“A Wise Person Will Listen”
LIFE was at stake. Carefully they listened to the instructions so they would be able to carry them out. Had they not, the oldest child in each family would have died.
The location of that event was in ancient Egypt. The time was 1513 B.C.E. The occasion was when God gave the nation of Israel his passover instructions. To listen, and then to abide by those requirements would mean that the firstborn of each Israelite family would be spared when God struck down the firstborn in all Egypt.
How careful those people were to listen and then to apply all the words of instruction! As the Bible states: “Subsequently the sons of Israel went and did just as Jehovah had commanded Moses and Aaron. They did just so.” (Ex. 12:28) Because they listened to God’s instructions passed on through Moses and Aaron, the firstborn of Israel were spared when Jehovah’s angel destroyed all Egypt’s firstborn. What a blessing to Israelite parents to have paid attention! What a blessing to their firstborn that they did so!
In ancient times God spoke by means of various servants, such as Moses, Aaron and the prophets of Israel and Judah. In the first century Jehovah spoke by means of his Son, Jesus Christ, then by the Christian congregation. (1 Cor. 2:10; Eph. 3:5) Now, in our day, God still speaks through his servants. As Jesus said, these constitute “the faithful and discreet slave” class whom he appoints “over all his belongings.”—Matt. 24:45-47.
The truths Jehovah dispenses through this visible “slave” class on earth today are even more necessary than literal food. Material food sustains life for a time, but spiritual food strengthens for everlasting life. As it was at passover in Egypt, so today the lives of God’s people are at stake when he speaks. Hence, the principle remains: “A wise person will listen and take in more instruction.”—Prov. 1:5.
When God talks, men and women who love life will want to listen. They will want to pay attention for at least three reasons: (1) out of respect for God, whose words are being related, (2) because they keenly desire to do God’s will, and (3) because they want God’s blessing so they can someday live forever in his new order. To do these things they must keep abreast with the progressively revealed truths of God.
Are you in attendance when God’s words are being spoken? Do you respect God and show that respect by listening intently? Do you pay attention so you can learn more concerning God’s purposes and requirements in order that you may more fully carry out his will? That should be the desire of God’s people everywhere.
In Jehovah’s visible organization today there are many opportunities for proving ourselves wise by listening. There are Bible studies in homes, in Kingdom Halls of Jehovah’s witnesses and Bible discussions at large assemblies. In the smaller groups we are more likely to keep our attention on what is said and done. The larger the group, the more possibility exists of our minds becoming sidetracked.
LISTENING AT LARGE ASSEMBLIES
That is why wise persons will pay particular attention to their listening habits when Jehovah’s people meet by the thousands in large assemblies. Here, it is vital to concentrate on what is said, for when new truths and procedures are unfolded it is usually at these large assemblies.
Who should be paying attention? Everyone at the assembly not involved in work that must be done during sessions. However, even such essential workers are provided with loud-speaking equipment so they can listen while they work.
Young and old, male and female should be listening when God’s Word is spoken. They should do as Moses counseled the nation of Israel: “Congregate the people, the men and the women and the little ones and your alien resident who is within your gates, in order that they may listen and in order that they may learn, as they must fear Jehovah your God and take care to carry out all the words of this law.”—Deut. 31:12.
So today at assemblies of Jehovah’s witnesses, all in attendance will want to do the same: come, listen, learn, so they can carry out Jehovah’s will in these last days.
In many parts of the world attentiveness is marvelous at such large assemblies. In other parts of the world some have formed the bad habit of not being attentive, even milling about on the assembly grounds while sessions are in progress. Here is where Jehovah’s people will want to work for improvement. They should cultivate the good habit of staying in their seats, listening and learning.
True, at times one may have to leave his seat. It may be necessary for a mother to care for her baby, or for some to leave a few minutes early for essential assembly work. However, wherever possible, it would be well for such to take seats where they will not have to cross in front of many others who are listening, so their attention will not be diverted.
It is observed at times that young ones group together and converse during talks. Parents will show wisdom by requiring their young to be under their supervision at this time. Before and after sessions there is time to enjoy the good fellowship that is always such a nice part of Christian assemblies. But when God’s Word is being expounded, it is time to sit quietly and pay attention to the speaker.
An aid to concentrating on what is said and done is to have along a Bible to check key Scripture references. Also, a pencil and note pad are useful so as to involve oneself in the discussion by taking a few essential notes, though not too many. Also, think how the material being presented adds to the fund of knowledge you already have on the subject. Think how you might use this in your ministry, or in your daily living. Constantly review in your mind how what is said applies to you. Such mental and physical activity will involve more of your senses and help to keep you alert. In this way you can reap the fruitage of the many hours of research and preparation that have gone into even the shorter talks.
The benefits of listening are many. Our daily living will be improved constantly. We will be assisted to cultivate the new Christian personality. We will be further fortified to teach others in our ministerial activity. Also, when young ones are lovingly taught to sit patiently and listen, they are being taught discipline that they will need in later life. And for all, listening and learning will help them on their way to everlasting life in paradise.
In addition, we do something else when we show ourselves wise and pay attention to Jehovah’s words. Proverbs 27:11 states: “Be wise, my son, and make my heart rejoice.” So be wise. Listen and learn during the assemblies of Jehovah’s people this year. In that way you will make the heart of your heavenly Father, Jehovah, rejoice as well as bring benefits to yourself and your loved ones.