Listen! This is an action word! To listen, you must actively make a point of inclining your ear towards the object you are listening to. You can hear something but not listen to it. Just ask any parent! How many times do you say to your child, “Listen to me”? What we mean when we say that is “pay attention – actively listen to what I am saying!”
How many times do we resist our own advice? We ask God for direction but yet we fail to “listen”. We whine and complain that God doesn’t speak to us. We call out to God, “Where are you?” We constantly pray and ask, pray and ask, yet…
God is faithful to speak but we must be faithful to listen. Listening takes practice. We hear sometimes but not actually listen to what is being said. Right now, I hear a multitude of noises. Music from the radio, the AC fighting the GA heat, the hum of the refrigerator, the sound of me typing on the keyboard… But I am not actively listening to those sounds. I don’t know what song is playing right now. I don’t know how long the air has been running (probably constantly) because I am not actively paying attention. If I focus I can hear that “Waiting Here For You” is playing on K-Love. but I had to incline my ear towards the door to my office so that I could hear it well enough to make out the words.
This is what we do with God. We allow all of the noises of life to drown out his voice. We could hear if only we tried. We don’t “listen” for His voice. There are many examples in the Bible of those who actively positioned themselves to hear what God had to say. They were listening!
Habakkuk says in Habakkuk 2:1, “I will stand my watch and set myself upon the rampart and watch and see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected.” Habakkuk positioned himself to hear! He didn’t just say, while I’m going on with life, hopefully I will hear God when He speaks. No! He actively and purposely positioned himself. He said I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart and watch and see what He will say to me. He didn’t doubt that God would speak. He said, “what He WILL say to me”. Then in verse 2, “Then the Lord answered me and said…” What happened when he actively positioned himself to hear? God answered!
Let’s not skip an important part of this verse. Habakkuk fully expected to be corrected yet he still actively listened. How many times do we “listen” for the positive instruction but when it comes to correction or maybe an answer we do not want to hear, we don’t put the same effort into listening? We put our fingers in our ears and sing “la la la” and then say God didn’t speak to me!
Let’s dissect this verse for a minute so you can get the full understanding of what it means to actively listen. “I will stand my watch”. Webster’s defines watch as “to be awake, to look and wait expectantly, the act of keeping mentally awake or alert, a period of close observation often to discover something”.
Stong’s concordance defines watch as, “your duty, to keep your post, observance to be kept. A watchman leans forward, peers into the distance, observes, awaits, to wait for”. Does this sound like a casual event to you? So, as you stand your watch, you stay alert, wait expectantly, lean forward as in expectation to see, you wait and see what He will say.
A rampart is an elevated wall on top of a tower for protection or a mound of dirt surrounding a soldier to protect from enemy fire. So, Habakkuk not only is on watch for an answer, he is also protecting himself from the enemy as a good watchman or soldier would do.
We must stand our watch or posture ourselves to hear from God. We must be as serious as a watchman on a tower about hearing God’s voice. Usually, God is speaking and we don’t hear because we are not listening. We also are not watchful for the tactics of the enemy to distract us and to engage us in other areas so as to take our minds off of actively listening. Satan doesn’t want you to hear God’s voice. He wants you to think that God doesn’t care enough about you to talk to you. But that is simply not true and is a lie from the devil. God wants to lead and guide us. He wants to have relationship with us. He wants to have conversation with us. He speaks but are we listening!
A true sign that we are God’s mature children is that we hear Him when He speaks to us. John 8:47 says “He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.” But we must not only hear, we must obey what God says. Proverbs 22:17 says to “Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge.” We must incline our ear to hear and then we must apply (or to establish for action) that which He speaks.
So the next time you declare that God is not speaking to you, examine yourself to see if you have indeed positioned yourself to hear Him. Have you inclined your ear to hear? Are you waiting expectantly for what He will answer? If not, get into position and LISTEN!