Isaiah 51:1-6 

Listen to me (v. 1). 

We say forms of this with frustration, panic, or desperation in our voice. “Psst!” “Hey!” “Listen up!”

Whether we’re teaching Vacation Bible School to an unruly class of third graders, warning someone of danger ahead, or telling a pet to stop scratching the furniture, these words mean “pay attention,” “watch out,” and “listen intently.” 

The prophet Isaiah cries out for people to pay attention. The Almighty is reminding God’s people of who they are and who their Creator is. Look to the rock from which you were hewn, Isaiah says (v. 1). Remember who you are. Remember what you’re made of. As God’s people face crisis and uncertainty, their fear starts to erode their sense of identity. 

One of the biggest threats to my spiritual life is my frequent inability to pay attention. If God’s messages to me are like signs along the highway, I pass by them without even realizing they are there. What do I miss as I drive on autocruise, so focused on getting to my destination that I don’t notice the lessons along the way? 

Listening is a spiritual practice. Growing attuned to God’s voice in a noisy world requires a willingness to stop and hear. Heeding Isaiah’s words is a good place to begin. Remember who you are and whose you are. The God you worship is the One who will comfort your waste places (v. 3) and make your wilderness an Eden (v. 3). Lift up your eyes to the heavens (v. 6). See what God is doing in your life. 


What are ways you could improve your ability to pay attention?


Gracious God, help me to hear your saving voice in a world full of hopelessness and doubt. Strengthen my ability to pay attention to you. Amen.

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