Posts Tagged ‘Isaiah 50:4-5’

Did you hear. . . Are you listening?

April 12, 2017

Instead of the usual Verse of the Day, the blog entry for April 12, 2017 is another “Quote of the Day” which in this case is based on two questions: “Did you hear what I said? Are you listening to me?” These two questions also bring to mind a related verse found in James 1:22 (NKJV):

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

The same verse was the basis for a previous blog entry entitled “Hearing vs. Listening: The Art of Listening” which is revised and re-posted here:

James 1:22 also brought to mind a number of thoughts regarding the distinction between hearing and listening, as I thought of a discussion on “listening” in a public speaking class that I teach.

In discussing the communication process, we noted the difference between “hearing” and “listening.” Indeed, hearing and listening are not synonymous. According to Stephen Lucas, hearing is “the process by which sound waves are received on the ear; it is the sense by which sound is perceived.” We hear the ambient sounds that surround us without really paying any attention to the fan on the computer or the air conditioning or the ticking of the clock.

On the other hand, listening is the act of interpreting and evaluating what is being said; it is an active activity that involves receiving, deciphering, and perceiving a message with intent to respond. Hearing is passive, whereas listening should be active. Keith Davis comments, “Hearing is with the ears; listening is with the mind.”

In Chinese calligraphy, the character for “listen” consists of pictures of the ear, the eye, and the heart, illustrated in this way:

The discussion regarding hearing and listening also brought to mind that listening is an art that is perfected over time by conscious, consistent effort to improve. This is especially true in a spiritual context whereby believers must learn to listen to God. We find that God is always speaking; indeed, God is never not speaking. As we continually place our ears near to the lips of God, we develop our proficiency in listening to hear the Master’s voice, as we practice in order to perfect this art:

The Art of Listening

God has something to say to you,
God has something to say.
Listen, Listen, Pay close attention.
God has something to say.

Children’s Song

The Lord GOD has given Me
The tongue of the learned,
That I should know how to speak
A word in season to him who is weary.
He awakens Me morning by morning,
He awakens My ear
To hear as the learned.

The Lord GOD has opened My ear;
And I was not rebellious,
Nor did I turn away.

Isaiah 50:4-5

Listen, listen, children: hear with the inner ear.
Tune your ears to hear in the center of your heart.
I will whisper cherished secrets as you come near.
To listen intently and obey is an art,
Practiced and perfected day by day.
As you hide my Word in the center of your heart,
I perform and bring to pass each word that I say.
In my unfolding Kingdom, you too have a part,
For to walk in love is the more excellent way.
Partake of my promises and consume my Word.
As precious as life-giving water, hold it dear
And do my will, proving all things that you have heard.
Listen intently and obey: Perfect this art.
Listen, listen, children: hear with the inner ear.

Although I use this poem when I teach the section on listening in the oral communication classes that I teach, quite providentially, I wrote the poem years before I started teaching these classes. When when the poem was first read at a Bible study, someone pointed out that at the center of the piece is the word “heart” which encompasses hear, ear, and art, all of which reinforce the message, as illustrated in this way:

Without a doubt we must strive each day to become more proficient at developing the “art of listening.”

As we close, listen to the JumpStart3 contemporary Scripture Memory Song of James 1:22:

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Word to the weary

January 9, 2017

isaiah-50-4

As we move into the second week of the New Year, I wanted to share a response to a friend who asked if I had a word of encouragement for one who is “weary.” In thinking about “a word to the weary,” several scriptures came to mind as well as a previous blog post that also made reference to “the weary.” Today’s entry combines those two elements in a fresh word of exhortation for anyone who at any time, particularly lately, may have grown tired and weary.
First of all, the topic brought to mind this verse from the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition:

Isaiah 50:4

[The Servant of God says] The Lord God has given Me the tongue of a disciple and of one who is taught, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. He wakens Me morning by morning, He wakens My ear to hear as a disciple [as one who is taught].

Another verse also comes to mind as a source of encouragement from the words of the Lord Jesus Christ found in Matthew 11:28 (Holman Christian Standard Bible):

“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

In thinking about Jesus Christ, remember this exhortation from Hebrews 13:2-3

2 Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 Just think of Him Who endured from sinners such grievous opposition and bitter hostility against Himself [reckon up and consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds.

Finally, from Galatians 6:9 (AMPC):

And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint.

