It is the most frustrating thing we ever experience. When our young children simply will not listen to us, we are unable to lead them. When they are teenagers and ignore our counsel, it opens the door for them to be led by many unhealthy voices and make disastrous choices.
When we are trying to train a co-worker and they won’t pay attention, it destroys the workplace and hampers productivity. It frustrates and irritates us.
So how does God feel when we pay no attention to Him? He made us, and He knows exactly what should be happening daily in our lives. And He has gone to extraordinary lengths to condescend to us so that He might speak to us and lead us.
But so often we don’t listen. We fail to get ourselves in the daily, hourly posture to hear His voice. Worse still, when we do hear Him, we simply choose to ignore His instructions.
God’s words came to His people in Jeremiah’s day with this same indictment from God. We see it repeated five times in six verses in Jeremiah 35, along with God’s corresponding judgment. Disaster was coming upon them—because they wouldn’t listen.
Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Go and say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, “Will you not receive instruction by listening to My words?” declares the Lord. “The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, which he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are observed. So they do not drink wine to this day, for they have obeyed their father’s command. But I have spoken to you again and again; yet you have not listened to Me. Also I have sent to you all My servants the prophets, sending them again and again, saying: ‘Turn now every man from his evil way and amend your deeds, and do not go after other gods to worship them. Then you will dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your forefathers; but you have not inclined your ear or listened to Me. Indeed, the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have observed the command of their father which he commanded them, but this people has not listened to Me. Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Behold, I am bringing on Judah and on all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the disaster that I have pronounced against them; because I spoke to them but they did not listen, and I have called them but they did not answer.’”’”
Here is the most important question: Are you hearing from God? If not, it is not because He is not speaking or is unwilling to communicate. Even the heavens and earth are daily speaking to us of His glory (Psalm 19).
He has given us His Word, His Spirit, and His people to give us personal, constant communication. If you are not hearing, it is either because you are not “inclining your ear” to listen to Him, or you are choosing to ignore His voice.
When is the last time you can honestly say that you heard from God? And, did you instantly, gladly respond in humble surrender to His instructions?
Our Greatest Failure
Failure to listen to God is perhaps the most grievous sin we could possibly commit. Disaster always follows when we pay no attention to Him, for we are left to our own humanistic resources. When we lead ourselves or are led by other voices, the results are predictable and deadly.
What a tragedy, and what an affront to the God who made and loves us, when He is speaking and we pay no attention!