The Lord's Listeners

Alec Motyer

READ : Isaiah 51:1-16

Listen to me, my people. (v. 4 NRSV)

Three times (vv. 1, 4, 7) the call goes out, “Listen to me.” It looks back to what
Isaiah saw as the foremost characteristic of the Servant of the Lord, the Lord Jesus.
Morning by morning his ear was opened to hear (50:4). Isaiah wants the same thing to be
characteristic of us. Listening to his word is what distinguishes the true people of the
Lord from the merely professing or the downright spurious.

This is not, of course, an exercise of some supposed “inner ear,” some imagining of the
Lord’s voice speaking in our heads. We listen to him as he speaks and ministers to us in
and through his Word. The Holy Scriptures are the voice of God; the genuine believer is
one whose ear is regularly (morning by morning) attuned to revealed truth.

See how God’s call to listen is supported by the promise that the teaching “will go out
from me” (v. 4); and how the call is addressed to those who have God’s law or word in
their hearts (v. 7). Most of what this passage says concerns what the Lord will yet do,
and his promises are glorious—a restored Eden, a worldwide salvation, the erosion of
all opposition. We should revel in such expectations. But we have only one immediate duty:
to listen to the Word of God.

PRAYER

Teach me . . . I am your servant.