Hear, Oh Israel is a common phrase in the Old Testament. Over and over again God would call His people to obey Him, to remember His commands and to pay attention to what He was doing. He urged them to hear Him. But in order to hear they had to listen. And in order to listen, they needed to care enough to pay attention. So often they just didn’t pay attention.
Never in my life have a cared more about this thing called, attention. The reason is because it’s currently my sons greatest challenge. And it affects everything he does. He is just a young boy, and this is an extremely common problem in boys his age. However it seems my entire parenting experience with him these days is asking him this one question…are you listening?
Son…Are you LISTENING?
I ask the question because I know he’s not. Calling his attention back to the things that he needs is all I do everyday. Otherwise all he would do is watch TV, play video games and play Lego’s. I’m not even completely sure he would eat if I didn’t call his attention to that very important need.
Left to his own will my son would completely ignore some of his most basic needs in favor of fleeting desires.
But isn’t that the same for us all?
Our culture is calling our attention in thousands of different places every single day. And so many of them speak so eloquently to my own fleeting desires, that it becomes easy to entertain all the wrong voices.
I listen up readily to the cultures callings and by doing so snuff out the opportunity to hear from God.
In the same way that God called the Israelites to hear Him, so does Jesus to His people…
And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear. ~ Mark 4:9
And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand.” ~ Matthew 15:10
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. ~ John 10:27
God also called us to listen to Jesus…
And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” ~ Mark 9:7
During Jesus ministry on earth, He consistently had to call people’s attention to what He was doing and why He was doing it. Because what He said and did was of extreme importance. And all of it was on His journey to the Cross. When He performed miracles it wasn’t to be a show-off, it was to vindicate His claims about His own divinity, so that people would believe in Him.
Their belief was of high importance because of what was to come.
The cheering crowds of admiration for a man who heals was about to turn into shouts for His murder, and what people believed about Him would hang in the balance. Peter knew this all too well when he denied Christ three times.
This Holy week is an opportunity for us all to listen up. I don’t mean naval-gaze and wait for some audible special message from the Lord. I mean…Hear Oh, Israel what the Lord has done!
He has a Word for us and He was loving enough to record it in Scripture, so we could hear it over and over again as our ADD heart’s need. His Word is there just waiting to be heard by His people. And every Easter is a solemn remembrance of what He’s done.
In the same way that I consistently ask my son…are you listening? So Jesus is asking you.
This week we get to remember and hear about the burden and victory of the gospel. We get to listen to the pain and the turmoil and the blood. The earth shaking and the people trembling. And then marvel in the joy of life restored forevermore. When your pastor heralds this glorious good news throughout the weekend…sit up and take note! It is nourishment for our souls. And we desperately need it.
Those who have ears, listen to this…Hear His voice and understand!
If ever there was a time to pay attention. It’s now.