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Hearing But Not Listening
By Joel Osteen - Jan 17, 2020
We know that God is omnipresent, so He sees and hears everything. But there’s a difference between hearing and listening. You may hear the television blaring away, but if you’re not listening, if your attention is elsewhere, you won’t know what’s being said. It may surprise you that even though God hears everything, He doesn’t always listen. There are certain times when the Scripture says God doesn’t listen. We may be talking but He’s not tuned in.

Perhaps you know the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15. He took his father’s inheritance early, left home, and spent all his funds on wild living and partying. Broke and destitute, he ended up feeding pigs just to survive. He knew he had brought all the trouble on himself. When he came to his senses, he determined to go home and ask his father to hire him as a servant. He carefully prepared what he was going to say: “Father, I have sinned against you and God. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me as one of your farmhands.”

But when the son returned home, his father saw him coming and ran to him, hugged and kissed him, weeping tears of joy. In that moment the son passionately started his speech, but The Message says, “The father wasn’t listening” (Luke 15:22). When the son was pouring out his genuine remorse, telling how unworthy he was, the father wasn’t paying attention. He was calling his staff to put the finest robe on his son and the family ring on his finger, to kill the fatted calf for a party. He was declaring, “My son was lost and now he’s found!”

Are you doing what this son did with his father, telling God everything you’ve done wrong, how unworthy you are of His love, how you don’t deserve to be blessed? Can I tell you, God hears you, but He’s not listening? You’re wasting your breath. The moment you asked God to forgive you, He forgave you, and then the Scripture says He forgot your sins. You’re not worthy because of what you did or didn’t do. You’re worthy only because of what Jesus did for you on the cross. If you keep asking Him to forgive you and keep telling Him you’re not good enough to be His child, He tunes all that out. If you want God to not only hear but to listen to you, speak the language of faith: “Father, thank You that Your mercy is bigger than my mistakes. Thank You that You’re not holding my past against me. Thank You that I am forgiven. Thank You that I’m redeemed. I’m coming boldly to Your throne right now.”
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