Is Anyone Listening?
My child, listen when your father corrects you! Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. (Proverbs 1:8 NLT)
The Greek philosopher Zeno made a statement that parents have used with their children down through the ages: “The reason why we have two ears and only one mouth is that we may listen the more and talk the less.”
If Zeno were living in today’s culture, he might have revised his philosophy from listening with open ears to covering his ears to protect them from all the noise.
Ancient Greek culture did not have amplifiers and boom boxes blaring out loud rap music (120 dB), the roaring of jet planes taking off (150dB), noisy lawnmowers (100 dB), chain saws (120 dB), packed football stadiums (117dB), or jack hammers (140 dB).
Zeno didn’t stop his car next to a hot rod with speakers so loud the vehicle was shaking, and causing his to shake as well. Most of us have had at least one experience with noise so loud that it hurt our ears.
Having said all this, a far greater tragedy occurs when there is so much noise around us that we fail to hear the voice of God when he speaks to us. In his efforts to teach us wisdom, our heavenly Father is confronted with the clutter of noisy communications from the man-made devices that tend to pull us further away from hearing the truth. The only way we can listen and hear the words of God is to find a quiet place where noise is eliminated.
A similar situation existed in Solomon’s day when he wrote the book of Proverbs. God was trying to speak to the children of Israel, but for one reason or another, they weren’t listening. He mentions two voices in Chapter one, vv. 8-19 that were trying to get their attention.
First, there is the voice of a godly father as he seeks to instruct his children:
“My child, listen when your father corrects you! Don’t neglect your mother’s instructions. What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck.”
Please take note that both parents are involved in the teaching process. There is an old adage that says: “Families that pray together – stay together.” Perhaps the failure on the part of families to heed this sage advice has led to the breakdown of the home. Nevertheless, the combined teaching effort will ultimately pay off in rich dividends.
Second, there is the voice of a father warning his child to watch his path and steer clear of wrong associations. The temptation of going along with the crowd is strong, and it takes courage to avoid the traps that lead to sinful consequences. He uses the illustration of a bird who watches a trap being laid:
“If a bird sees a trap being set, it knows to stay away.” In essence he is saying, “Aren’t you smarter than a bird?”
How many times during the past 70 + years have I placed a beautiful, juicy, mouthwatering worm on a hook, and sat for hours watching a cork that never bobbed or was taken under by a fish? I have been outsmarted by fish many a time.
Finally, the writer sums up his instruction by saying, “But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.” (Proverbs 1:33 NLT)