What does this word “Hark!” mean to communicate? This imperative verb is a call to listen or hear. The author of today’s beloved Christmas hymn was Charles Wesley, and it seems that he means to say, “don’t miss this” or “pay attention to what we are about to sing.” “Hark!”
The Scripture often has ways of commanding our attention. As you read in Revelation 22:17, you saw the Spirit of God and the Bride of Christ calling to sinners, “Come.” Then you read the phrase, “him that heareth” or “the one who hears.” So then, looking at the text, let’s ask this question. Do all hear? The call certainly does goes out into all the world, but not all hear with spiritual ears, do they? Still, the Spirit of God and bride of Christ are essentially saying, “Hark!” This divine command to hear with spiritual ears is on the one hand impossible by the natural man, but on the other hand the duty of the spiritual man.
You might ask, “Isn’t ‘impossible’ a strong word?” Yes, I think it is, and I think it is exactly the meaning of 1 Corinthians 2:14 when Paul says that the natural man can not discern or understand the gospel. Therefore, all who do actually hear with spiritual ears are able to understand the gospel because God has graciously given them “ears to hear.” When you hear the gospel in today’s Christmas carol, does your heart sing? If you love the sound of God’s grace on display, then praise God!
Now, for all that have those spiritual ears to hear the imperative, “Hark!” is now our joyful duty. We may accomplish this good work both positively and negatively. For me to obey the call to “Hark!,” I must negatively ignore everything that seeks to draw my attention away from Christ. Then, I must positively and intentionally devote my undivided attention to Him. “Hark!”