With three women in the house, my husband has learned to ‘tune out’ much of the daily conversation. He works on the assumption that very little of it pertains to him. But there are those moments when he suddenly notices that all three of us are staring at him waiting for a response. “Oh,” he says “are you talking to me?” And even if we repeat the question, at this point he has no context for the conversation because he hasn’t been paying attention. Can you blame him? The constant flow of conversation is probably exhausting for someone of his personality. And even we girls would agree that every word out of our mouths is not necessarily worthy of his attention!
We all probably have times we are not really paying attention when someone is talking. But what about when God is talking? Do we make the same choices? Do we consider it overwhelming and so we just ‘tune out’?
You have to admit, there is a lot to learn about being a Christ follower! With 66 books in the Bible and only one lifetime to study them all, we may think it is a daunting task. And it may be tempting to dive into the ‘love one another’ passages and ignore the ‘be holy as I am holy’ passages. We think we understand love better than holiness. The problem is if we do not listen because it is hard, we will miss so much of what He wants to tell us.
Unlike we humans, every word from God is worthy of our attention. After all, it is God, JEHOVAH, talking, right? 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Certainly, if it is all God-breathed, it is all worthy of our attention. If we are not being good listeners, we may misunderstand or be easily confused. We may miss the context in which He is communicating, and therefore miss the meaning of the message.
But maybe we are not paying attention simply because we do not realize He is talking to us?
I know I am not alone in this. I am thinking of those times when you are sitting in the pew, the Pastor is speaking, and you can see so clearly how his teaching applies to so and so. You think to yourself “I hope they are paying attention.” In fact, if they are sitting next to you and you know them well enough, you may even give them a gentle nudge with your elbow. Then as the message continues, the Spirit suddenly pricks your heart getting your attention and you pause to ask the Lord. “Oh…are you talking to me?”
Suddenly confronted with the realization that the God of heaven is speaking to you, to your heart, you stop and turn your full attention to Him.
God is so patient and there is so much He wants to say to us. He told Job “Pay attention, Job and listen to me; be silent and I will speak.” (Job 33:31) There was no mistaking who God was talking to! Today He still is constantly communicating through His created world, His Word and His people. Pay attention, He IS talking to you and me!