Listening for Instructions

Revelation 2:7

“Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”

Here John is instructed to write to the Church at Ephesus, Jesus has issued a promise and a challenge to the seven Churches of Asia Minor. A special reward will be granted to Whoever has ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches, accept the challenge and by grace emerge victorious.

The word for “hear” carries the idea of intentional listening for compliance to specific directives. In essence the challenge is to be alert and always be listening for instructions. Whoever hears and acts on those instructions will receive what is promised. This idea of “having an ear to hear” appears more than a dozen times in the New Testament, seven times in the first three chapters of Revelation alone.

The Telegraph

I’m reminded of a story I once read that illustrates this point of intentional listening.

“Back when the telegraph was the fastest method of long distance communication, a young man applied for a job as a Morse code operator. Answering an ad in the newspaper, he went to the office address that was listed. When he arrived, he entered a large, busy office filled with noise and clatter, including the sound of the telegraph in the background.

A sign on the receptionist’s counter instructed job applicants to fill out a form and wait until they were summoned to enter the inner office. The young man filled out his form and sat down with the seven other applicants in the waiting area.

After a few minutes, the young man stood up, crossed the room to the door of the inner office, and walked right in. Naturally the other applicants perked up, wondering what was going on. They muttered among themselves that they hadn’t heard any summons yet. They assumed that the young man who went into the office made a mistake and would be disqualified for going into the office ahead of everyone else before he was summoned.

Within a few minutes, however, the employer escorted the young man out of the office and said to the other applicants, “Gentlemen, thank you very much for coming, but the job has just been filled.”

The other applicants began grumbling to each other, and one of them spoke up saying, “Wait a minute, I don’t understand. He was the last one to come in,  and he just gets up on his own and goes in first, and we never get a chance to be interviewed, and yet he gets the job. That’s not fair!”

The employer said, “I’m sorry, but all the time you’ve been sitting here, that telegraph has been ticking out the following message in Morse code: ‘If you understand this message, then come right in. The job is yours.’ None of you heard it or understood it. This young man did, so the job is his.”

Are your ears tuned to hear what the Spirit is saying?

While they were sitting there talking this young man walked right in and got the job! He was focused on the reason he was there, he was listening for instructions!

Four Points to Ponder

First: While others were pre-occupied with their conversations, they were not listening, they missed their instructions!

Second: While they were talking among themselves, that small tapping sound of the telegraph continued to tap out their instructions, and it went on unnoticed!

Third: Even though the telegraph was not the loudest sound in the room, it was the most important sound in the room…it was the reason they were there.

Fourth: The one who heard it was the one who focused on his purpose for being there and eliminated all outside influences and distractions (He heard the call)!

Listen Intentionally

The ones who hear what the Spirit is saying in this generation are the ones who will eliminate all other influences and distractions. They are the ones who will act on what they hear the Spirit saying and receive the promised reward.

As I mentioned before, the phrase “Whoever has ears, let them hear” appears more than a dozen times in the New Testament and seven times in the first three chapters of Revelation alone.  In each instance the Churches were instructed to listen to what the Holy Spirit was saying to them. Those who engaged in intentional listening received the reward.

You were born to walk and to talk with God. Jesus said in John 10:27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” The Spirit of God is speaking something to you today. He’s “tapping out” instructions that will guide you as to what you are to do. Are you practicing intentional listening as the young man in the story?

Don’t be among those who are taken up with other things forgetting why they were called together. Be alert the Spirit’s still small voice, Be ready to act on His instructions, Be the one who meets the challenge and receives the reward, and Be Encouraged! -JSP


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