This might be the most important psalm of the Psalter. It describes a time central to Israel’s holy calendar, sits at the center of the Psalter’s structure, and has a theme that is at the heart of Israel’s spiritual life. It gives us much to reflect on as we begin a new year.
1. God Listens to Us
Before God even calls us to listen to him, he already is listening to us. The first half of the psalm actually focuses on all the way God has listened to us and responded in kind. It reminds us that we are in relationship with the Creator of all things and that our prayers never fall on deaf ears.
2. We Must Listen to God
We have a responsibility to listen to God for our own good. Romans 10:17 reminds us that faith for us comes from hearing God’s Word. Listening and reflecting on all the ways God has delivered us and warns us of disobedience helps us to follow him in worship and faith.
3. We Don’t Listen Well
The problem with all this though is we’re not very good listeners. We’d much rather complain or listen to our counsel. Israel has countless examples of doing this and suffering the consequences of it. If we take careful stock of our lives, we can probably highlight ways we’ve done the same.
4. Jesus Listened to God
Jesus listened to the Father perfectly in his life and died our death due to our sinful disobedience. In Jesus, we don’t merely have a moral example to follow; we have a Savior who becomes the one we can be in relationship with, who listens to us and speaks to us so we might listen, learn, and live.
Reflection & Application Questions
Have you ever had a time where you doubted that God was even listening to you? Why? How did you handle that period of life?
Do you spend as much time listening to God as you do talking to him? Is your relationship with him a two-way conversation or more one-sided? What would it look like for it to be more balanced?
Are you more prone to complaint or following your own counsel? Have there been times where you’ve seen that hurt you more than help?
How does Jesus help us listen to God the way God desires? How might you grow in listening to God in 2019?