The listening ear of God

Bible Lifestyle

Asking questions like: “Is God listening?” and “how can I hear from God?” is really common. They may come at frustrating moments, or after long periods of waiting. Thankfully the Bible has a lot to say about the way in which God hears, and the way we are able to hear him. It’s important to get to the root of the word. Here’s three things we found interesting…

God does more than hear us

When we read scriptures about God hearing us, it’s important that we fully understand what that means. Often we can accept that God will hear what we are praying, but may not expect Him to understand or act. However, when we see the word ‘hear’ in Hebrew scripture it refers to a hearing, understanding and acting. The word ‘Shema’ translated as ‘hear’, is used to mean both listening and doing. God takes what we say and cares enough to respond and act on our behalf. We can remember that when we see scriptures like: “Hear my voice when I call, LORD; be merciful to me and answer me.” (Psalm 27:7 NIV)

We need to act on what we hear

In ancient Hebrew the word ‘Shema’ is also used synonymously with ‘obey’ – pairing up the act of listening and doing once again. It’s about hearing the truth and instruction from a source that we trust or love, and carrying out our promise to them. We’ve probably all heard the childhood criticism: ‘it goes in one ear, and out the other!” from parents. We can see a similar phrase used in the Bible, within that familiar parental sounding: “…have ears but do not hear:” (Jeremiah 5:21 NIV). This was said in response to those who were breaking their promises to follow God’s instruction. The sentiment is that simply hearing is not the same as listening. Listening implies that we will understand the instruction or information given, take it on board and then do something about it. That we will be obedient. In the same way that a parent hopes for this from their children, God hopes that we will respond to his loving voice too.

Some people are unable to hear

The word ’Shema’ and the scriptures that contain it remind us how important it is to pray for those who are unable to listen to God’s voice. Jesus himself made repeat distinctions between those who would simply hear His message, and those who would truly understand.

In Matthew 13: 13, He said: “This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.”” (NIV).

Many of us will be familiar with prayers asking God to ‘open the eyes of the blind’ and ‘open people’s ears to hear’, referring to a spiritual blindness and deafness. In the same way that Jesus demonstrated his ability to physically heal, He is the one who is able to spiritually heal. The Holy Spirit helps people to ‘open their ears’ to understand and accept God’s word and His instructions for them. As we bear witness to God’s goodness, we should also pray for those we share it with. Even as Christians, we should be praying that our own ears would increasingly listen to, and understand, God’s voice, His word and his instruction.

Music photo created by ijeab


Taylor Bentliff

Taylor works within our brand team at TBN UK, looking after the majority of our editorial copy and wording across online, print, and production platforms. Taylor has spent 10 years working in Christian media and loves to bring words together to share God's truth.

You may have seen her on various TBN UK programmes including Big Church Day Out, TBN Meets, Start Your Day, Praise, and Partner Time.

She is also a Bible teacher and shares some of her passion for the Word of God on the channel and on our exciting new Grow with TBN UK platform. Why not join one of her workshops!

She is also the founder of Clarity Magazine for Christian women, and on the Leadership Team for Newday, a Christian youth event coming soon to TBN UK!