In the 55th chapter of Isaiah, we receive important instructions about listening to messages from God:
- “Incline your ear, and come unto me,” He says, “hear, and your soul shall live” (Isaiah 55:3). Listening requires intentional effort. We need to eliminate distractions and focus our attention on His words.
- “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found,” says Isaiah, “call ye upon him while he is near” (Isaiah 55:6). Some of God’s messages are available to us at specific times and places. If we want to hear Him, we need to be in the right place at the right time.
- “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” says God. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). If we expect God to tell us things we already know and believe, we will be disappointed. We don’t listen to God in order to confirm that our preconceived notions are right. We listen to have those models challenged and replaced by better ones. If we are to learn, we need to listen to God with a healthy dose of modesty.
Jesus said, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matthew 11:15, Matthew 13:9, 43). King Benjamin warned his people not to “trifle” with his words, but instead to “open your ears that ye may hear, and your hearts that ye may understand, and your minds that the mysteries of God may be unfolded to your view” (Mosiah 2:9).
Today, as I participate in general conference, I will “incline [my] ear.” I will listen with intention and focus, I will seek His guidance during this dedicated time, and I will open my mind to receive new insights and directions.