Proverbs 4:20 KJV: “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.”

The revelation of the words to “incline thine ear” came to me years ago when I was struggling with my level of trust for God.

During the time of my personal struggle, I had to face a hard truth about myself. I was guilty of putting my confidence in people while hosting unbelief in my heart right in the face of God.

Though shameful but sobering, I asked God a question about my level of trust: “If faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17 KJV), why don’t I trust you like I should?”

I was hearing the word of God ALL THE TIME — in church, at home, by radio, television, Internet, etc. — but still had trust issues. After committing to prayer, fasting, and studying the Word, God did two things: (1) Gave me specific instructions to “incline thine ear;” and (2) Revealed to me how people are as a whole: We Don’t Trust People We Don’t Know!

I began searching what it meant to “incline” thine ear and learned that it means to listen carefully, attentively, and closely — to bow and stoop the ear, etc. (e.g., Brown, Driver, Briggs and Gesenius, “Hebrew Lexicon entry for Natah,” 2020, Proverbs 4:20).

I understood what it meant to listen, and even to bow and stoop “the body,” but I didn’t know what it meant to bow and stoop “the ear.” As I meditated on it, God gave me a vivid example of a crowded room filled with noisy adults standing around chatting.

A little child approached an adult, but due to the child’s small stature, the child had to first get the adult’s attention by tapping the adult’s leg. Therefore, the adult had to bow down and position his/her ear to the mouth of the child to hear what the child had to say. That’s when the light came on!

I was missing some important things God wanted to share with me due to all the distractions around me. God needed ME to get away from the noise, remove the distractions, re-position myself in prayer, and INCLINE MY EAR to listen carefully for my answer.

He further explained this when He interrupted my meal one day and said, “It means to come close.” Unfortunately, I had not found THAT definition ANYWHERE, which is why He needed me to incline my ear. He needed me to know something that only He could tell me – something that could not have been researched, googled or stocked on any department store shelf. This rhema word made it even more clear because in order to bow down to hear, we must be close enough to put our ear to His mouth.

After coming close and inclining my ear, God began to deal with me about my trust issue. He explained what He meant when He revealed that We Don’t Trust People We Don’t Know! He showed me that there is wisdom in “not trusting PEOPLE we don’t know,” but it’s also the same reason we don’t trust Him! We Don’t Know Him!

The way we get to know people is the same way we get to know God — by frequently communicating and spending quality time with Him. We get to know and recognize His voice, which ALWAYS confirms His word. We get to know His character, thereby learning to trust Him. TO KNOW HIM IS TO TRUST HIM!

I learned that my level of trust for God was due to an imbalance between hearing the WORD of God and hearing the VOICE of God. His sheep hear His voice. Hearing the WORD of God requires little effort. But learning to hear the VOICE of God requires sacrifice — coming close and building a relationship. There are SOME things He wants to tell us Himself! But it all starts with getting to know Him FIRST because We Don’t Trust People We Don’t Know!

Jenise “Sandy” Blake is pastor of Feed My Sheep eMinistries (formerly SONLite Ministries of Pine Bluff.)

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