Have you ever heard the question, are you listening? I am sure you have. Or maybe you heard it the second time someone asked that question. We can find that same question in the scriptures of the bible.
In Deuteronomy 6:4-5 the bible verse starts with Hear O Israel. In the original Hebrew this word is “Shema”. It means to pay attention to, or focus on. This verse is asking Israel to pay attention.
If we continue to study the word of God, we find the Lord asking us to listen to Him. In Exodus 19:5 we read the following. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, then you shall be my own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; (NKJV).
This is God calling us to listen. In Hebrew this word not only means to listen, it also means to obey. If we hear what God is saying, then we will obey what He has said.
The interesting thing about the Hebrew language is there is not a separate word for obey. If you want to tell me to obey. You would use the word Shema. This is the same exact word.
The Lord is giving us direction and wisdom with His scriptures. We may often hear the word of God. Some scriptures seem to be repeated all the time. Then we go home. We are with friends and family. Many of the scriptures may have been forgotten. It only takes a couple of hours of distractions, conversations, games being played, and we cannot remember that verse that was given to us that morning. The blessing is that we can continue to work day in and day out learning God’s word so we don’t forget.
The scriptures have other usages for them that the Lord intended. Yes, we hear the words, how do we obey? Without obedience to the word of God then we cannot apply the word of the Lord to us.
God wants us to think about that part also. He wants us to question ourselves of how we obey scripture. How do we obey scripture we have heard, during the day and the week?
Let’s try putting Shema into practice the way it was intended. Next time you hear scripture, ask a follow up question. Ask yourself, how can I obey. What does it look like to obey the word of God? Then attempt to obey and know that you are listening and obeying the word of the Lord.
Jennifer Van Allen, LMHC