I will listen to what God the LORD says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants—but let them not turn to folly.
Sometimes I struggle with listening. You’d think that it was a fairly basic skill, but for some reason, I can be really bad at it. This is particularly true when I meet people for the first time and they tell me their name. I hear their response, but it just doesn’t seem to register, and consequently I finish the conversation and have no idea what they’re called. I’m sure I’m not alone in this. I’m sure there are many of us who could do with improving our listening skills!
Listening to God is something that I’m sure even more of us struggle with. We might talk to God, we might sing to him in church, and we might pray to him, but listening is something else entirely. The Psalmist in today’s verse, though, is insistent that he will listen to God. He knows that the message that God has is well worth listening to. God promises peace to his people. If we join God’s faithful servants and strive to follow God, he offers us peace, an end to the ongoing war that we wage with God if we turn our backs on him. We just need to listen!
How do we hear God speak to us? I personally believe that the most significant way God talks to us is through his word in the Bible. Whenever I have felt God’s presence the most strongly, whenever I have known he is speaking to me, it has been through a verse or passage of scripture. That might be when I read the Bible in a quiet time, or when I hear the Bible read at church, when a verse pops unexpectedly into my mind, or when I’m listening to a scriptural song. This is why for me it is vital that we seek to immerse ourselves in scripture. If we don’t read, study and reflect on God’s word, we miss out on a major opportunity for God to speak to us.
The psalmist also warns us in this verse not to turn to folly, the ways that we followed before we repented and gave our lives to following Christ. When we repent we promise to live our lives in a way that is worthy of being followers of Christ, to strive to be like him. We promise to turn from our old ways. We might be saved but we should strive to live our lives in a pure and blameless way that honours Christ. How can we be sure that we’re doing this? By listening to God, reading the Bible and reflecting on his word.
The best way to be sure we listen to God is to get into the habit of studying the Bible every day. Why not strive to do this in the weeks and months ahead? Crossring publishes a Daily Reflection each weekday. Why not stop by each day and reflect with us on our daily passage of scripture? We’d love you to post your own thoughts and reflections with each Reflection so that we can share and learn together!