V.E. Howard, well known preacher for the International Gospel Hour, who preached on the radio for fifty years, punctuated his sermons with the sobering question, “Are You Listening?” Despite the reputation he gained for that preaching pattern, have we appreciated the appropriateness and pertinence of what he was doing?
In Jeremiah 7, God “rejected and abandoned “ His people (v.29), mentioning five different times that a failure to listen to Him was the cause (vv. 13, 16, 24, 26, 27 NIV). In verse 13 God pointed to the time they were at Shiloh. God spoke to them “again and again, but you did not listen.” God reviewed when they came out of Egyptian bondage, He cared for them and gave them commands, but they “did not listen to Me” (v.26). Then God warned Jeremiah, “When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you” (v.27). God spanned centuries, stating that His people had a listening problem!
Centuries later, when Jesus came, He reportedly said, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15; 13:9, 43; Mark 4:9, 23, 7:16 KJV; Lk. 18:8; 14:35). They all had ears, but Jesus challenged them—and us—to “Take heed therefore how you hear!” (Lk. 8:18).
God informs us that the failure “to listen” resulted in Israel going “backward and not forward,” becoming “stiff necked” and “did more evil than their ancestors,” and “Truth has perished...vanished from their lips” (Jer. 7:24-28).
The next time you sit in a Bible class, hear the preacher preach, hear God’s Word quoted or read—You might want to run the question by your ears,
“How are you listening?”