Listening, hearing, and doing, are often discussed in parenting and relationships but rarely do we look at where and how it relates to our praise of God. Listening has been defined repeatedly and hopefully by now you realize the active nature involved in listening!
The psalmist in Psalm 95 invites us into praising God and goes through the typical how and why about praising God. What I find interesting here is the inclusion of our response in verses 7-8. It just seems to be something that we rarely think about. God wants our response to who he is and his relationship with us to be one of listening with our hearts. A big part of what pleases God in our relationship with Him is when we listen – truly listen and in doing so, not hardening our hearts. He wants our hearts. Listening is critical to our heart and our praise. Now this verb for listening means to hear intelligently. It’s not just hearing something and assuming it comes from God. It is about knowing what was heard because of the relationship that we are in with God. In order to hear intelligently, you need to recognize his voice – knowing that what He is saying is in line with His Word. Then we have to work to not harden our hearts. Again a verb. We do this. It does not happen passively. We intelligently hear his voice and act accordingly because He loved us first and we love Him. By acting on what we hear from Him, we guard our hearts against becoming hardened, cruel, and fierce, because our hearts are firmly, intelligently in His will, grace, and mercy.