By Jonathan Banning In In Remembrance On September 17, 2017
Reality doesn’t jive with the notion that God really doesn’t care what we do. He does indeed. He wants us to do His will (Hebrews 10:36); to do what He deems “good” (Micah 6:8). For that reason, it is only right that He communicate those expectations. How unjust would it be if God wanted something from us, but refused to tell us what He wanted? Would you punish your son if you failed to tell him that you expected him to mow the lawn last Saturday? Certainly not. Neither would the Lord.
“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers and the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son…” (Hebrews 1:1-2).
Thanks be to God that He has told us what we must do to please Him. Hebrews 1 proves that, but it proves more than that. God has always told mankind what He wants. He spoke through patriarchs like Abraham, documents like the Law of Moses, prophets like Isaiah, and in these last days through the most divine of mediums, His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
God, the supreme divinity, speaks to mankind. He speaks so that He may tell us what He wants from us. He always speaks! That’s the kind of God we serve. Knowing this brings to light a question that we all must ask and answer for ourselves. When God speaks how should I respond?
There are an array of possibilities for how to answer that question, but I could find no better biblical answer than the one Eli gave to Samuel the young prophet, “If He calls you… you shall say, ‘Speak, for Your servant is listening.’” (I Samuel 3:9). That’s how creation ought to respond when God speaks. We ought to open our ears and open our hearts. We ought to open our lives to be used in His service however He sees fit, no matter the difficulty and whether I understand His purposes or not. To quote Eli again, “It is the Lord; let Him do what seems good to Him” (I Samuel 3:18). When the Lord speaks mankind should stop, hear and do His will. It is the Lord, after all.
When God speaks man should obey. That’s about as straightforward as theology gets, but that’s not always what happens in real life, is it? Sometimes we’d rather not hear the voice of God.
We should listen when God speaks about sin. We must hear what the Lord says about sin. Not only in terms of what is sin and what is not, also in terms of what sin does. It brings death and separation from God (Ephesians 2:1-3,13). God says sin is not a trivial matter or something to be trifled with. If the Bible emphasizes anything about sin, it emphasizes that sin requires blood. Will you let that sink in? God spoke! That’s what He said. You are not going to be okay if you’re letting sin hang around. God spoke, are you listening?
We should listen when God tells us to stand up. Paul told us he was not ashamed of the Gospel (Romans 1:16), and neither should we be ashamed. A Christian must muster the courage to stand for the truth (Ephesians 5:11). That’s what God says. That’s hard. When I address sin or have a spiritual disagreement with someone it is easy to dilute the Gospel with phrases like, “That’s just what I believe,” or “In my opinion.” We do that because society has told us that it is arrogant and close-minded to stand opposed to another’s beliefs. We begin to feel like it is wrong to take a stand. Don’t ever doubt this; if God spoke it, we can stand on it, and we’d better stand on it! God spoke, are you listening?
We should listen when God is silent. Remember, when the Lord wants something, He tells us (Hebrews 1:1). That means we ought to regard His silence as highly as we regard His speech. If God wants something from us He will tell us. That’s what God has said. If God desires a kind of worship, He will speak. If God desires we support something, He will speak. And here’s one that might get most of us; if God desires we condemn something, He will speak. It’s possible to condemn too little, but also to condemn too much. God spoke, are you listening?
Sometimes we make things too complicated. Pleasing God is actually very simple. We can give Him exactly what He wants when we simply listen to Him speak.
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