“Listen, listen to me … give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live” Isaiah 55:2-3
When my wife Karen thinks back to the first few years of her career as a kindergarten teacher she’s reminded of little Richard Lockwood and the unique mannerism displayed by this boy. When he wanted to talk to Karen, he would climb onto her lap, cup her face in his hands, hold her cheeks steady, and force her to look at him while he spoke. Obviously when Richard needed Karen he wasn’t prepared to share her with the other children. For Richard wanted to give Karen his full attention and he demanded 100 percent concentration in return.
In like manner, when we communicate with God we should give Him our undivided attention. We should make it our practice to “sit on His lap” and focus all our faculties on Him. Instead of sharing Him with the people and tasks that clamour for our attention we should be working to establish intimacy with God in much the same way as Richard did when he cupped Karen’s face in his hands. Nothing should be allowed to distract us from the time we spend with God.
After all, our audience is with the “Lord of lords and King of kings” Revelation 17:14. We’re speaking and listening to the One who will one day gather the nations for judgement (cf. Matthew 25:32ff). Thus you should ignore the telephone, turn off the television, and disconnect noisy mechanical devices and sound systems that could distract you from meeting with God. Furthermore, family and friends should be politely asked to avoid interrupting you unless there’s an emergency. And those seemingly urgent tasks must simply wait till later. For Solomon reminds us to “pay attention” and “listen well” in order to “gain understanding” (Proverbs 4:1; 4:20; 5:1). And David informs us that God isn’t interested in our sacrifices and offerings but He does want us to have an open ear (cf. Psalm 40:6).
So switch off the world and tune into God. Hear Him as He says; “Be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10. “Listen, listen to me … give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live” Isaiah 55:2-3. For “the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him” Habakkuk 2:20.
That’s essential. If you want to hear from God you must engage every one of your senses to “listen,” to “watch,” and to “find” Him (cf. Proverbs 8:32-36). Refuse to be distracted. Rivet your concentration on the Lord. And recognise that He alone is worthy of your undivided attention.
Yes, you must “look with your eyes … and pay attention to everything” Ezekiel 40:4. Do this regularly and you’ll discover that “whoever finds” God “finds life and receives favour from the Lord. But whoever fails to find” God “harms himself’ Proverbs 8:35-36.