This word is echoed in 2 Thessalonians 3:13 (AMPC)

And as for you, brethren, do not become weary or lose heart in doing right [but continue in well-doing without weakening].

Another Old Testament passage related to being weary comes from Isaiah 40:28 31(NLT):

28 Have you never heard?
Have you never understood?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
29 He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
30 Even youths will become weak and tired,1
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
31 But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.

During this intense time of transition, as believers move forward, going from faith to faith, from glory to glory, and from victory to victory, we all can grow weary to the point of utter exhaustion as we strive toward the next level of excellence in our lives. The words that we need to undergird and support us come from the Word of God. God, our faithful Father, is always speaking, but we may not always be listening. As children of God, we need to tune our ears to hear to word of God. The opening verse of our discussion comes from Isaiah 50:4 which is part of the introduction to this poetic exhortation that as believers we must develop:

The Art of Listening

God has something to say to you,
God has something to say.
Listen, Listen, Pay close attention.
God has something to say.

Children’s Song

The Lord GOD has given Me
The tongue of the learned,
That I should know how to speak
A word in season to him who is weary.
He awakens Me morning by morning,
He awakens My ear
To hear as the learned.
The Lord GOD has opened My ear;
And I was not rebellious,
Nor did I turn away.

Isaiah 50:4-5

Listen, listen, dear ones; hear with the inner ear.
Tune your ears to hear in the center of your heart.
I will whisper cherished secrets as you come near.
To listen intently and obey is an art,
Practiced and perfected day by day.
As you hide my Word in the center of your heart,
I perform and bring to pass each word that I say.
In my unfolding Kingdom, you too have a part,
For to walk in love is the more excellent way.
Partake of my promises and consume my Word.
As precious as life-giving water, hold it dear
And do my will, proving all things that you have heard.
Listen intently and obey: Perfect this art.
Listen, listen, dear ones; hear with the inner ear.

We conclude with Mercy Me offering “Word of God Speak”:

As we press further into the New Year, let us not be weary in well doing but perfect the “Art of Listening” in “2017, the best year we have ever seen.”

Listen to me: The art of listening

September 10, 2016

Isaiah 46--4

The Verse for the Day for September 10, 2016 provides great comfort and strength, as the Word of God speaks from Isaiah 46:4 in the Message Bible:

“Listen to me, family of Jacob, everyone that’s left of the family of Israel. I’ve been carrying you on my back from the day you were born, And I’ll keep on carrying you when you’re old. I’ll be there, bearing you when you’re old and gray. I’ve done it and will keep on doing it, carrying you on my back, saving you.

The opening phrase, “Listen to me,” brings to mind to mind a number of thoughts regarding the distinction between hearing and listening, as I recall a previous blog entry related pointing out the difference between “hearing” and “listening.” These two terms are not synonymous. Hearing is “the process by which sound waves are received on the ear; it is the sense by which sound is perceived.” We hear the ambient sounds that surround us without really paying any attention to the fan on the computer or the air conditioning or the ticking of the clock. On the other hand, listening is the act of interpreting and evaluating what is being said; it is an active activity that involves receiving, deciphering, and perceiving a message with intent to respond.  Hearing is passive, whereas listening should be active. Keith Davis comments, “Hearing is with the ears; listening is with the mind.”                                                                

In Chinese calligraphy, the character for “to listen” consists of pictures of the ear, the eye, and the heart, illustrated in this way:

to-listen

The discussion regarding hearing and listening also brings to mind that listening is an art that is perfected over time by conscious, consistent effort to improve. This is especially true in a spiritual context whereby believers must learn to listen to God. We find that God is always speaking; indeed, God is never not speaking. As we continually place our ears near to the lips of God, we develop our proficiency in listening to hear the Master’s voice, as we practice in order to perfect this art:

 The Art of Listening         

God has something to say to you,

 God has something to say.

 Listen, Listen, Pay close attention.  

 God has something to say.

 Children’s Song

 

The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of the learned,                                                                            That I should know how to speak
A word in season to him who is weary.
He awakens Me morning by morning,
He awakens My ear
To hear as the learned.

The Lord GOD has opened My ear;
And I was not rebellious,
Nor did I turn away.

Isaiah 50:4-5

 

Listen, listen, my son: hear with the inner ear.

Tune your ears to hear in the center of your heart.

I will whisper cherished secrets as you come near.

