Listening?

ON “LISTENING”

There’s so much in the Book about hearing God, and often little of paying attention by humans in life- including me at times.

Then again, I (I’m certainly wrong plenty) think I mostly -hear- Him rather well. It’s lovingly obeying Him, doing what I believe and am fairly sure is His will rather than hearing and not doing it that I must often confess. “For all have sinned” relates to each of us… ouch!

I also understand it’s the hight of stuff like rebellion, ignorance, arrogance, plain nastiness to just ignore or actively head in one direction when God is calling me/us/you somewhere else. See the Book of Jonah for details.

I shudder when I consider the grace of God and our response in the un-grace of human rebellion against Him, His Word, and therefore His voice. We are so in need of hearing and in love, obeying.

So consider:

Oh that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways! -God in Psalm 81.13

GK- This is a deep desire, a heart-cry of God if you will… relationship, relationship, relationship. “The conversation IS the relationship” a wise woman once wrote! Hearing plays a massive part.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. -Jesus in John 10.27

GK- In a recent Bible study the question was asked of the group: “How much doctrine do you need to be saved”? Our consensus conclusion was “Not much”. In the end, Jesus lays it out very clearly and in very practical terms if you continue reading through verse 28.

Jesus in Mark 12.28-31:

28 One of the scribes came, and heard them questioning together. Knowing that he had answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the greatest of all?”
29 Jesus answered, “The greatest is, ‘Hear, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one:
30 you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.
31 The second is like this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.

GK- Wow. Has anyone other than Jesus Himself flawlessly fulfilled loving God like this? Ok, same question with regard to loving neighbor? The scripture that comes to my mind is “the one who fails in one point of the law fails in them all”. Nobody is saved by works, not even in terms of attitude, focus and ultimate practice of loving God supremely and neighbor as self.

We are left to God’s grace and to these best-of-all and most important goals during our time on earth. Spiritual/practical maturity in our faith and walk with the Lord in one view means coming to terms with these two foundational issues of love and relationship. Then comes the practicality of living, walking it out.

Thank God it truly IS grace by which we’re saved, not works. And yet: we are called to live for Him and others, to truly follow Jesus, not merely pray a prayer of salvation and nod intellectual agreement to Christ’s death and resurrection.

He who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination. -(Most likely the writer is Solomon) Proverbs 28.9

GK- I have long ago quit arguing about the “perfect” status of the Bible as a fight worth fighting. What I argue is there is simply no other book or collection of what I believe to be ultimate truth on planet earth, certainly not among human beings all with flawed, illogical thoughts which I find thoroughly wanting in comparison to scripture.

So what does He say about His own Word in this passage? Ok, so you’re thinking “Nahhh, it’s Solomon writing, not God”. I would posit Who is inspiring the writing, but let’s leave that aside for a moment.

In essence I think this tells us “if you don’t care about what I think and say, why should I pay attention to what you think and desire”? Does God, at times, choose to NOT answer our prayers? It does seem so to me.

He never stops loving His children, but He is at times hurt, saddened and yes, angered at our lack of caring about our side of the relationship we supposedly have with Him. He is deeply concerned over the lack of love and compassion we live out toward those we consider unworthy of them.

I’m not saying many reading this are not true Christians -though some who’ve merely prayed a prayer of salvation and lived like the devil are likely, not. Is it not plain that any relationship is a two-way thing, and if we are not listening and indeed obeying, applying His Word to our daily decisions and activities should it shock us when at times He trains us, chastises us, seeks to turn and even grow us up spiritually by -not- responding to our prayer?

I think it sensible and even an act of love, though not one I enjoy 🙂

Do I like it when this seems to be happening in my own life or the lives of those I care about? Of course not! But loving God and His loving us cannot be based on Him doing our will. It must in fact, be based on our faith, our trust in Him, His love, goodness, wisdom and timing. We KNOW we are undependable. To judge Him for being so is simply believing an untruth about His character and nature. Guess who likes us to do that??!

At times, God speaks to us in silence.

And, He is still speaking when our prayers are not answered.

I’ve had to learn and am still learning to be at peace with God when I experience such things. And yet I DO read, pray, love and try (not perfectly by a long shot!) to apply His Word to my life daily.

But “an abomination”? Wow. Well, next time you want to debate the place of scripture in your life, consider the starkness of His view on this point…

And that’s my nickel on this for now 🙂

Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

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