this past weekend we had stake conference in Lansing and the President Ritchie gave a wonderful talk about listening to the spirit. in his talk he mentioned the word HEARKEN and how it means to not only listen but to also do. this is something that has really stuck with me ever since, so i decided to search it out a bit more.
in a talk given by Russell M. Nelson (LDS.org - Ensign Article - Listen to Learn) he talked about the meaning of HEARKENing in all different ways. Elder Nelson mentioned that HEARKENing is linked to obeying. in the talk that he gave it is noted in the footnotes (15) that "the word obey comes from two Latin roots: the prefix ob “to” or “toward,” and the root audio, audire “to hear” or “to listen.” This root occurs in words such as audio, audience, or auditorium. Literally, then, the word obey means “to hear or to listen toward,” that is, “to comply."
so when we think about HEARKENing to the counsels of the Lord, are we obeying? to HEARKEN is not to only listen to, but to also go and do. i have thought a lot about this question in my own life, and there are many times that i have heard the counsels of the Lord, but i have not done what he asked me to do.
here is a silly story for you: when i was serving in the area of Cadillac, Michigan it came to be transfer time, and i had to go to the Grand Rapids for a few days before i got my new companion. as i was packing to leave i kept getting the impression that i should really take my snow boots. people kept telling me that it was going to snow, but i did not really believe them. so as i kept packing i kept getting the impression to take my snow boots. well me being stubborn did not want to take them, because i did not think that it was going snow and i also did not want to lug them around everywhere that i went (they were quite the snow boots). did i HEARKEN? truthfully i did not. so we got to Grand Rapids and of course there was not snow and no sign of snowing either, so i thought good thing that i did not bring my snow boots. well come that next morning there was eight inches of snow on the ground. so what did i not do...... HEARKEN! i should have HEARKENed to the spirit. after all he kept telling me to take my snow boots. so i trudged around in the snow for a couple of days in my regular missionary shoes with very cold feet. now if i would have only HEARKENed, my feet would have been a whole lot warmer. i have definitely learned my lesson in HEARKENing to the spirit.
there is a scripture found in 2 Nephi 9:29 that reads, " But to be learned is good if they HEARKEN unto the counsels of God." how true this scripture is. that is something else that Elder Nelson talked of, that the Hebrew word for both HEARKENing and obedience is the term shama' which means to "to hear intelligently." by HEARKENing we are learned, we are becoming like our Savior and our Father in Heaven, we are obedient.
as we HEARKEN to the spirit and as we learn to obey, we are promised great blessing from our Heavenly Father. remember that HEARKENing is not merely listening but it is doing!