“The Lord says, ‘Listen now, Israel, my servant, my chosen people, the descendants of Jacob’”.
Isa 44:1 GNB
We live in a noisy world! The roar of planes overhead, the thunder of trains and the purr of motor car engines all invade our world. So do mobile phones, ordinary phones, radio adverts, television adverts and the blare of amplified music thumping out from motor cars and combis. So many sounds confuse us. Some annoy us. And no doubt many mislead us.
But God, speaking through the prophet Isaiah, commanded his people to listen to him. He had spoken to them many times over the centuries. In their exodus journey from Egypt to Israel God had spoken to their leader, Moses. The Ten Commandments he had given them were known thereafter as “the words”. They demanded that people honour and worship God and that they respect other people, their property and families. But the attention span of the Israelites was very short-lived. Now their failure to listen, which led to their disobedience, had landed them in this pickle far away from Jerusalem and in danger of disappearing off the international radar-screen completely.
Jesus, more than five hundred years later, came with a message which the descendants of these exiles needed to hear. They still hadn’t learned. They had decided beforehand what they wanted God to say, and when he tried to say something else, they switched off their spiritual sound-systems.
Today, with the multiplicity of voices and noises hammering in our ears, we again need to stop and listen. When we do, God speaks. He doesn’t always speak soft words of sweet comfort though. It can be command, or challenge, or even judgment. We fail to listen at our peril.
Lord, help me always to be attentive to you.