him even when it seems impossible.
He is there and He loves you and He will help you.
Deliverance is certain but may not be what you want or think you need.
Remember my friend. He went through difficulties but he is so thankful for the difficulties because now his faith is stronger in the Lord than before.
As the saying goes, “It is always darkest before Light.” Sometimes we need to go through the darkness to realize just how Good God is.
But always know He listens and He hears all we cry out to Him. Just remember to praise Him and be thankful, seek Him always, be obedient to what He has commanded, trust Him, and by this we can have joy even in despair.