The Listener

         It’s one thing to be heard, but yet another to be listened to. Listening shows we care; listening demonstrates love. When someone has listened to us, we feel a sense of satisfaction and worth. We know that the listener esteems as important our opinions and/or feelings. To be listened to is to be valued and respected. But that’s not all; when someone has truly listened, we expect that their corresponding actions would adjust to reflect their understanding of what we have said. When a person hears but doesn’t listen, there’s no change in behavior. Our talking has been in vain. If a person doesn’t truly listen to us, we find ourselves less and less willing to open up. Then eventually, we stop communicating altogether because we know our words and feelings just aren’t valued. And when our words and feelings are not esteemed, the relationship itself loses its significance as well.

          God listens. Psalm 116:1-2 says, “I love the LORD, because He has heard my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live” (NKJ). There are three important words related to listening in these verses. The word “heard” in verse one comes from the Hebrew word “shama`” which means “to hear intelligently, with implication of attention [and] obedience.” The word “inclined” in verse two is “natah” which means “to stretch or bow down.” This is the idea of leaning in close to hear what’s being said. Finally, the word “ear,” also in verse two, is “’ozen” which means “broadness.” The idea here is to broaden out the ear with the hand, like when we put our hand to our ear as if to catch more of the sound.

         When these three words—heard, inclined, and ear—are understood, Psalm 116:1-2 has extra-special impact. These verses are letting us know that God listens attentively and closely, blocking out all distractions as we talk to Him, with the intention of doing something about what we have said. As we watch God operate in response to our prayers, the relationship is strengthened. We grow more and more in love with the God who hears and cares enough to move on our behalf.

         Knowing that God listens this attentively to us causes us to feel valued and therefore loved by Him. We, in turn, respond by loving Him. It’s a precious cycle. Let’s continue that cycle by becoming more like God when we extend an attentive, listening ear to others.

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©2011 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

 And pick up a copy of Sharon’s new book, Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame, available at Christian bookstores, online, from New Hope Publishers, and from the Life That Matters Ministries’ website.

 

~ by sanewriter on November 1, 2011.

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