To listen intently and obey is an art,

Practiced and perfected day by day.

As you hide my Word in the center of your heart,

I perform and bring to pass each word that I say.

In my unfolding Kingdom, you too have a part,

For to walk in love is the more excellent way.

Partake of my promises and consume my Word.

As precious as life-giving water, hold it dear

And do my will, proving all things that you have heard.

Listen intently and obey: Perfect this art.

Listen, listen, my son: hear with the inner ear.

Although I use this poem when I teach the section on listening in the oral communication classes that I teach, quite providentially, I wrote the poem years before I started teaching these classes. When I first read the poem at a Bible study, someone pointed out that at the center of the piece is the word “heart” which encompasses hear, ear, and art, all of which reinforce the message, as illustrated in this remarkable way:

                                                                HEART

HEAR

EAR

ART

H*E*A*R*T

To conclude our discussion, we offer this musical selection by Twila Paris, “I will listen.”

 

To serve, to fear, to obey, to listen, and to cling.

October 9, 2015

Deuteronomy_13-4Verse of the Day for October 9, 2015 is found in Deuteronomy 13:4 (NLT):

Serve only the Lord your God and fear him alone. Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him.

This verse contains directives to the Children of Israel expressed in the form of five verbs:To serve, to fear, to obey, to listen, and to cling. In a similar way these action words could be applied to our lives today.

The first verb is “serve.”

Deuteronomy 6:13 (Amplified Bible) reiterates the same message that the people of God are to serve Him alone:

You shall fear [only] the Lord your God; and you shall serve Him [with awe-filled reverence and profound respect] and swear [oaths] by His name [alone].

When Jesus Christ was tempted of the Devil in the wilderness, the Savior’s response came from Deuteronomy 6:13:

Matthew 4:10 (Amplified Bible)

Then Jesus said to him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written and forever remains written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’”

Regarding to fear, as in to have the fear of the Lord, Job 28:28 (NLT) offers this reminder:

And this is what he says to all humanity: ‘The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.’”

The Psalmist echoes a similar sentiment in Psalm 111:10 (NLT)

Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom. Praise him forever!

Amplified Bible also connects the fear of the Lord with obedience:

The [reverent] fear of the Lord [that leads to obedience and worship] is a fountain of life, So that one may avoid the snares of death.

Regarding the verb to obey, Deuteronomy 11:22 offers these words of wisdom:

“Be careful to obey all these commands I am giving you. Show love to the Lord your God by walking in his ways and holding tightly to him.

In addition the people of God are to “listen to His voice:

Deuteronomy 13:18 tells us:

“The Lord your God will be merciful only if you listen to his voice and keep all his commands that I am giving you today, doing what pleases him.

The expression “listen to his voice” brings to mind the following poem which encourages believers to perfect listening as a highly developed art:

The Art of Listening                          

God has something to say to you,

God has something to say.

Listen, Listen, Pay close attention.

God has something to say.

Children’s Song

 

 

The Lord GOD has given me

The tongue of the learned

That I should know how to speak

A word in season to him who is weary.

He awakens me morning by morning,

He awakens my ear

To hear as the learned.

The Lord GOD has opened my ear;    

And I was not rebellious,

Nor did I turn away.

Isaiah 50:4-5

Listen, listen, my son: hear with the inner ear.

Tune your ears to hear in the center of your heart.

I will whisper cherished secrets as you come near.

To listen intently and obey is an art,

Practiced and perfected day by day.

As you hide my Word in the center of your heart,

I perform and bring to pass each word that I say.

In my unfolding Kingdom, you too have a part,

For to walk in love is the more excellent way.

Partake of my promises and consume my Word.

As precious as life-giving water, hold it dear

And do my will, proving all things that you have heard.

Listen intently and obey: Perfect this art.

Listen, listen, my son: hear with the inner ear.

The final verb is cling where Deuteronomy 10:20 provides another directive to fear and to cling:

You must fear the Lord your God and worship him and cling to him. Your oaths must be in his name alone.

The Psalmist also  makes this statement:

Psalm 119:31(NLT):

I cling to your laws. Lord, don’t let me be put to shame!

In summary, the Verse of the Day encompasses five powerful verbs that God commands His people to apply to their lives: To serve, to fear, to obey, to listen, and to cling.

We conclude with Geoff Moore and Steven Curtis Chapman offering a song about listening to the voice of God: “Listen to our Hearts”: