I was watching a news program the other evening where they were discussing the recent passing of musician Tom Petty. At the conclusion of the segment the commentator turned to his panel of “experts” who had participated in the conversation and asked each of them what their favorite Tom Petty song was. And without any hesitation each panelist named a song and took a moment to reminisce as to why this was their favorite.
I was a little surprised at how fast they each answered the inquiry and turned to my wife and stated that I couldn’t answer that question! While I was familiar with the musician I could not name one single song as I haven’t really listened to secular music since the mid 1970’s. I had discovered back then that the secular music on the radio that I had saturated myself in since elementary school and covered many of the songs in a couple of garage bands that I was in through Junior and Senior High just didn’t have any meaning to me anymore!
My growing hunger for the things of God and the breakthrough of good contemporary Christian music opened up a whole new world of musical expression that was easy for me to set my ear to! The lyrics in this genre of music had a strong meaning that effected my entire being and touched my very soul. Then with the new twelve string guitar that my wife bought for me on our first anniversary (I believe that was the occasion anyway – it definitely was during our first year as husband and wife!) the new songs seemed to just pour forth from inside of me! That gorgeous red guitar and I became almost inseparable for many years up and through the 1990’s!*
Proverbs 4:20 in the Old Testament Greek translation found in the Apostolic Bible Polyglot, the Word of the Lord says: “O son, to my sayings take heed, and to my words set aside your ear.” As I read this translation this morning, I thought about the story I shared above and it made me think of the importance of setting our ears to the truth of God’s Word. As Christians, I believe this is a decision that each of us have to face at some point in our lives.
The literal meaning in the Greek for the phrase “set aside” is “to put oneself into a place or to a person.” For us that would simply mean to put ourselves into the place of God’s Word. Into a position where we seek, listen to and obey the teachings and directions that He gives us through the pages of our Bibles. I made the purposeful decision way back when to stop listening to most secular music as I felt it no longer met a need in me. My focus in life had changed and I needed to “set” myself into a place where I was being enriched by the things I listened to. It is a decision that I have never regretted.
The God’s Word translation of our verse today declares: “My son, pay attention to my words. Open your ears to what I say.” Every time I read from that version the “I” seems to enlarge itself and jump off the page at me! It is like the Lord is trying to emphasize the point that what He has to say is of much more importance than to what the world is trying to yell into my ears.
Piper’s and my heartfelt and determined decision to glue our ears onto God and His Word at the very beginning of the ordeal with her health that we continue to deal with, has saved us much discomfort and error from all the other voices that have vied for the attention of our ears since 2007. The next verse in Proverbs 20 warns us to “not lose sight of these things…” (God’s Word ©) I have discovered over the path of our journey that other voices many times, come only but to bring doubt to our stand of faith and act as a distraction to what the Father is trying to do on and in our behalf. For us the need is to: “Focus – Focus – Focus” on God and His Word… for what He has to say is of MUCH MORE importance than any other voice!
So… to what have you “set your ear” to? What are the things that you listen to when the needs of life come to light? For me and my house, our ears are firmly glued onto the truth of God and His Word! Just think about it…
Have a great weekend. After a week of fantastic fall weather we are supposed to get a bit of rain this weekend, but that’s okay as our lawns could use it! As you go about your daily activities this weekend, give a thought to where your ears are set and see if any changes are in order… and in the process keep asking yourself… “What voice(s) am I expecting to be listening to today?”
*Lately though, it hasn’t seen much action! With everything going on with my wife’s health I just haven’t had the inspiration to play. I even purchased a new guitar a couple of years ago and keep both out in our living room so that I can see them, hoping that it would give me the desire to play again… but alas… it hasn’t happened yet! But I fervently believe that those two instruments and Piper’s piano as well, still have lots of years of music in them! My faith won’t let me give up!!!