I am sure some readers recall as children hearing their parents tell them: “Did you hear what I said?” If an immediate response was not forth-coming, the follow-up would come in a raised tone: “Are you listening to me!” Although the terms “hearing” and “listening” may have similar meanings; they nonetheless carry very important distinctions. Hearing entails acknowledgement of sound entering into the ear and given the appropriate response; whereas listening involves a deeper level of following through with every word communicated in the message.
Matthew Henry, the great commentator, reminds us that Isaiah is “doing like David, he speaks of himself as a type of Christ, who is here prophesied and promised to be Savior”. When God is speaking – how willing and ready are you and I to do His bidding? The Divine Son expressed willingness to yield to the will of the Father in His Divine sharing with the Father and the Spirit in all eternity. New Testament passages such as Hebrews 10:4-5 express the Son’s words prior to his entry into history by the virgin’s womb as being: “I have come to do your will as it is written in the book”. When The Son incarnated in human flesh, He – ever remaining God – became flesh in the historic person of Jesus of Nazareth (see John 1:14; Matthew 1:23; 1 Timothy 3:15-16). Jesus was ever about doing His Father’s business and provided the example to all true followers of Him by faith of what is meant to heed God’s voice – no matter what.
Listening to God won’t be maintained by moralism and adherence to some man-made prescriptions, but rather the cross. Hebrews 12:3 reminds us to “consider Him who endured such contradiction by sinful men so that you won’t grow weary and lose heart.” As we make our business to hear God and then continue on in listening to what we heard; Christ Jesus and Him crucified, risen and ascended must ever be at the center and circumference of our faith walk.