At times I can be “listening” to someone and suddenly realize that I haven’t heard a word that has been said in the last five minutes. My not listening has nothing to do with the topic at hand or my hearing ability. It has everything to do with one thing: selfishness. I allowed my busy mind to wander away from what I should have been focusing on at that moment. I gave priority to my thoughts over the other person’s thoughts. Whether it’s during a personal conversation, a business meeting, or even listening to a sermon, can you relate?
The prophet Malachi served God by delivering a message of judgment to the people of Judah. They had turned away from worshiping the Lord and toward worshiping foreign gods. Even the priests, the religious leaders, were not listening to God. In Malachi 2:1 we see God’s graciousness in His willingness to give the priests a “warning.” Verse 2 begins with a stern warning, “If you will not listen...” If they disobeyed and continued to close their ears, God’s wrath and judgment would fall upon everyone.
This problem was not really a new one for God’s people. For example, the priests of Judah had practiced not listening well to God’s instructions by bringing Him polluted offerings (1:7–8). In Malachi 2, God clearly and purposely instructs the priests (His servant-leaders) to listen well to His instructions and give the proper honor to His name. Why? He tells them in verse 7 that their lips should “preserve knowledge” because they are God’s messengers. Oh, if they would only listen and obey!
>> When I don’t listen well it reflects my selfish focus. Although I might be quiet and appear to be listening, I know that my mind is wandering. As we seek to share Jesus with others, we should learn to be careful listeners. Whom will you listen to today?
Today’s Scripture shows the importance of listening to the voice of the Lord and honoring His name with our lives. Let’s pray we’ll discern God’s voice above all the others competing for our attention.