the God who hears

Does God hear when I call on Him in prayer? If I don’t get an answer is God just hard of hearing? Somewhere we’ve acquired an illusion that God as a toothy grinned grandfatherly figure straining to hear through his old-fashion ear horn. This leaves us with an idol-god who is finite and rather creepy when you think about it.

Take a quick glance at Scripture and it will debunk any myth of a God who is decrepit or hard of hearing. Surely He is kind, slow to anger, full of all-consuming joy, spoils His children with indefeasible grace and generosity. But He does not have a cane or have need of hearing aides.

God hears.

Do you realize how important it is that God hears? The God of the universe hears the prayers of all His children (Ps. 65:2; 4:3; Jeremiah 29:12). The gods made with the hands of man cannot hear,[1] but human hands do not make God. He made man. And He made man with a mouth that are able to speak. With the psalmist, use your mouth to joyfully sing, “I love the Lord for He hears my voice” (Ps. 116:1)

Jesus after He raised Lazarus from the dead prayed and thanked God, “I knew that You always hear me” (John 11:41-42). Jesus prayed knowing that He was praying to His Father who listened.

“Because I have listened definitely to one thing from God, it does not follow that I will listen to everything He says. The way in which I show God that I neither love nor respect Him is by the obtuseness of my heart and mind towards what He says. If I love my friend, I intuitively detect what he wants, and Jesus says, “Ye are My friends.” Have I disobeyed some command of my Lord’s this week? If I had realized that it was a command of Jesus, I would not consciously have disobeyed it; but most of us show such disrespect to God that we do not even hear what He says, He might never have spoken.”[2] – Oswald Chambers

God hears more than words.

He knows the motivation behind my words. He sees my words straight through to my heart. He knows what I really want. Now God does meet wants, even needs. He demonstrates over and over His sensitive ears to the cry of the orphan and widow (Exodus 22:23); the plea of the poor (Exodus 22:27); the cry of the needy (Ps. 69:33). However, God does just give me whatever I want whenever I want it. Thankfully.

God has selective hearing.

God is not a passive dad that tunes out His children for no good reason. He hears the prayer of the righteous God-fearer,[3] and often He ignores the cries of the unrighteous sinner.[4] It is not that God is insensitive to the cries of sinners; it’s that sinners are not sensitive towards listening and obeying God. Their judgment is God replicating the treatment they are giving Him.

God has spoken many words, 774,746 to be exact.[5] Start by listening closely to those words. As Jesus said, to each of the believers in the seven churches of Turkey, “He who has ears let him hear.” (cf. Revelation 3-4)

My daughter Justus is 2-years old. She has good ears. Still she has a natural inclination to ignore the authority God has put over her like Charlie Brown listened to his teacher at school. For the most part, she hears the words of her parent’s say and eagerly listens. I want to have eager ears toward my authority, God, like my daughter.

A child’s attitude is “Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears.” (cf. 1 Samuel 3:10) If you have not cultivated this devotion of hearing, you can only hear God’s voice at certain times; at other times you are taken up with things—things which you say you must do, and you become deaf to Him, you are not living the life of a child. Have you heard God’s voice today, moreover, have you listened to God’s voice today?

[1] Cf. 1 Kings 18:26-27; Psalm 115:6; 135:17; Isaiah 46:7

[2] Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest : Selections for the Year (Grand Rapids, MI: Discovery House Publishers, 1993).

[3] Cf. Prov. 15:29; Psalm 34:15; 145:19; John 9:31

[4] Cf. Isaiah 59:1-2; cf. Psalm 66:18; Isaiah 1:15; Jeremiah 11:11,14; Ezekiel 8:18; Amos 5:23; John 9:31

[5] This number is a guesstimation taking an average among English Bible translations.

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