For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them;  but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.” Proverbs 1:32-33

It happens all the time. We see it time and time again as parents, grandparents and teachers. We tell those under our tutelage to do this thing or we tell them not to do that thing. We turn our backs for a moment and disaster strikes. They did EXACTLY the opposite of what we told them. Now they are in trouble and wondering why this happened to them.

And…our response is? “This happened because you didn’t listen to me”

They respond back with all sincerity, “But I did listen to you. I just didn’t do what I heard!”

So, we shake our heads in love (or frustration or disappointment or perhaps even anger) and say, “No, you may have heard me but you did not listen to me.”

A minor point but one that makes all the difference in the world! King Solomon warns the reader of Proverbs that hearing isn’t enough. We must listen to what God says. To hear and not act is like the wayward child who wanders off in the store, woods or crowd and gets lost, some tragically so. Others hear but don’t act because they are comfortable where they are. Complacency breeds apathy and destroys progress.

The Apostle James says, “Don’t just be hearers. Be doers!” or perhaps another way of saying that would be to say, “Don’t just hear what God says. Prove that you have listened to His words by carrying out the things He tells you.

When we listen to what God says we live in peace. We live in peace because we listen to what He says about us,  that He loves us, will provide for us, will keep us, will guide us. We live in without fear of harm because we have listened to what He says about Holy Living. As we grow in our relationship with Him we learn to live lives that are compassionate, strong, loving and holy. We are patient with those we love, forgiving of those who hurt us, and compassionate with those who have lost their way.

God loved you enough to send His Son to die for you. Like a lonely lover He longs to tell you how He feels about you, to hear your feelings on life and to guide you along the rugged roads of life’s journey. Listen carefully for He is not a yeller. His voice is soft and gentle, compassionate and caring, loving and kind. His calling is easily drowned out by the empty noise of this world.

PRAYER: Father God. There are so many times in my life when I have heard your voice and neglected to listen. Time and again I find myself far from you, struggling in the wilderness of my own making and longing to return to fellowship with you. Thank you for being so patient with me. Help me to not only hear but act on what I’ve heard so that I can enjoy all the benefits of listening to your wisdom and guidance. I give you all the praise and honor and glory. In the name of your Son Jesus, Amen.