October 5, 2017

God calling, Can you hear Me now?

While studying Luke 8 for my Bible discussion group this week, I kept being drawn to verse 18, which in the King James Version says, “Take heed therefore how ye hear.”

Immediately the verse brought to mind how severe critics of a church denomination, political person, or anyone else just cannot seem to hear what’s actually being said. No matter what’s said or done, the people set against them will not (cannot?) hear what’s meant or even have a clue where that person or group is coming from.

Jesus wants us to know where He’s coming from! He does not want to leave us clueless.

In verse 21, Jesus clearly states, “My mother and brothers are those who hear (listen to) the Word of God and act on it.” Obviously, this statement did not push Mary aside, but included her as one who heard and immediately responded to God’s Word. Otherwise, she never could have given birth to Jesus!

Like Mary and Jesus, some people are related by blood, but we relate to Jesus through our ears – by what we hear and how we respond.

To fine-tune my own hearing, I visited the Bible Gateway website and looked up Luke 8:18 in a variety of translations:

English Standard Version says, “Take care then how you hear,” and the New American Bible (Revised Edition) adds only commas, “Take care, then, how you hear.”

New Living Translation says, “So pay attention to how you hear.”

New Revised Standard Version says, “Then pay attention to how you listen.”

New International Version says, “Therefore consider carefully how you listen.”

That’s the first part of hearing God: really listening, paying attention, and carefully considering what we hear. But there’s more to the verse than that.

The complete verse in the new Amplified Bible says:

“So be careful how you listen; for whoever has [a teachable heart], to him more [understanding] will be given; and whoever does not have [a longing for truth], even what he thinks he has will be taken away.”

May God help each of us to have a teachable heart, long for the truth, and clearly hear God’s Word. Perhaps then, we – as a Christian person, church, and country – can better discern God’s voice and know where we’re to go from here.

Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2017, poet-author of over 30 books in all genres, including the new nonfiction book, What the Bible Says About Love

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