How good a listener are you? An old Turkish proverb says “if speaking is silver, then listening is gold.” Tests confirm that the majority of us today are poor listeners. Could that be a reason why God has repeatedly told us and as we read in Revelation “the one who has an ear had better hear what the Spirit says?” Three sets of individuals in Luke 2 were exceptional listeners and were blessed by God for their attentiveness.
Picture the Shepherds; the despised and rejected in Israeli society, yet necessary to the worship program of the temple. It was to these that God chose to send his angelic choir to announce the Lamb of God in a manger. The angelic figure began: “Listen carefully.” How good a listener were they? In vs 15 they decided to go and see “what the Lord has made known to us.” And their memories were crystallized as they recounted to Mary and Joseph and the dwellers in Bethlehem all that had been told to them.
Picture Simeon, filled with the Holy Spirit who had been looking for the restoration of Israel. He had been listening so that he was ready to hear the indwelling Holy Spirit speak. He followed the directions and came to the Temple just at the time Mary and Joseph were there. Simeon said to Mary and Joseph “Listen carefully” as he recounted the future of this child, Jesus who would be the Light of the World but would be rejected.
Picture Anna the widow who listened to God as she fasted and prayed in the temple for 84 yrs! She too came at just that moment to give thanks to God and may have said to those nearby “Listen carefully” as she spoke about the child.
It matters not where you are but it does matter how good a listener you are. The shepherds listened carefully, shared what they had heard and received a blessing. God blessed them as the first to report the birth of Christ. Simeon listened carefully to the Spirit, obeyed His voice and entered the Temple right on time. He received a blessing to see his prayers answered. Anna listened carefully in her prayer time and her senses were attuned to the Spirit’s voice. Her ears were attuned to hear the voice of the Spirit and she received the blessing of seeing the Christ Child.
How good a listener are you? Is your world quiet so you can hear the voice of the Holy Spirit or filled with noise that blocks His voice? The shepherds’ world was a field quiet at night with only God’s creation yet their hearts were prepared to listen. Simeon’s world was a prayer closet where he could hear God speak. Anna’s world was in the Temple, both quiet and noisy depending on the season. Her heart was quiet so she could hear God speak. They all heard the voice of the Spirit, obeyed and were blessed.
May our prayer today be as Samuel’s of long ago “Speak Lord for your servant is listening.”