Have you ever laid down in your bed at night, hearing the sounds your house normally makes every night? Then comes a sound that is not normal; it is out of place. Immediately, you begin to listen intently. You are no longer hearing the sounds, but you are completely focused.
One instance of this that has gotten my attention happens out camping. You are in your tent ready for sleep, hearing the sounds of a stream or a breeze in the trees. Then comes that sound of twigs snapping as something walks near your tent. What happens next? You begin to listen intently, trying to figure out who or what made that sound. You are completely focused.
There is a difference between hearing and listening. In the third chapter of 1 Samuel (1 Kingdoms), we find the young boy, Samuel, serving under Eli the priest. It is night and they are asleep. Samuel hears a voice calling his name and gets up and runs to Eli. Eli tells him it was a dream and to go back to sleep. It happens a second time and Eli again tells him to go back to sleep. But when it happens a third time, Eli realizes it is God and tells Samuel to go back and tell the Lord he is now listening. Samuel focuses on the Lord and the rest is history as he goes on to become a great prophet and man of God.
In the story of the Transfiguration of our Lord (Matthew 17:1-9), Peter, James, and John see Jesus transformed before their eyes. His face shines like the sun and His clothes are white as light. A bright cloud overshadows them and a voice from the cloud says: “This is my beloved Son, with Whom I am well pleased; listen to Him.”
Until this time, these Apostles had been hearing the words of Jesus and it was wonderful. But now, God the Father takes them “further up and further in” by charging them to “Listen to Him!” Now they are called to be more focused than they had been.
In our Church services, are we simply “hearing” or are we “listening” to what the Lord might be saying to us?
When we read the Holy Scriptures are we merely “hearing” or are we “listening” to what the Lord might be saying to us?
In our daily lives, we are hearing many, many voices. Whose voice are we focusing our attention on by listening?
My brothers and sisters in Christ, God is speaking those same words to us today as He did to Peter, James, and John: “This is my beloved Son, with Whom I am well pleased; listen to Him.”