Undivided Attention


Today, if you would hear His voice, do not harden your hearts Psalm 95:7-8

Psalm 95 gives us some wise advice. I like the way The Message states this passage, “Drop everything and listen, listen as he speaks: Don’t turn a deaf ear as in the Bitter Uprising, As on the day of the Wilderness Test.” This passage is an illustrative, historical reminder of a group of obstinate people who wandered in the desert and missed out on something very special—entrance into a land God promised them.

This Psalm is also quoted in Hebrews 3. It’s used as a reminder to the 1st century Christians, and us today, to listen intently to God’s voice as He speaks to us through His Word, the Bible. Both the Psalmist and the writer of the letter to the Hebrews are encouraging us to hear God’s voice and what He has to say to us. Their warning is the trouble that comes to us when we ignore His voice, like their forefathers who turned a rather deaf ear to God, complained, did their own thing, and, in their refusal to hear, missed the promise and the promise’s blessing.

So, how do we listen for God and give him our undivided attention?

First and foremost is a daily dose of His Word found in the Bible. I’m not talking about reading something in the Bible so you can put a check by a box. In most cases, that kind of reading is more cursory and so rapid (so we can complete the task), we miss Scripture’s beauty and teaching. We need to read intently and ask ourselves what the passage means to us. How does it impact us?

Second, in this snippet and sound bite world, we have to be very careful to not simply take verses out of context or pull random verses from the Bible that fit our need. Listening means not just picking the parts of a conversation that is meaningful to us. It means hearing the whole story. People have made bizarre or dangerous claims in the name of God using His Word as merely a modifier (or proof texts) to their own thinking.

Third, we need to remove distractions. I know in this world that’s hard. We can’t visit a webpage without multiple pop-up ads and video. We can’t watch TV without multiple images, scrolling headlines, and divided screens showing ads on one side while the game is progressing on the other side. Even many of our churches flood us with multiple screens with different messages and a constant barrage of video announcements. Here’s a simple truth, to fully hear God’s voice we need to be in a place where our phones, iPad, laptops, TV monitors, and other distractions are off. We need to fully focus on what He is saying and how He wants us to respond to what He is saying. To have a deep relationship and a meaningful conversation requires our undivided attention.

Brother Lawrence, in his book The Practice and the Presence of God, wrote, “The is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God. Those only can comprehend it who practice and experience it; yet I do not advise you to do it from that motive. It is not pleasure which we ought to seek in this exercise; but let us do it from a principle of love, and because God would have us.”


Leave a Reply

  • Search

Trust is the winsome wedding of faith and hope.

Brennan Manning

©2014 Wayne Hastings. All Rights Reserved. Site by Birdsong Creative.