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Many people feel that the words here and listen basically are the same or mean the same thing. Actually the only thing they have in common are our ears are used. The Miriam Webster dictionary defines hearing as the “process, function, or power of perceiving sound; specifically the special sense by which noises and tones are received as stimuli.” However Webster defines listening as “to pay attention to sound; here’s something with thoughtful attention; and give it consideration.”
We can see by the definitions that there is a distinct difference. We can hear somebody speaking and not understand one word they say most likely by not paying attention. However the word listen clearly implies that you are not only paying attention to it but understanding what is being said. Clinical psychologist Kevin Gilleland says the difference between the two is night and day “hearing is like collecting data. The active hearing is rather simple and basic. Listening on the other hand is three dimensional. People that excel at work, or in marriage or friendships, are ones that have honored their ability to listen,” says Gilleland.
One of the most important scriptures in the Jewish faith starts at Deuteronomy 6: 4 and goes on from there. It is referred to as the SHEMA (שְׁמַ֖ע).
I will start out in verse 3 and 4 in the King James version to clarify my point. It states; 3.
“Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey. 4. Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord: 3. Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey. 4. Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord:
This sounds perfectly okay but the translation is not completely accurate. One thing we need to keep in mind is the Hebrew language does not have a specific word for obey. When they use the word listen the fact that we are going to obey is already implied. The more accurate translation can be found on Bible Hub in their interlinear Hebrew Bible. There translation is based on a word for word translation and is; “ 3And you shall, [therefore,] hearken, [or listen] O Israel, and be sure to perform, so that it will be good for you, and so that you may increase exceedingly, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, spoke to you, a land flowing with milk and honey.4Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God; the Lord is one. Here you can see that they use the word hearken and also put in “and be sure to perform” which is omitted in the standard English translation.
Verses 5 through 7 state; 5.
“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6. “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7. “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
These three verses confirm the meaning of the word listen. It goes on to tell you what to do with the words that we have understood. God is very explicit and leaves no room for question on what he expects of us.
The million-dollar question is how many of us just here God’s word? How many of us go through the motions of church, Bible study, some of us just go to church on special holidays but still we consider ourselves Christians. Yet he is a lifestyle not a hobby we should treat as a lifestyle and listen to what God says because he is very clear about what will happen to us if we don’t.
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