It’s one thing to be able to know about the Bible (the books of the Bible, the themes of the Bible and the way it came to be handed down to us), but God is interested in so much more than our head knowledge. The Bible is a living word, not just ink on paper. God still wants to speak to us today through His word. ‘In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways,’ the writer to the Hebrews says at the start of that book, ‘but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe.’ (Heb 1:1) God is still speaking to people today through His word, but the key thing for us is to have open, listening ears.

Ps 40:6 says ‘my ears you have pierced’ or ‘opened’; the Message version says ‘you’ve opened my ears so I can listen.’ In the Hebrew, the words literally say ‘you have dug ears for me’, as though they have been dug out of clay, fashioned into the ability to hear by God Himself. It’s not enough for us to believe in the accuracy and reliability of the Bible if we disregard its life-giving power or ignore what God wants to say to us through this word. We need to understand that we read the Bible not simply to know facts about God, but to know God; it’s not enough to have knowledge and understanding if we don’t have those dug-out ears that hear what God is actually saying to us. After all, the Pharisees and Sadducees had a good head knowledge of Scripture but consistently failed to understand what God was saying to them.

The children’s song says ‘listen, obey and be blessed.’ That is the key for us all: to listen and hear what God is saying, to assimilate those words into our lives, chewing them, eating them, absorbing them into our very beings and then obeying them. James says ‘do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.’ (James 1:22) It really is that simple. God told Noah to build an ark. He built it and was saved from the flood. God told Naaman to dip into the river Jordan seven times; when he did that, he was healed. When we listen to God’s word and obey it, we will be blessed. ‘The one who has an ear, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ (Rev 1:7) Let’s be people who listen, obey and receive God’s blessing.