Selective hearing is a real thing.
When my children were young, they all had trouble with their hearing. It wasn’t a medical/physical thing. Their selective hearing was by choice.
They could hear fine if I said, “Time for chocolate cake.” "Who wants to go outside and play?" "Let's finger-paint with chocolate pudding!"
But when I said, “Time to share that toy.” "It's bedtime." "Don't touch that." Suddenly, no one could hear a thing. It was like I was speaking a foreign language.
When my eldest child was almost 3-years-old, he took off on his little bike peddling like the wicked witch of the west character from the movie The Wizard of Oz. (I can actually hear the music that played while she peddled her bike when I remember this incident.)
I started out by calling to him in a sweet tone, "That's far enough. Come back." Then my volume increased and my concern was evident with the not-so-sweet tone of my one word, "Stop."
He did not even turn his head to look back in my direction. I franticly yelled for him to stop and come back. He peddled faster.
I quickly realized he was getting too far away from me. In that moment, the danger was real. The more I yelled for him to stop, the faster his little feet peddled. He was heading straight for a main road that had a steady flow of traffic.
Did he hear me yelling? Oh, yes, he did.
Did he listen to me? Oh, no, he did not.
I had to run with all my might to catch him. When I finally got close enough to grab him, he jumped from his bike and started to run towards the busy road. I was able to take hold of his arm only 10 feet from the traffic.
It was a horrifying memory and to this day, causes my heart to beat faster in the retelling of the story.
In the book of Revelation, God makes an important statement to the seven churches. He says, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 2:7; 2:11; 2:17; 2:29; 3:6; 3:13; 3:22).
Listening is an important skill both in our physical and spiritual lives. When we choose to listen, we will avoid many dangers.
I wonder how often we have selective hearing when it comes to the things God is trying to speak into our lives? Do we jump on our little bike and peddle as fast as we can to get away from the Spirit's warnings?
In the past, when God’s people cease to listen, He ceased to speak. From the last book of the Old Testament, Malachi, until John the Baptist arrived on the scene there were 450+ years of silence.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible is found in the book of John chapter 10:27,
“My sheep listen to my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
Ears have one function, only one. Hearing!
In the book of Revelation, John tells us to tune into what the Spirit is speaking to the church.
Church! It’s time for a hearing tested.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
This is not the time for selective hearing.
(If you follow my weekly devotionals, this concludes 66-weeks of going through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Some weeks, it wasn't easy to zero in on only one verse from an entire book like Psalms or Proverbs but I went with whatever God was speaking to my heart at the time. I hope you enjoyed this spiritual discipline with me. I'll be taking a break writing these weekly devotionals for a bit. God Bless.)