Saturday, March 28, 2009

Blogger Friend School #126 Can You Hear Me Now?

Memory Verse: Mark 12:28-34

28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.
Intro: When Jesus starts his response with “Hear O Israel”, he’s referencing back to the Shema - from Deuteronomy 6-4 - Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One and Only, Blessed Be his Glorious Sovereign Name for ever and ever. Jesus says this is His greatest commandment. Like.. if you asked your child(ren) to clean a room.. and it wasn’t done.. they responded to you and said.. I heard you. What good is it if they heard you.. but didn’t DO it. So for us to say, we heard God.. but ignored his instructions.. that’s not good enough.

Assignment: What does God mean when he says HEAR.. he says it often.. if we don’t have an auditory reception of His voice. why is he saying HEAR.. what does it mean, what are we losing in translation? The word Shema doesn’t just mean Hear.. like what your ear receives.. it means more. Tell in your assignment what you think Shema means whether it’s active hearing or auditory hearing. I’m very anxious to read your thoughts on this. I hope you will all enjoy doing this assignment, as we are trying to dig deeper into the Word and have a better understanding of what the Bible really is about.

When I read this assignment on Tuesday, I got all excited about it, because I really do enjoy digging into words and meanings. Then life began to happen and suddenly I find myself here on Saturday with a page full of notes ready to post. Phew. It's been a full week! Yesterday was our last "official" day of classes before our spring break, so now I feel like I can breathe a little easier. Maybe I'll be able to catch up on the rest of the unfinished posts I have waiting for me!!!

So, here's where God led me in this study...
The Spanish verb oír and the Spanish verb escuchar.
  • Oír -- to perceive sounds, to give into the pleas of someone = hear
  • Escuchar -- to listen attentively; take into account; obey = listen

There is just something about the Spanish verbs which is different. During the past 100 years, American English has undergone a few changes. Nothing which terribly changes the actual language, but the rules have relaxed (in more ways than just grammar, for sure!) and many slang words have been added. Some words which used to be commonly used in a positive way are now used in a negative way or not used at all. For instance, my daughter was commenting the other day that someone accused a friend of hers of being "descriminating". I told her that 100 years ago, being descriminating was considered a good thing. In our language today, descrimination is only a bad thing. Many words are like that. Dumb used to just mean speechless, toilet was something everyone did to prepare for the day and gay was how you felt on a spring morning.

While the meanings of "hear" and "listen" haven't changed with the passing of time, it's good to slow down and really look at their meanings. In English they are used almost interchangeably, but not so in Spanish and also not so in the original Greek and Hebrew. The word translated oír or hear is a passive word. It implies that the hearer is just receiving. Escuchar or listen, on the other hand, are acitve verbs. That means that there is work being done on the part of the receiver -- some processing or application going on.

I focused on two main verses which use the word hear. The first is an Old Testament passage, the one which Jesus quoted in the passage above.

Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.
The second verse is from the New Testament:
James 1:22-23 ...But be doers of the word and not merely hearers...

In the first verse, the verb is the active form of the word. Take notice! Listen up!

In the second verse, the word used would be what your child is doing about 30 seconds after you begin lecturing about the state of his bedroom. He hears you, but he's checked out. He's already heard it, he knows what you're going to say, if he just looks like he's paying attention, you'll stop ranting soon, and he can get back to whatever it is that he really wants to listen to.

And that, my friends, is exactly what God says NOT to do! Don't just read your devotional book in the morning, move your bookmark to the next page and get on with your day. The woman who does that is (as the Bible says) like the person who looks in the mirror and then walks away and completely forgets what she looks like. Here's the whole passage from the book of James:

James 1:22-25 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.

I hope this post encourages you to really listen to what God wants to tell you -- be an active listener, not a passive hearer!

1 comment:

Nancy said...

Hi Rebecca~ I understand how life gets in the way sometimes. I have yet to write up my assignment on my site. My husband and I spent a considerable amount of time on your blog this morning. We were reading about your life in Mexico and have talked about coming there to find mission work. Thank you for all you and your family do and for the assignment this week. Happy Spring Break!