The loss of hearing is debilitating. Our ears are one of the primary gates that give us the ability to know and respond to everything.
The eyes, the nose, the mouth all aid us, as well as the sense of touch. But hearing is foundational.
There are different levels of hearing. We hear thousands of sounds every day with no response. Our minds are conditioned to tune much of this out. We’ve labeled it “background noise.”
Our children and some dads exercise what we sometimes call selective hearing. “Please take out the trash” is hardly ever heard the first time. “Let’s go get ice cream” is heard with the slightest whisper.
Our relationship with God is totally dependent on hearing. We must hear Him.
Most don’t. We have allowed the world’s noise to so permeate us that our ears are rarely attuned to the “still small voice.” Spiritual indifference and rebellion clog our ears.
God is speaking all the time (even the heavens and earth speak continually), but we do not hear. This is our greatest tragedy.
But our relationship is also dependent on God being willing to hear us when we come to Him. This is the greater condescension, the greater mercy, and the greater promise.
There is no possibility of a one-sided relationship. We must hear God, but we must also be assured that He hears us.
When Solomon finished building the first temple in Jerusalem, his dedicatory prayer was a plea for God to hear (1 Kings 8). His whole prayer, in essence, was, “We need You now and will need You; so, God, please HEAR US when we pray!”
Then Solomon recounted the various times when their prayers and God’s hearing were so greatly needed. “Please hear, God …”
- As I pray right now (v. 28)
- When the people pray (v. 30)
- When a man sins against his neighbor and comes backs to You and prays (v. 31)
- When Your people are defeated before an enemy because they sinned against You, and they turn and confess and pray (v. 33)
- When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because of our sins, and we pray, confessing and returning to You (v. 35)
- When there is famine or pestilence or plague or sickness, and we pray (vv. 37-39)
- When the foreigner comes and prays (vv. 41-43)
- When we go to battle against an enemy, and we pray (v. 44)
- When Your people sin against You (for there is no man who does not sin) and you are angry and deliver us to an enemy, and then we repent and pray (vv. 46-53)
Scroll through this prayer and notice that almost every human moment is covered. Solomon is basically asking, “Lord, if we pray, will You hear?”
Notice that each request for God to hear is conditioned on several things. The people must repent, confess, return to God, and pray.
He will not hear a proud prayer or a selfish prayer or prayer designed to advance man’s kingdom rather than God’s. His ear is deaf to those who will not listen to what He has said about their sin.
And, of course, He will not hear what is not said. “You do not have because you do not ask,” James 4:2 says. There is much in Scripture about the conditions for effective prayer.
But, if we will come in humility and repentance, and approach God in prayer, He has promised to hear us! This is most amazing.
And the One Who Hears has all the resources of heaven and earth at His disposal to meet our every need. God is, as George Mueller declared, “a prayer-hearing and prayer-answering God!”
Father, I’m stunned again this morning by this truth. That You would make a way for me to approach You is amazing in light of my sin. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for Your Son, Jesus, who lived and died and rose so that we can now enter and stand before Your throne with peace. That we could have an intimate relationship with You as friend to friend. Forgive me for not praying more often. Forgive me for not listening. But thank You, Father, for Your ever-hearing ear!