Prepare to Listen. Listen to me, my people.
Prayerfully Read Isaiah 51:4-6
4Listen to me, my people,
and give heed to me, my nation;
for a teaching will go out from me,
and my justice for a light to the peoples.
5I will bring near my deliverance swiftly,
my salvation has gone out
and my arms will rule the peoples;
the coastlands wait for me,
and for my arm they hope.
6Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
and look at the earth beneath;
for the heavens will vanish like smoke,
the earth will wear out like a garment,
and those who live on it will die like gnats;
but my salvation will be for ever,
and my deliverance will never be ended.
When I was a child my parents often said to me, “Listen to me!” It usually meant I was in trouble and their listen meant obey. Yahweh’s Listen to me has the same sense, meaning “a readiness to be addressed and commanded, to have life ordered by Yahweh,” so that we hear the LORD’s life-changing announcement about his saving initiative.
Things were bad for the exiles in Babylon, to whom Jeremiah wrote. They questioned God’s presence and power to save them. They needed to hear, really hear about God’s promise of salvation, a deliverance that would be expansive and inclusive of all creation. God promised to swiftly bring near my deliverance, my arms (i.e., power), and my salvation, a new rule of justice for all. Therefore, listen.
Listen to me, says the Lord, not to the voices of politicians, preachers, mass media that are too often fear-filled lies. What we listen to influences how we think and how we live. It becomes a meta-narrative, a big story that shapes us but often has little to do with the Story of Jesus, the good news of salvation for all, the Story we’re called to live. It takes discipline to refuse to be molded by mass media, social norms, cultural ideologies, and instead be molded by God as we obey God’s command: Listen to me. When we do, we’ll be transformed by God’s Story. Listen to me so that you “don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within.”
How can you practice a more attentive listening to Yahweh and be molded by him and not the false ideologies of the world?
Lord Jesus, you came as God’s salvation and deliverance, the one to bring in justice for all. Help me be more attentive to your Voice and resist being shaped by the many voices of my culture today. Amen.
Live obediently. Listen to the Lord.
 Brueggemann, Walter. A Commentary on Jeremiah. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. 1998, p. 82.
 J. B. Phillips’ translation of Romans 12:2.