The Wisdom of Listening


“Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway.” (Proverbs 8:34)

When Solomon was king of Israel, the queen of Sheba traveled to Jerusalem to test his wisdom with many hard questions.

He passed with flying colors.

In her summary of the visit, the queen said, “How happy are your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom!” (I Kings 10:8)

She was talking about us!

As Christians, we have direct access to God, the source of Solomon’s wisdom. We don’t have to go on a long journey for glimpses of this wisdom, as the queen did, but, like Solomon’s officials, we have continual access to it.

But, like the queen, there are a couple of things that we have to do.

First of all, we have to seek God’s wisdom; to ask the “many hard questions” that we face on a daily basis. How often do we endure uncertainty and despair rather than simply asking God for direction? James reminds us that, if we need wisdom, we should ask the Father, and it will be given to us. (James 1:5)

The second thing that we need to do is listen. Perhaps you’ve had the experience of having someone who is struggling with a big problem come and tell you all about it in great detail, never stopping to listen for your advice. Or perhaps you’ve encountered someone who is so overwhelmed by his problem that he dismisses any advice that you offer, thinking that there’s no solution.

I sometimes wonder how often I have frustrated God by coming to him when I was distressed and talking non-stop, not letting him get a word in edgewise, even though he knows the way to address my problem all along.

We must never forget that prayer is a conversation with God; an opportunity not only to speak to him but also to hear and learn from him. If we truly understand what prayer is and who God is, our goal in prayer will shift from telling God what’s on our hearts to hearing what’s on his heart.

Imagine sitting in front of a refrigerator, desperately thirsty, but never bothering to open the door and look for something to drink – or opening the door, but only complaining to the pitcher of water inside about how thirsty you are. When we come before God, we’re opening the door to the answer for our need. When we listen to his wisdom, we’re drinking the water that satisfies our thirst.


-Otis A. Fortenberry

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