Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you to observe, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers is giving you. (Deuteronomy 4:1)
There are many occasions where Messiah is quoted as saying, “Let him who has an ear, hear.” We assume, of course, that everyone He was speaking to had ears but not everyone who was listening to Him heard (understood) what He said. In this verse, the Hebrew word that is translated as “listen,” is שמע sh’ma, which is also translated as “hear.” This word also refers to internalizing what is being said — to use modern vernacular, “really take it in.” To do so is very important if one intends to learn from the one who is speaking.
In the verse, through Moses, God is relating to His people important “statutes and judgments” that they are to internalize and then do. In fact, the primary purpose of teaching is not to fill people’s minds with information, but to provoke them to do as they have been taught. Consider this excerpt that comes from a rabbinic work called The Ethics of the Fathers: “Not learning, but doing is the principal thing.” In other words, there is no point in learning anything if it doesn’t prompt you to take action.
In the Kingdom of God, taking action and doing the Will of the Father is the reason He speaks and why we need to listen — sh’ma. Moreover, if we are to truly live and function in our God ordained purpose, it is absolutely necessary that we listen intently — and then act upon — His Word. Nothing short of absolute obedience to Him can bring about this result and, so today, let us recommit ourselves to the notion of really “taking in” all that God is speaking. Then we must take the next step — act on what we have learned. When we do this, the Kingdom of God in our life and in this world advances and our Father in Heaven is glorified.
Blessings and Shalom,