Open Your Ears!
Jeremiah 13:15As things kept getting worse with the children of Israel, as they persisted in worshiping idols and ignoring justice, God kept on warning them of the consequences of their behavior. If they did not repent, soon Jerusalem would be sacked by foreign enemies, and the people would be killed or scattered. In desperation, Jeremiah cried out, “Listen and pay attention! Do not be arrogant, for the LORD has spoken” (13:15).
In Hebrew, the words translated here as “listen” (shama‘) and “pay attention” (’azan) have similar meanings. The second verb is closely related to the Hebrew word for “ear” (’ozen), and means something like “open your ears” or “use your ears.” As God was speaking through the prophet Jeremiah, the people needed to use their ears and pay attention.
What was keeping them from hearing what God had to say? Arrogance! The imperative translated here as “Do not be arrogant” meant, more literally, “Do not be high and exalted.” The people of Judah, and especially their leaders, thought so much of themselves that they were not willing to listen openly and humbly to God. Their pride had closed their ears.
If we are going to hear God’s word today, if we are going to pay attention to what he’s saying to us, then we can’t think we know it all, or that we know better than God. The more I think, “I’ve got all the answers,” the less I am able to listen to the real answers that come from God alone. A prideful confidence in one’s own understanding is something found among many Christians, especially those of us who are leaders, who spend much of our lives in study, and who are used to being the speaker and not the listener. We will only be able to hear from the Lord, and thus speak God’s truth with accuracy and power, when we come before him with open ears and humble hearts.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: How open are you to hearing what God wants to say to you? Do you ever find yourself unwilling to listen to God? When? Why? What helps you to come before him with a receptive, eager heart?PRAYER: Gracious Lord, may my ears be open to you. May my heart be eager and attentive to your Word.
May I hear your Word as I read and study the Scripture.
May I hear your Word as I reflect upon the Gospel stories of Jesus.
May I hear your Word as it is preached to me.
May I hear your Word in the mouth of my sisters and brothers in Christ.
May I hear your Word as I attend to the still, small voice of your Spirit.
May I hear your Word as your creation echoes your voice.
Give me, O Lord, a humble, open, and ready heart, to hear, believe, and do your Word. Amen.