Hearing and Obeying

The devotional I read today talked about listening and obeying.  Funny, I thought.  Since the word “obey” actually has two meanings:  to hear and to do.  Its roots go way back to Old Latin, Old French, then Old English.  Obeying, then, has two parts.  If I only hear, it’s gone in one ear and possibly right out the other.  But if I hear *and* do, then I’ve truly obeyed.

Perhaps this is why the apostle Paul admonished Christians that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  Granted, not everyone had literacy during this period, nor were copies of the epistles easily to hand.  Scriptures in the synagogue and in the church of The Way often got read aloud.  It  makes sense that hearing something over and over again caused it to stick.

The devotional today cited Deuteronomy 5:29.  This is God speaking to Moses.  “Oh, that they would always have hearts like this, that they might fear me and obey all my commands! If they did, they and their descendants would prosper forever.”

Obeying commands includes the illustrious Ten, as well as numerous others set forth in the Old Testament. I like the concept of prospering forever. Obedience brings blessing (Proverbs 13:13).

This devotional reading by Joyce Meyer went on to emphasize that we need to be reading our bibles and positioning ourselves to hear.  Good reminder.  Perhaps, if we’re not able to open a Bible in our current location, we can engage in another way. Maybe we fast a meal or two.  Maybe we sing some worship choruses. We could pray in the Spirit. Some of us may even need to take a walk outside in the fresh air.

In all the years I’ve been a Christian, decades now, I’ve learned one thing:  God has an infinite capacity to surprise.  He speaks in big ways and small ways.  He can use the plots of movies to highlight truth. He reveals himself in nature, season by season. I know for sure is that if you set yourself to hear from Him, He will answer.  Just be open to it coming to you in an unexpected way.  He is the most creative being in the universe.  He doesn’t do things the same way twice.  Ask Moses.

I guess I would add to Ms. Meyer’s heartfelt words, if you’re diligently seeking God, you won’t miss what He has to say.  You might misinterpret it.  You might discount it.  You could even hate it. But He will answer you, one way or another. Frankly, that’s the easy part.  Once you hear, then you must obey. Obedience shows God our love, and that we trust Him.

I’ll end this with Joyce’s own words:  “Make it a lifestyle to be identified with Jesus Christ and faithfully be a doer of the Word. Hear His wisdom and follow it today.”


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