“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Turn from your evil ways and your evil practices.’ But they would not listen or pay attention to me, declares the Lord.” Zechariah 1:4.
I taught school for thirty-nine years. Many times, I used the word, “Listen,” and the words, “Pay attention.” How could they learn (from me) otherwise?
God wonders the same thing about the Jews.
The difference between my students and the Jews was that there was a clear history for the Jews to recall. There had been serious consequences when they tuned God out. They should have known better from what had happened to their ancestors and themselves when they shut God out of their lives.
How does this apply to me? I must listen for God’s instructions. There are consequences if I don’t.
How does He instruct me? It could be from those in my midst telling me what to do and what not to do. It surely is from meditating on the Bible.
I am amazed at how meaningful Scripture has become as I have deliberately read until something speaks to me. I start with assigned chapters each day but have never read the entire assignment because something turns up early that is worth meditation on.
Another source of instruction available to me are sermons and Bible studies. Interesting to hear the perspectives of others on Scripture and try to personalize them.
For me there is separation between listening and paying attention. In “paying attention” I’m listening but not reacting as I should. How many things do I know are wrong or right? Many, many! Yet will I pay attention and obey? A wise man once said that I need to spend more time doing (or not doing) what I am clear on and less time on the confusing parts of Scripture.
Conclusion: I must strain to listen to God and I must exert myself carrying out His Will.