This week, Pastor Chris continued in our new series through the book of Malachi with a word on being a good listener. Listening is a skillset that communicates love and honor to another person. In Malachi 2, we learn from the example of the Levites who did not listen to the voice of God or take his instruction to heart. These priests listened to their own voice rather than God’s, and it reflected the lack of honor they had in their hearts for Him. Chris encouraged us as Gods royal priesthood to listen to His voice in our lives, take His instruction to heart, and honor Him in full obedience.
5 Levels of Listening
- Ignoring Listening: Zero expenditure of effort to listen.
- Pretend Listening: Giving the appearance of listening, but in a patronizing way.
- Selective Listening: Listening to parts of the message usually to respond with winning comeback.
- Attentive Listening: Usually involves eye contact, thinking to understand, reflecting, rephrasing, and other tools to keep us fully engaged and sending the message to the other party.
- Empathetic Listening: Requires the greatest amount of mental and emotional energy. It reaches beyond attentive listening because we actively push our own perspective out of our mind and heart to try to walk with others to see as they see and feel as they feel.
Learning to Listen
Malachi 2:1–2 (ESV)
1 “And now, O priests, this command is for you. 2 If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honor to my name, says the Lord of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart.
How does God speak today?
- Scriptures (Daniel 9:2-3)
- Other people (1 Corinthians 14:3)
- Impression (Acts 20:22; Acts 15:28)
- Internal thoughts (1 Kgs. 19:11-12)
- Gentle visions or a picture (Jn. 1:48; Acts 7:56)
- Visions (Daniel 7:2-3)
- Trances (Acts 10:9-10)
- Dreams (Job 33:14-17; Matt. 1:20)
- Angelic revelation (Gen. 32:24-30; Heb. 1:14)
- Audible voice (Acts 9:4)
- Nature (Romans 1:19-20)
Malachi 2:2 (ESV)
2 Listen…take it to heart and give honor to my name…
Bad Listening Habits
- Interrogating ~ reversing roles.
- Switching ~ change subject.
- Interrupting ~ change flow.
- Distracted ~ not focused.
- Ignoring ~ don’t want to hear it.
- Disagreeing ~ challenge the point.
- Rationalizing ~ excuse self.
- Editing ~ selective hearing.
- Disobeying ~ hear but not take to heart.
How to Listen Well
James 1:19 (ESV)
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.
- Pre-determine your reaction.
- Assume good intent in the other.
- Give focused attention.
- Listen with acceptance and understanding.
Proverbs 24:3 (ESV)
3 By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established;
- Ask clarifying questions.
- Focus on what is being said, not the way it is being said.
“Listening requires giving up our favorite human pastime – involvement in ourselves and our own self-interests.” Sonya Hamlin
Garbage In, Garbage Out
Malachi 2:3 (ESV)
3 Behold, I will rebuke your offspring, and spread dung on your faces, the dung of your offerings, and you shall be taken away with it.
Biblical Worldview Defined ~ Believing that absolute moral truth exists; the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches; Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic; a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or do good works; Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; and God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today.
Colossians 2:8 (ESV)
…captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
2 Timothy 4:1–4 (ESV)
1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
- “Study finds 37% of pastors have biblical worldview.”
Leaders of Content & Character
Malachi 2:4–6 (ESV)
4 So shall you know that I have sent this command to you, that my covenant with Levi may stand, says the Lord of hosts. 5 My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him. It was a covenant of fear, and he feared me. He stood in awe of my name. 6 True instruction was in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity.
1 Corinthians 11:1 (ESV)
1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
John 21:17 (ESV)
17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
Leaders Are Feeders
Malachi 2:7–9 (ESV)
7 For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. 8 But you have turned aside from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the Lord of hosts, 9 and so I make you despised and abased before all the people, inasmuch as you do not keep my ways but show partiality in your instruction.”
4 Habits for Spiritual Health
- Two ears, one mouth. (Ears open, mouth closed)
- Get God’s Word into your heart. (Did the Bible live in me today?)
- Daily seek to walk in God’s will.
- Think Biblically.
1. How do you personally hear from God (see the list above)? Do you seek to hear His voice daily?
2. What was the last thing God told you to do? Did you respond in obedience?
3. Do you come to your Word expecting to hear God speak? Why or why not?
4. Are you currently strong in content (knowing the Word of God) and character? Where are you strong? Where can you grow?
5. Do you need to grow in hearing or listening to the Lord and obeying what He says? Share with the group.
1. What is the Holy Spirit telling you about your listening life? Do you need to repent of elevating your opinion over God’s voice? Get prayer from a friend or mentor this week.
2. Meditate on Malachi 2:5-6 this week. Ask the Lord to confirm this same covenant in your heart and align you with His ways this week.
3. Look at the 7 aspects of a Biblical Worldview. Determine honestly this week whether your worldview is truly Biblical. If it’s not, commit to aligning fully with God’s will.