Listening to God

Hear me, you who know what is right, you people who have taken my instruction to heart: Do not fear the reproach of mere mortals or be terrified by their insults. -Isaiah 51:7 

Dear members and friends,

The words “hear” and “listen” are found in many parts of the Bible and I cannot help but think, if those people in the Bible truly heard or listened to the words of their God, they could have avoided or saved themselves much trouble! Even though they lived at the time when God was actively working with humans, those ancient people had a hard time actually cultivating living faith in their God. I take this deeply into consideration and am not criticizing the ancient people of the Bible, but acknowledging the challenging aspect of acquiring living faith in God. In other words, living faith in God is never a matter of a simple experience, but an internal acknowledgement and acceptance of what is experienced. Practicing living faith is challenging now matter who you are or when you live.

According to Swedenborg, “to hear” symbolizes “to receive in the memory and to be instructed, also to receive in the understanding and believe, likewise to receive in obedience and do.” (Arcana Coelestia #9311) This is why in Isaiah God points out the quality of minds into which the words of God could be heard: “you who know what is right and you people who have taken my instruction to heart.” Knowing what is right could be controversial and debatable. But, if we add “before God” to knowing what is right, most of us might agree that finding ways to love each other is definitely what is right before God. Yet, in Isaiah God demands one step further: “you people who have taken my instruction to heart.” Taking God’s instruction to heart means to live by the teaching of God unarguably, which is all about how to love each other. Once again, God in the Bible emphasizes the actual action, which is to live what you know. 

My brothers and sisters in God, for this I would like to take you to a meditation on what you know to be true, and how your life has been so far. My hope and prayer is that you find your actual life is getting close to the truth you desire to embody. 

Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee