Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts. – Hebrews 4:7
14 “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me,
15 even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.
27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me,
Effective communication is about more than just exchanging information. It involves not only listening with our ears. But also requires making an active effort to comprehend what we hear. Understanding the message is essential. It is also important that the messengers know that they were heard and understood.
Empathy begins active listening. This involves putting yourself in the position of others, and without being judgmental, seeing things from their point of view. Empathy begins with affirming body language. Often all it takes is a warm countenance, a friendly smile, and good eye contact. A bit of encouragement goes a long way in allowing the other person to feel understood, respected, and valued.
Excellent communication with the Father begins with our personal relationship with Him. To hear Him, we must know Him. Our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ begins when we hear His voice and respond in faith by coming to Him (John 10:27-28). Once we come to him, the lines of communication are thrown wide open. As we continue to hear His voice, our relationship with Him deepens.
Sadly there are times when we draw back and harden our hearts. The brakes go on and communication skids to a halt.
Hebrews 4:7 Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts.
To maintain a vibrant and growing relationship, it is incumbent upon us to keep the communication lines open.
REFLECT & PRAY
Active listening and comprehension often require a bit of flexibility.
Father encourage me not just to hear, but also to listen and comprehend.
1 Long ago God spoke many times and in many different ways to our ancestors through the prophets.
2 And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe.
Over the millennia, the Father spoke and revealed Himself in many different ways.
In the Old Testament, the Father sometimes spoke directly to people: Adam (Genesis 3:9-19), Noah (Gen 6:13 – 9:17), Abraham (Gen 12:1-3, 7), to Moses (Exodus 33:11), Samuel (1 Samuel 3:2-14), and others. Sometimes the message came through an angel. For example, this is how he communicated to Hagar (Gen 16:7-12), to Lot (Gen 19:1-22), to Manoah (Judges 13:2-23), and others.
Sometimes the communication process was totally unexpected even astonishing: a whirlwind (Job 38:1), a burning bush (Exodus 3:1-2), through a talking donkey (Numbers 22:28-35), a still small voice (1 Kings 19:13). The Father frequently spoke through dreams and visions.
However, in the Old Testament, the Father’s primary means of communication was through His servants the prophets (2 Kings 17:23; 21:10; 24:2; Jeremiah 25:4; Daniel 9:10; Amos 3:7; Hosea 12:10). In New Testament, He spoke through apostles, prophets, and ultimately His Son.
The Father used people to provide His truth to mankind. The process was initiated and carried out by the Holy Spirit. The Father communicated directly and personally with each of His messengers. The written Word of God is the product of His working through people.
2 Peter 1:20-21
20 Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding,
21 or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.
An example of this personal interaction is seen the Book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah “heard” from the Father. The Father put on his heart what He wanted him to do. The Father prompted, directed, and guided him.
Nehemiah 2:12 I didn’t tell anyone what my God had laid on my heart to do for Jerusalem.
What does it mean to listen to the Father? Nehemiah offers a glimpse, an instance of how the Father spoke to him. Nehemiah provides the Who and the what, but not the how. Somehow the Father formed a plan in Nehemiah’s heart and mind. The Father placed thoughts, ideas, feelings, and a strategy into His servant the prophet Nehemiah.
Perhaps, like any good planner, the Father outlined the major steps of the task, and then as needed, filled in the blanks. He continued to involve Himself in the step-by-step daily challenges.
Armed with the Father’s thoughts and plans, Nehemiah went on a nighttime fact-finding mission to reconnoiter the lay of the land. The Father’s plan set in motion all that followed. Nehemiah was able to rebuild the wall in record time in the midst of his enemies.
When the Father speaks, listen.