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Part of the FBCS 2010 Read Through the Bible Project: Enter the Story. Join the Song.

Listening Matters . . .

John 16:5-33    2 Chronicles 24    Psalm 81

“Then the king listened to them” (2 Chronicles 24:17). Today’s readings speak of listening. And invite us to consider who, and what, we listen to. King Joash “did right in the sight of the Lord” (v.2) and then he did not (v.17-27). And how does the chronicler account for this change? It had to do with who the king did — and did not — listen to (2 Chronicles 24:2,17,19). In Psalm 81 the voice of God speaks, offering to feed and satisfy (v.10,16), but it all depends on the willingness to listen and obey (v.8,13). And in John 16, Jesus speaks instruction and comfort, promising that the Spirit of truth “will guide you into all the truth” (v.13). But it takes listening to him, and not the world, for this word to take root and bring joy and courage (v.20,33). Clearly, listening matters . . .

“If you would but listen to me!” (Psalm 81:8). O the amazing gifts God offers! Filling. Satisfaction. Presence. Peace. Truth. Guidance. Joy. Courage. Triumph. Love and life! But there are so many voices clamoring for our attention; so many “advisors” offering their services and answers . . . How easy it can be to give ear to the loudest voice! Or the voice that flatters (2 Chronicles 24:17). And how intentional we must be to pay attention to the Spirit of truth through such disciplines as prayer, reading scripture, and seeking God first and foremost. But listen: It is in learning to listen to the voice of God that full life and deep joy are found. Who and what we choose to listen to does, indeed, matter.

“I am not alone because the Father is with me” (John 16:32). And how did Jesus know this? Because he listened to the Father (John 12:49). Just as the Spirit listens (John 16:13). And notice: the Spirit “speaks whatever he hears” (John 16:13). As did Jesus. As do we. Which is why it is vital to our spiritual health and the well-being of those around us that we follow the model of Jesus and the Spirit. May know this day that we are never alone. May we believe that God is speaking and seeking to guide us into all truth. And may we learn to listen to the voice of the Lord and order our lives accordingly. Amen.

“I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace.
In the world you face persecution.
But take courage;
I have conquered the world!”

     — John 16:33

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