Increasing numbers of people ignore established sources of wisdom that God provides through prophets. The world is becoming more tumultuous and the "experts" to whom many turn for answers are often revealed as vacuous and unreliable, more often wrong than right. The need for wise guidance has never been greater and those who know how to hear God will get the peace and direction that each of us desires in these confusing times.
I am grateful yet again for the writings of inspired prophets of God that we have today from the Book of Mormon:
3 Nephi 11:4-6
And it came to pass that again they heard the voice, and they understood it not.
And again the third time they did hear the voice, and did open their ears to hear it; and their eyes were towards the sound thereof; and they did look steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the sound came.
And behold, the third time they did understand the voice which they heard;
In this instance, God was speaking to the people but they could not understand. We may very well sit in a church or read from scriptures and thus hear the messages from God, but we may not actually understand what God is telling us. In these verses, a prophet helps us to better understand what God has to tell us:
- We have to "open our ears to hear it". So many times, God has already provided answers, but we are too distracted by our own cares to "hear" them. As we set aside quiet time to put the responsibilities of life on hold, we will be more ready to hear what God wants to tell us. I recall being in places far from the bustle of life that are quiet enough that you can hear the breeze and distant rustle of trees and the occassional bird. In such circumstances, where the buzz of our busy lives is far away, we have a better situation to "open our ears" to what God is saying.
- We must focus on God, the true source of wisdom. In the verses above, "their eyes were towards the sound". I recall how often my children would talk to me and I obviously wasn't listening - I wasn't looking at them and paying real attention to what they said. How often do we also hear from God yet are not similarly paying attention?
- We can get answers directly from God. "...they did look steadfastly toward heaven...". It is good to listen to pastors, priests, and teachers, but it is better still to listen more to God who knows you and what you need far better. True prophets will always encourage a better and more direct access to God, so that we can "understand the voice".
If we "open our ears" and look to him, we too will understand what he is saying to us.