By: Chad Hyatt
Reflection—v. 7b, Oh, that today you would listen to his voice
While the concluding lines of this psalm may seem harsh, they are only a warning. And because they are a warning, they are literally beside the point. Put another way, the extended description of the hardened heart serves the ultimate purpose of underscoring the psalmist’s main point: we are able to, and we should, listen to God’s voice speaking to us. Don’t conjure up some image of Charlton Heston jerking his head heaven-ward as the booming baritone of God calls to him from somewhere offscreen. Sorry to disappoint, but that isn’t actually how God speaks to us! The truth is, God is speaking to us all the time, even—and some would say, especially—in silence. God speaks in creation, through circumstance, by our conscience, and with the wisdom of others. The difficulty, more often than not, is that we fail to listen. Lent is about practicing the turning of our hearts and lives toward the God of love and life. The disciplines we re-discovered Ash Wednesday—alms-giving, prayer, and fasting—all function as means by which we can re-discover our hearts. They are practices of renewed listening. In this moment, accept that God is really speaking, and your heart is big enough to listen.
Prayer O God, today you are speaking, and I am listening.