The way that we listen and hear things is so important when it comes to spiritual matters. If we are wise, we will learn how to listen well so that what God says to us will be taken in and seized the moment we hear it. That kind of listening will allow us to not just hear - but also hearken to what is spoken to us. Obedience to a command or a call begins with how we hear it and how we grasp what is being said. Without that skill - communication is a roll of the dice at best.
The father begins by calling his son to hear what he says. The word used to say "hear" is a famous one. It is the word "shema" and it is famous because the Jews call their most famous biblical reference "the shema."
"Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." Deuteronomy 6:4-9
The call to "hear" that is spoken to the son is used to indicate to him that something very important is about to be said. So what the father is about to say here in this passage is vital for him to grasp for his good. When we hear what someone says to us - the amount of importance we assign to their words will in great part determine what we do with them. Some times it will determine whether we hear them beyond the moment in which they speak to us. When this carries over to our relationship with God we see how important this is to our spiritual growth and maturity. When God speaks through His Word - are we listening? Jesus began His most important statements with the phrase, "truly, truly I say to you." Since most Hebrew Rabi's punctuated their important statements with just one truly, Jesus drew their attention very quickly with this manner of speaking. But we need to pay attention to everything our Lord speaks - so the necessity of listening well is even more important for us.
The second thing the father is seeking to teach his son is to lock on to what is said and not let it go. He tells his son to accept his sayings. The idea here is to take hold of something and grab it tightly. There are times, I am embarassed to say, that my wife will ask me what she just said to me. She does this when I am being rude and allowing something to distract me from the importance of interacting with her. There are times when I can repeat what she has said word for word, but that is not why she asked me her question. Her statement was rhetorical - because she knew that I was listening without truly hearing. I might be able to repeat words - but I did not get her heart or her spirit. That is what the father is trying to teach his son. Don't just listen without hearing. Listen to where you truly get the words - and the spirit in which they were spoken. When you do this you will truly "get it."
The father promises that when we do this we will experience a life of many years. This is not must promising a long life, but life itself - for a long time. We will have far more that a quantity of life - we will enjoy a wonderful quality of it as well. Learning to listen well - hearing far more than just words - will bless you in a multitude of areas. It will bless your relationships, most importantly those with your Lord and your wife. It will bless how you relate to your children, your boss, your friends, and even your acquaintences. It will bless your work life - because you will hear what to do and grasp it so that you won't make careless mistakes. It will also bless you when you begin ministering to others. Your ability to truly hear what someone is saying will put you miles ahead of those who simply try to minister - without really knowing where ministry is needed. Oh, to listen this way! It will prove a blessing that you cannot fully measure in life. But it is something that every father - especially our Father in heaven - desires for his son to learn. It will prove to be a monumental blessing to him.