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“Hear, O my people, while I admonish you! O Israel, if you would but listen to me!”
-Psalm 81:8
Listening is one of the greatest demonstrations of love.
In it we show that we value another person.  That we have love and respect for them.
But in this Psalm God is talking about a deeper type of listening. He’s referencing a listening that goes beyond our engaging our ears and minds, to one that transforms our affections and our heart, which then results in our changed behaviors and transformed life.
It’s outcome is what some refer to as the cruciform life.  This is a listening that responds. It’s a listening that permanently changes our focus. It’s a listening that changes our hopes, aspirations, direction and mission.
Oftentimes, when we read chapters like Psalm 81, we read through a lens tinted with obedience, God’s demands and His eminent judgement.
But, if we pay attention to the one who is speaking, and take off our sin stained fearful lenses, and gaze and listen intently to His words speak from the pages of scripture, we will hear a Father that Simply desires our affection and relationship.  His heart is always for our best and for us to experience the abundant life.
(This picture of a rabbi praying at the Western Wall was taken by my friend, Joe Treleven on our last study tour to Israel.)
What can we learn about listening and God’s heart from this Psalm? How does He want us to respond?