My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—
indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
Outside a large college party, a young man sat in the hall. Loud music and a cacophony of voices made it hard to hear much. "All those people," he said. "and the only voice I hear is hers." "Hers" was the voice of a woman he wanted a relationship with, a woman who was not interested in him.
Why could he pick out her voice? For the same reason a parent knows their child's voice in a crowd. He wanted to. He expected to. It was familiar, and he cherished it. His ear was turned to her voice.
Unlike an oblivious love interest, God delights in speaking to His children. Still, we must actively, intentionally orient ourselves to hear Him.
The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. (Psalm 25:14)
Pastor H. A. Ironside observes:
"…the secret… is revealed: how to find the knowledge of God.…The Christian need not be scholarly and profound to understand the Scripture. It is a certain condition of soul, rather than a well-equipped mind, that is required. God has given His Word. He exhorts us to search it in dependence on His Holy Spirit, who guides us into all truth."
We don't have to be scholarly, and the Holy Spirit guides us. That's good news! So, how do we tune our ear to God's voice, and apply our hearts? Here are some guidelines:
- Practice and dependence. No shortcuts. Spend time with God. As we take in more and more of His Word, we are attuned to His themes, commands, and promises, much like becoming attuned to the pitch and timbre of a human voice.
- Ask God to help you love learning truth more than you love anything else, as the writer of Psalm 119 clearly does.
- Meditate on God's Word, to keep it from "going in one ear and out the other," as the Spirit seats those truths in your mind.
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11)
Questions for reflection and discussion: How do you hide God’s Word in your heart? What steps do you take to turn your ear? In this season of disruption and new rhythms, invest in a profitable new habit. Choose a verse to write on note cards and display them where you will see them often. (Or, set an alarm on your phone to read on your app!) Let God's Spirit plant the verse in your heart as you read and meditate. Choose a new verse each week. Already doing this? Find a song that reinforces a scriptural truth and listen often this week.