Deaf to God’s Voice
Matthew 11:16 But to what shall I compare this generation?… We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.
I know when I have not been listening at home. When I ignore Dad, Dad, Dad long enough, my daughter will yell, Scott Matthew Abrams! It may be that my physical hearing is going bad, but I think the problem runs deeper than my ears. I just tend to be deaf in my self-absorption. My daughter knows how to get my attention.
Unfortunately, I have often turned my deaf ear to God as well. In this passage, Jesus mourns the lack of responsiveness to his voice that I have been so guilty of in my life. The reality is, God is always speaking, I am just usually too self-absorbed to hear him.
Faith is keeping my eyes turned on him and my ears tuned to him. Like turning my gaze to him, it takes discipline and choice to listen to his voice. I can develop or diminish my hearing with use or misuse. I can, if I will, have God’s word in front of me daily. If I practice at reading, praying and meditating on his voice, I will learn to hear it. If I ignore him, I will become deaf to the sound of his voice.
When I pursue my own will, I become tuned to my own needs. In my self-involvement, I tune out God. While I am focused on my own pride and desires, I cannot listen to God. When I wonder why He has gone silent, I have to look no further than my own self-absorption. He has not stopped speaking. I have just stopped listening.
I recall a time, not that long ago, when I had been so deaf for so long that I began to question God’s very existence. I had pursued self to the point where I could not pray as I did not want to face God. I could not look at God nor listen to him and then I had the audacity to wonder where He had gone. I need you God. Why are you not there? Why can I not hear you or feel you?
To this Jesus says, I have been speaking and you have not been listening. I have not turned from you. You have turned from me. Like my daughter, God sometimes must yell to get my attention. Pain seems to be his loud voice, which I must say, is as unpleasant as it is effective.
I very much would like to live, listening to his voice daily, so He does not need his loud voice to capture my attention. So, I daily need to listen to and follow his voice. If I am not listening and following, then I am the one to whom Jesus says, We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.