Did you see the INTRODUCTION to this A to Z series? Check it out here.
LISTENING is one of those things we all try to do for our friends and loved ones, but is so often a struggle. "I HEARD you," he will say, but then she counters with "Yes, but were you LISTENING?" We are often reminded of this important distinction. LISTENING starts with hearing, but means so much more.
We do the same thing with God. Although with him, because he does not confront us face to face but rather in spirit, we go so far as to deny even the hearing part! We pretend we don't even believe he exists despite the fact that: "what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them." Romans 1:19
God speaks to us through our consciences, to start. Society may try to challenge us to prove what we say is right or wrong philosophically, but that is a mere distraction from the truth each of us can directly perceive. (Isn't any particular philosophy actually just the collected conclusion of someone else's conscience, anyway? Better to weigh and consider your own.) It IS enough to say "I know because I know that I know." Better to LISTEN to that voice now, and to follow its lead than to deny it and be forced to admit its validity in the end. Refusing to LISTEN is the sin that will lead many into HELL and leave them there with nothing to hear but their own delusions.
Paul went on in Romans 1 to explain what happens after denying God's message.
"For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened." Romans 1:21
But what will become of LISTENING for those who choose HELL? I hate to say it, but perhaps part of being in HELL will be an eternal obligation to LISTEN! If hope is the interval between a promise and its fulfillment, then HELLISH hope is just the vain wish for any promise other than the guarantee of continuous and worsening trouble. "My ears are burning." will be more than a clever metaphor, when people are longing to LISTEN, and futilely straining to even hear the tiniest sound of fellowship or contact or interaction.
"Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance" Proverbs 1:5
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