The second week of Advent is traditionally a time to consider the prophets – those who listened to God and spoke his words – so today we will think about listening to the Lord.
'But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.'
He will stand and shepherd his flock
in the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they will live securely, for then his greatness
will reach to the ends of the earth.
Christmas can be a very busy, noisy season. It can be hard to hear God’s voice in the midst of it all. Why not take some time to listen to him each day this week? If you’re struggling, it might be helpful to remember that shema, the Hebrew word for ‘hear’ or ‘listen’, can also mean ‘pay attention’ or ‘obey’.
Pray that the Lord will help us to pay obedient attention to him over this Christmas season, which is so full of distractions.
One of the easiest ways to hear God speak is to listen to an audio Bible. Shema closely: let the words reach not just your ears but your heart and mind too – listen with attention and obedience to God. The big challenge now is to do the same thing every time we hear or read a verse or passage from the Bible this Christmas – especially when those passages are very familiar.
Praise God that he communicates in ways we can understand – above all, through coming to live as a human – God with us.
In lots of places around the world, people prefer to learn and share information orally. In these contexts, it is often more effective to share the good news of Jesus through Bible storytelling and Bible-based songs rather than a printed book. And when people can hear it in the language they understand best, and in a way that makes sense to them, it is so much easier to pay attention and obey.
Praise God for people like Mele, who want to help others understand the Bible. Pray that he will help them in this work.
Mele Veaila, from Tonga, attended a Bible storytelling workshop. ‘I would love to help people understand the Bible more,’ she says. ‘If I wasn’t a believer, I wouldn’t understand all that religious jargon. Even in sermons at church I tend to fall asleep because it gets boring. But when you tell stories, it’s amazing how you can catch people’s attention.’