Week of Monday, July 25 ­– Sunday, July31
 Listen Up - Man as Instructor

But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels. Oh, that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways! I would soon subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes. Those who hate the Lord would cringe toward him, and their fate would last forever. But he would feed you with the finest of the wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you. - Psalm 81:11-16 ESV
Good listening is like tuning in to a radio station: you can listen to only one station at a time. Trying to listen to my wife while listening to the news is like trying to listen to two radio stations at the same time. It doesn’t work. I end up confused, and she ends up frustrated. Listening requires choosing where I am going to place my focus and attention. To tune in to my wife as a good listener, I must first choose to put away everything that can divide my attention. That might mean turning off the TV, laying down the tablet, silencing the cell phone, putting down the book I'm reading, or tuning out whatever else has my attention and completely focusing on her. Only then can I be a good listener.
That’s true not only in marriage but also in the military. Soldiers learn during training exercises to listen carefully when orders or instructions are being issued. They must recognize the importance of focusing on the person issuing the orders if they are going to survive and succeed. Long before they get down range where bullets fly, they must master the art of listening and comprehending instructions. The problem of not listening extend much further than the battlefield, however. The homes and families of America are littered with heartache and brokenness. Why? Because a father wasn’t listening.
The psalmist tells us that the nation of Israel didn’t listen to God. Instead, they chose to “follow their own counsels” and do what seemed right in their own carnal hearts. In the end, they were defeated by their enemies. We can choose to be just like Israel, allowing the busyness and chaos of life to take priority so that we fail to listen. This approach not only invites disaster but also misses out on the very best God has for us and our families. Never forget men: God wants to bless us, and as the psalmist described, “with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.” Consequently, it is imperative that we learn how to tune everything out but the voice of God and listen to Him. If we do, we will enjoy the tremendous benefits.
As Instructors in our families, it is also imperative that we become good listeners. How can we give wise counsel if we don’t know what the problem is?
Even more importantly, if we project anything less than a solid biblical worldview to our children and grandchildren, they will go elsewhere to find advice and counsel as they form their own worldview while growing and maturing into adulthood. This is a precarious moment, men, and we must be solid in our faith and effective in our influence as we lead our families into the blessings of God. I believe that the Lord today says of us, “Oh, that my people would listen to me….”
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate yourself as a listener when it comes to hearing and obeying God? How about listening to your family with understanding and compassion?
  • What strategies can you put in place to become a better listener? Would any of those involve eliminating distractions? 
  • Ask God to help you become a better listener to His voice and your family.