The command, “Hear the Word of the Lord!” is common in the OT (e.g., 1 Ki. 22:19; 2 Ki. 7; 2 Chr. 18:18; Isa. 1:10; Jer. 2:4; Ezek. 13:2; Hos. 4:1;Amos 7:16, etc. ) but as far as I can tell, such a command does not occur in the NT, though there are other occurrences in the NT where it is said that people “heard the word of the Lord” (Act 13:44; 19:10., and see esp. Act 19:20- “So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed”).
Now also observe that in the OT, it is curiously common in the poetic and prophetic literature to call upon God to “awake!” (e.g., Psa 7:6; 35:23; 44:23; Isa 51:9 [esp. urgent here!], etc). Yet curiously, as Oliver O’Donovan has pointed out, “Nowhere in the New Testament is God called on to awake. One might say, God is there presented as having already awoken, already acted.” (This same thing, I would add, could be said of the absence of the command “hear the Word of the Lord” in the NT; one might say, to paraphrase O’Donovan, that God is there as having already spoken.”)
On top of this all, we have the rather odd statement of Paul (who is apparently quoting someone else) in Ephesians 5:14, “Therefore it says, ‘Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.'” (NRSV)
So there we have it:
-In the OT, the prophetic call is to hear the Word of the Lord, but in the NT there appears (esp. in Acts) to be great evangelical confidence that the Word of the Lord is being heard and “prevailing mightily.”
-In the OT, the saints called upon God to Awake!, but in the NT we are called upon to awake, for God has already spoken in Christ (Deus Dixit). [On Deus Dixit, see especially the discussion by Karl Barth in Göttingen Dogmatics, §3, “Deus Dixit”, pp. 45-68]
And in that self-awakening (which O’Donovan calls “attending carefully to being attentive”) , the issue is not, “Has the Lord spoken?” or even “Where and through whom has the Lord spoken?” but perhaps more tellingly, “Why haven’t we heard? What is keeping us from hearing?”
If the preaching of the Word of God is the Word of God, the problem may not be in how often (or how little) God speaks through the preacher, but in how poorly attentive we are to hearing that Word. And, for what its worth, I believe a major contributing factor (and by no means the only one–there are many others I am sure) to inattentiveness to the Word of God in preaching is, ironically, our own theo-critical adeptness. We are so good at noting exegetical and theological problems in preaching (not that these problem are excusable as much as we allow ourselves so easily to be distracted by them) that we are thereby prevented from hearing–not because we are inattentive per se, but because we are attentive to things other than an attentiveness/wakefulness to Deus dixit.