“Listen to Him”
As technological devices invade more areas of our lives, it seems that people have an increasingly difficult time listening intently to what others have to say. You’ve probably experienced this in your own life. You’re at lunch with a friend and as you are in the midst of a conversation, they look down at their watch or pull out their phone to check a notification before turning back to you. Perhaps you’ve experienced this repeatedly during one encounter with a friend and wondered if talking was
worth the effort given the lack of attention you’re receiving. However, as frustrating as it can be to speak with someone who finds it hard to focus on your words, it can be even more upsetting to clearly communicate a message to someone who doesn’t believe what you have to say. It’s not that they failed to hear you because they were distracted. Instead, they heard your message loud and clear, but didn’t believe your message was true.
Jeremiah knew well the heartache associated with delivering a message others wouldn’t accept as true. In Jeremiah 43, Jeremiah warns the remnant left behind in Jerusalem to remain in the land and trust that God will provide for their needs and protect them from further harm at the hands of Babylon rather than seeking refuge in Egypt. The leaders agree to obey whatever word Jeremiah receives from the Lord regarding this important decision, but when Jeremiah doesn’t give the message they want to hear, they ignore his warning and trust in their own instincts. Despite warnings of sure doom that would come to them, they set out for Egypt.
In Hebrews 1:1–2, the author writes, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world” (ESV). In the past, the Lord spoke to his people through the prophets like Jeremiah, but in these last days, he has spoken to us through his Son. And just as it was critical that God’s people listen and obey the message of the prophets, so it is critical that we listen closely to what God has said to us through Jesus Christ. The writer of Hebrews spent much of his letter pleading with people to listen to the message they have received in Jesus.
In addition to the normal technological intrusions, this season brings its own unique distractions. Gift lists must be checked. Parties need to be attended. Church services will likely fill up your calendar. But, it would be tragic if we allow the busyness and distractions of this season to keep us from hearing the clear message of Christmas or if our hearts simply won’t believe the message should it break through the noise. In Jesus, the Lord of all creation has humbled himself by taking on flesh and becoming obedient to the point of death on a cross so that we might be reconciled to God. The only appropriate response to this word of grace is to bow our knees in worship, glorifying the Lord for all he has done (Philippians 2:1–11). In the days that remain before Christmas, I invite you to take whatever steps are necessary to block out the many distractions in our world so that you might hear and respond in faith to the good
news of salvation offered to you through Christ. This is a message you simply can’t afford to miss