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Isaiah 50; 4 to 9a Active Listening
by Gary Sims
03/15/05
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The Scriptures (Passion)
Isaiah 50:4-9a - Active Listening

Key Verses:
(NRSV)
  • 4a: "The Lord has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word." – Isaiah speaks about a spiritual gift that God provides many people and outlines how that spiritual gift is to be used.

  • 4b: "Morning by morning he wakens – wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught." – A teacher must first learn how to listen; listening for God's guidance on a daily basis and listening to the world around in order to understand what needs there are to be met.

  • 5: "The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backward." – Listening to God results in a need to take action. Actively listening is not enough in itself. Reacting and following through with God's direction is a necessary step.

  • 6: "…I did not hide my face from insult and spitting." – There will be times that we will face criticism but that should not be a deterrent to following God's plan.

  • 7: "The Lord God helps me." – He promises to be with us and He does not lead us where we cannot follow.

  • 8: "Who will contend with me?...Who are my adversaries?" – With God leading the way, helping and consoling, who could possibly stand in the way?
Points to Contemplate:
  • Are you called to be a teacher? Do we not all fulfill God's call to be teachers at one time or another in our lives? Does He not send us people who need our guidance? Does He not provide us with insight and inspiration? As Christians we are all being called into ministry and, though ministry takes many shapes and forms, isn't teaching an important component to all ministry?

  • Do you have all the answers? When a friend comes to you with a heaven burden or with heavy load full of questions, do you realize that this is a ministry moment that God has provided specifically for you? Are you ready with the answers they need? How are you supposed to do this? How can you learn to know what to say or do to help those in need? Is this work that should be set aside for the "trained professionals?" The writer in Isaiah says that God provides us with this ability at the time it is needed. Do you recognize that God will not send anyone to you that you are unable to help? Do you see that when you respond to helping others, when you take a risky step or a leap of faith, that God will provide you with the words and understanding you need?

  • Are you learning? Isaiah says: "Morning by morning…He wakens my ear to listen." Little by little God awakens us to hear and understand His Word. Are you listening? In your daily devotionals are you taking the time to fully understand the lesson God is providing you or do you quickly skim through, hurrying to start your day? Do you think about God's lessons throughout the day and how they need to be applied in your life? Do you pray for understanding? For growth? For ways to apply His word? Do you fervently pray for God to bring you opportunities to serve and to teach? Are you on the alert for God-sent mission opportunities during every aspect of your day?

  • Are you afraid of where God is leading you? Do you recognize that there is an element of risk when you respond to God's call? Does this cause you to shy away in order to avoid ridicule? Do you recognize times where you should respond to the need of another but you are fearful for your safety or unwilling to risk criticism, scorn, or mockery? In verse 7 Isaiah says that God will help you…is that not enough? Isn't it comforting to have God on your side?
Promises of the Gospel:

Only by listening for God's message to us and by reflecting on that message can we become worthy of carrying the message to others. We cannot be the effective witnesses God is asking us to be if we are not in communion with God. What God wants from us is to listen for Him to speak, minister to sustain the weary, and be faithful, even in the face of persecution. Each step will magnify the power of our witness. Each step will draw us closer to the goal of being the shepherd servant that the life Jesus Christ models and calls us to be.

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