Hearing vs. Listening
Hearing is a physiological fact of our existence/experience that the vibrations in the air are picked up and sent to the brain through our ear. What is the difference and or similarity in listening and hearing? On the other hand, listing really means to pay close attention to the sound. To hear something with thoughtful intention and give it consideration. Listening really is a lifelong skill that will serve us well in our relationship with God and with others.
The Wiseman said to us in Proverbs 4:20-22, “My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life”. Listening is paying close attention to what is being said. The Lord is saying to us to pay attention to his words. We have access through the scripture. Our own individual spirit man is born again by the Holy Spirit that we can hear spiritually the Holy Spirit in our spirit. With that, we can and should pay close attention to his words in the scripture and incline our ears to his sayings. What we listen to really gets into our heart. Then what is in our heart really comes out in our words and actions. We are encouraged to take God’s word, which is life in and of itself, then those words being health to our flesh.
An example of this is found in the book of 1 Kings 19, where Elijah was scared and essentially became a hermit and was forty days running from Jezebel. I am paraphrasing 1 Kings 19:8-18. He went into a cave and the Lord asked him what he was doing there. He proceeded to tell God that he was zealous, but he is the only one left and they are coming to kill him. In verse 11-12 the Lord says, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord. And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.” The Lord allowed these manifestations to come, wind, earthquake and fire, which can be spiritual demonstrations in our life as well. Yet he was teaching Elijah an important message that applied to us. It says the Lord was not in it, but after the fire a still small voice. He is bringing Elijah into a personal contact with him through the sound of God’s voice, a still small voice in his spirit. Elijah then went back out and God again asked him what are you doing here. Elijah repeated that he had been very zealous and they were coming to take his life.
Then in verses 15-16 the Lord says, “Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazael as king over Syria. Also you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as a prophet in your place”.
He said the process now is raising up a successor. He is given a specific name of who his successor should be and that is Elisha. Then of course, he was given the name of two kings. As a prophet, he was sent to start a new leadership and was given specific direction to anoint men of God to perform certain task. The Lord concluded the encounter by saying I have seven thousand more who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Then he sent Elijah on his way to go do what God had asked him to do.
When we pray for our children, our friends or others on our heart, God can give us a specific word of encouragement, exhortation, and a voice in their life that builds them up and helps them with vision and purpose in their lives and their God given destiny.
I experienced this with one of my grandsons. I listened to him tell me of his reoccurring bad dreams. It was in detail of a man sneaking into his house, pulling him out of bed, taking him into the woods and killing him. All of this happening without anyone hearing it happen. We went over it together several times and why that was not going to happen. He had his parents, the family dog, his siblings who sleep in the same room as him and most of all the Holy Spirit is in him and with him. We also fasted and prayed together. The fear finally broke and he is now able to sleep by himself in peace. This miracle all started with listening.
Our thought and message for you today is be a hearer and just as important be a listener to the Lord. Develop that skill with patience and effort as also you hear for others who perhaps need that extra encouragement and are not hearing that well for themselves.
I am going to lead you in a prayer for salvation today. Father in Jesus name, I ask you Jesus to save me. Cleanse me of my sins. I turn to you today, give life to my spirit and cause me to be born again. I pray it in Jesus name, Amen.