Psalm 81 and the importance of listening to God

This morning I was struck by something I read in Psalm 81. What caught my eye was a play on words. In this Psalm, there is a great difference between "hearing" God and "listening" to God.

Ps 81 contains one of the great secrets of living well: listening to God. In v. 8 and v. 13, God says, "If you would only listen to me..." As the Psalm conveys, listening to God really means taking in his Word and being obedient. Not listening means disregarding his Word and being disobedient.

Unfortunately, in v. 8, God says that because his people have not listened to him, now they have to "hear" him as he corrects them and lets them know the good things they are missing out on.

I don't think we want to get to that place where God says, "Hear me..." When God says "Hear me," the gentle whispering is over; now the louder sounds of correction are coming.

The Psalm also tells us that God has a preference. He loves his people. He would rather gently whisper to a listening people than loudly correct a people who shine him on.

As I read this Psalm, I prayed for myself and the people on my prayer list. What has God been saying to me? Have I been listening? Let us be people who "listen" to God so we don't need to "hear" him.


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