Listen

Torah Portion: Ha'azinu (Deuteronomy 32:1-52)
Gospel Portion: John 10
Commentary By: Brian Serrano  

Listening is not enough.

It’s not enough to just listen, you have to take it to heart and put action to it. When I ask my children to take out the trash I do not want them to just listen. I don’t want them to memorize what I said. I don’t want them reading books by other children about how to take out the trash, or what it would look like if the trash was taken out. I do not need them to have study groups with there friends about the 4 levels of meaning behind taking out the trash. I do not want them to tell me how to say take out the trash in Hebrew or Greek. None of that is what I want. I want them to take out the trash. To get off their rear, put down the ipad, and take the trash out. Listen to me, and show me that you listened to me by taking some action.

This is a run on example. But I had to share it, because it is exactly what we do to God. We might “listen” but that’s it. We don’t take it to heart; we take it to head. We absorb biblical information into our brain as facts, figures, and even weapons. When in fact we need to take it to our heart and get busy putting it into action.    

Deuteronomy 32 is such a perfect example of this. It starts with the song of Moses, a beautiful song crying out to Yahweh. (Revelation 15:3 tells us that we will hear it again.) Then notice the progression of Moses words and actions: "Then Moses came and spoke all the words of this song in the hearing of the people, he, with Joshua the son of Nun. When Moses had finished speaking all these words to all Israel, he said to them, 'Take to your heart all the words with which I am warning you today, which you shall command your sons to observe carefully, even all the words of this law. For it is not an idle word for you; indeed it is your life. And by this word you will prolong your days in the land, which you are about to cross the Jordan to possess'” (Deut. 32:44-47).

First he “spoke all the words of this song in the hearing of the people” – he made sure they were listening. Then he implores them to “take to heart” all these words. It wasn’t enough to listen and hear, but to take them to heart, really let them sink it. However he doesn’t stop there. Then he goes on to say “For it is not an idle word for you; indeed it is your life.” He conveys to the people that these words, this amazing law of God, is life. These words aren’t merely religion, or study material, or philosophy, but LIFE. Listening would not be enough, these words needed to be taken to heart and then lived out. 

We see the Messiah promote the same principal. While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!" (Matt. 17:5). Yahweh clearly set up Messiah as someone to be listened to, but it doesn’t stop there. What does Yeshua go on to say? "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me" (John 10:27). The exact same pattern. They “hear my voice”, the listening aspect. Then “and I know them” a term of intimacy--this has been taken to heart, not just hearing His voice but knowing the one who spoke. “They follow me”--again ending in action. The sheep follow the shepherd. 

Why is this pattern so important? Because it is where we find LIFE. Just as Moses said the word is life. If John 1 clearly teaches us that Messiah is the word made flesh then life must be found in Him. John 14:6 makes this clear. He is the way, the truth, and THE LIFE. So when we get that and live in response to that we can really live. When we stop being hearers of the word, and move into doers, Life is found. Not just basic life but as John 10:10 says, "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." The good life!

This is something that challenges me daily. I can’t just listen. There are too many voices out there. I have to listen and then as I discern through the voices, take it to heart. This taking to heart will result in action, action that brings life. His life is good! I love living in His life. May we not be known as people of knowledge, people of religion, people of debate, or people of argument. Instead may we all be people of action that walk in His abundant life. Life is good! His life is the best! Just remember, listening is not enough.