Hear | Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Hear, O Israel! God, our God! God the one and only! Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that’s in you, love him with all you’ve got! Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 | MSG
Note the progression of commands in this statement of what has come to be known as the “great commandment.” Love. Write. Talk. Tie. Inscribe. But preceding them all is hear. Sh’ma Yisrael. Hear, O Israel. Before love, before word, or writing and inscribing (Scripture!) we must hear. Hearing is the primary practice from which all these other practices follow. Opening our ears to the centering reality of the one God who made all things, who made us, who holds all things together by the Word of his power, who sustains us by each Word from his mouth, is the spring from which all of life flows. Our problem is we are great talkers but terrible listeners! Listening is a lost art. Like the psalmist we need ears dug into our heads. That’s the literal translation of Psalm 40:6, rendered in the King James translation, “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.” God digs ears in us because the ultimate service he desires is our responsive listening. Being Marthas busy about much service and sacrifice and offerings, we habitually forget that it is the listening posture of Mary that makes all other service meaningful. So much easier for us to just roll up our sleeves and work. So much harder to sit before him, and let him dig the ears in our heads and hearts to hear.
James says, “Be swift to hear, slow to speak.” What is your own ratio of talking to hearing? How well do you really listen?
One Lord, one God, one Father of all, dig ears in this stubborn head that’s bent more on talking and venting then in listening. Give me the grace – and let me stop long enough – to risk hearing today.
Focus on letting others finish their sentences today. Don’t interrupt. Make eye contact. Listen on a deeper level than perhaps you are used to. Just for a day. Try it.
For all of this week’s resources for this new series on Spiritual Disciplines including this week’s DG video, check out the Vineyard website.