“Listen, my people, while I give you warning; Israel, if only you would listen to me! You shall have no strange gods, shall worship no alien god” (Ps 81:8-9).
These words of our Father are no less important for us today than they were in that time for the people of Israel. If we obey our Father, His Spirit can easily shape our lives, because the Lord wants to come to a union of hearts with us. The prerequisite for this is that we listen to Him and obey Him.
In German there is a very beautiful word: “Lauschen”, which describes a very attentive listening attitude. When applied to the relationship with the Lord, it means that one focuses all one’s inner and outer attention on the Father. This listening attitude is marked by love. We could also say that love for God has been awakened in the person.
In the verse of the psalm we heard today, our Father pronounces a warning, knowing full well that His people are in danger of turning away from Him and even falling into idolatry. In order that this does not happen, Israel must focus on God and listen to Him attentively, move His words in their hearts, remember the miracles and wonders that He worked on their behalf and bring them to mind again and again.
How easily we lose sight of our Father, and our hearts dwell on passing things! How careful we must be not to neglect the practices of our spiritual life! We must not forget that our fallen nature has an inclination to evil. Today, idols may take all kinds of forms, but their goal is always the same: to turn our hearts away from God.
It is then that we must remember the Lord’s exhortation to listen to Him and to centre our hearts on Him.