In Silence or in the Spirit
I sit listening to birds chirping on an internet recording. With my new hearing aids, I’m hearing things I was unable to before. My audiologist told me it will take a while for my brain to recognize all the sounds. She had to adjust the volume down to 80% so it’s not too loud at first. Unaccustomed to the noise, it sounds like everything is blaring through a loud-speaker into my brain. These high-tech hearing aids can hone in on the pitches my ears miss without magnifying those sounds I naturally hear.
As the birds chirp away, my mind begins to ponder my spiritual hearing. God beckons me to listen. Am I hearing all he is saying?
“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, you who seek the Lord: look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug…Hearken unto me, my people; and give ear unto me, O my nation: for a law, shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people…Listen to me, you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear not the reproach of man, nor be dismayed at their revilings.” Isaiah 51:1,4, 7
“Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David” Is. 55:3
How can I listen if my “ears” are not trained to hear his voice? It will take time for my brain to adjust to and recognize the new sounds my hearing aids amplify. Likewise it takes time to hear and know God’s voice. Through prayer, bible study and meditation on his word I begin to hear him. If I continue this each day his voice becomes more clear because the connections from the previous days are so fresh. The bridge from my feeble brain connecting to the source of all wisdom gets stronger with consistent exercise.
Those verses in Isaiah… I’ve wondered about them before. What does it mean to give ear to someone? As I look more closely, the explanation is right there. The calls to listen are for those who already profess to follow him. Those who pursue righteousness and those who seek the Lord, and my people…my nation, and you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law.
Presented directly after the summon to listen is how or what to focus on. Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug. Jesus refers to himself as the cornerstone and the rock which his church is founded upon. This direct command calls me to look to Jesus in order to hear God’s voice.
Next I am to hearken… for a law shall proceed from God. I am to mediate upon his law. Psalm 119 is a fitting place to start.
“Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.” Psalm 119:1-2
The last call is to fear not the reproach of man. Interesting considering the first two calls to listen. If I focus on Jesus and mediate on his law regardless of reproach, maybe I won’t be afraid of what people say or think about me.
The invitation in Isaiah chapter 55 to incline my ear to him is my favorite. Incline means to feel willing or favorably disposed toward something. To truly hear is to come willingly to him. The reward is that my soul shall live and the God of the universe will make an everlasting covenant with me—his merciful covenant which does not condemn, but rather gives everlasting life.
I take the hearing aids out. Now I feel truly deaf. It’s kind of pleasant not hearing so many sounds. Everything is still and quiet. It’s rather peaceful. In the same way, it’s tempting to believe it’s peaceful not listening to the Holy Spirit – guiding my every step, challenging me to stretch and grow. I’d be free to walk in my own way. Is this the freedom my heart truly desires or is it a deceptive silence? In Proverbs, God’s voice seeks me passionately.
“Wisdom calls out in the street; she raises her voice in the public squares. She cries out above the commotion…” Proverbs 1:21
The choice is mine. Will I choose to live in pseudo spiritualized silence or allow the Holy Spirit to gently turn up the volume on my spiritual hearing aids so I might hear the voice of life and begin to truly live.
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