“Oh, that My people would listen to me,
That Israel would walk in My ways!” (Psalm 81:13)
There are two kinds of listeners: active and passive. Passive listening is little more than hearing. There is no real paying attention to what is being said, no real reaction to the information or feelings being shared. What has been shared has little impact or effect on the listener.
The active listener is someone who is not only listening to hear and understand what is being said, but is also sending back signals that show they understand what is being communicated. An active listener is engaged in what is taking place.
As Christians, we can either be active or passive listeners when it comes to hearing God’s voice. When we practice active listening to what God is saying, it means we come into his presence really seeking to learn or hear from him. We want to take his word and meditate on it, turn it over in our mind, and search out the implications. Our hope is that God’s word will go deep into our spirit and not just in one ear and out the other.
Sometimes the problem isn’t with our hearing: it’s with our heart. In Psalm 81, God laments that he has good things for Israel, but their ‘stubborn hearts’ keep them from hearing and following his ways. Lord, give us tender hearts and open ears that we might follow your ways today.