23 Give ye
ear ['azan], and hear [shama`] my voice
[qowl]; hearken [qashab], and hear [shama`] my
speech ['imrah]. KJV-Interlinear
23 Give ear,
and hear my voice; give attention, and hear my speech. ESV
The biggest problem and why people fail, is that they do not feel obligated to listen or to pay attention to the teaching of the scriptures, even though that condition is mandated and required by God. They may hear words, and even repeat them, but the words do not stick in their heads, but just spill out of their ears and mouth and onto the ground, for what good they do.
Give ear means to give some semblance of courtesy to the speaker. And hear, means to listen. And hearken, means to pay attention, to focus, to concentrate. And hear again is repeated, that you actually listen and hear and gain and retain, something from that which is being taught.
In life we have two obligations that command our life.
The first is to be prepared for the next life, for this life is short while the next life is forever. And even though we look at our life now, as the minutes turn to hours, turn to days, turn to years, and on and on, it just does not seem short, except in hindsight, and then we wonder, where did all of those years go.
So, preparation for the next life should be our priority and focus since our next life has a potential value beyond measure.
And the second obligation, is preparation in this life, just to get through this life.
When we were born into this world, God imputed the breath of life, the spark of life, so that we could be separated from our momma through that umbilical cord, and begin to function on our own. We learn to listen and speak and read and write and how to get along with people and work and pay bills and so forth. But this is all temporary, for none of it will go with us into the next life. Only our soul and spirit will depart from here and begin the next life process, as we wait for the resurrection and then the Judgment Seat of Christ, which is a good place for us as believers, receiving our evaluation, and then on to eternity and so forth.
That evaluation, is where we begin this study, in this verse. Hear, listen, pay attention and actually benefit from that which is being taught.
Because your evaluation from Christ is not going to be based on your sincerity or intentions, but on the doctrine actually resident in your soul.
And if you never listen, you never learn, and you have no spiritual assets within your soul, meaning your reward will be zip.
There are many examples in this world. You can be born wealthy or poor. Which is better?
In heaven you will be wealthy from reward, or poor due to no reward. Having a reward is an honor, because it comes from God specifically to you. Having no reward is an embarrassment because you could have paid attention in this life and had a reward, but you didn’t.
And so God deals with each person in different ways, because each person is not the same and each person needs a little or a lot of incentive to get them going in their spiritual life. So, in some cases, God gives us each a swift kick in the back-side, so to speak, in order to get our attention.
It will either work or not, depending on your degree of desire to learn, or your arrogant stupidity in refusing to pay attention.
One of the biggest problems in this generation, is the sense of entitlement in which people presume that they should have everything given to them, without them doing anything to earn or get it. In which case, welfare programs grow, governments take advantage of that in order to have a large controllable population, and to preserve their power and authority. And, eventually it all becomes a trap for everyone and a recipe for major disaster sooner or later.
With this attitude, the spiritual life becomes less and less important for everyone from bottom to top. And then God has to step in to shake up everyone through major disasters of one sort or another. And when that happens, there is a great deal of suffering and sorrow and loss.
Remember that Isaiah is looking not only at life in general, but specifically at the ends times. And if you remember our study in Revelation, then you will recall that when things get really bad, people will mourn over the loss of their life-style more so than their loss of a relationship with God.
And phony noble comments like, I don’t need money or wealth or prosperity, in order to veil an indifferent attitude toward the spiritual life, is a sham and an insult to God who is the provider of all things, and the conduit through which all success and happiness and contentment and so forth may be achieved.
But of course you have to pay attention, and before that you have to hear, and before that you have to listen, and before all of that, you have to want it, genuinely want it.
The first thing we as students should learn is to keep our mouths shut and our ears open. For a student’s job is to listen and learn, and then to apply what is learned to ones daily life. And, then do it all over and over, again and again, throughout ones entire life.
And that will prepare you, eventually, for your eventual final test when standing before Jesus. Which you will do one day.
The only question is, what will you have to show for your life?