How well do you listen? (Proverbs 15:31)

It’s amazing how difficult it can be for me to put fingers to keyboard and write what I believe God wants me to share. Sometimes it’s tiredness, thinking about how what’s written might be received – especially if it’s a challenging issue or topic and of course Satan will always try to have us question whether it was God who has spoken or did He really say that – sound familiar???

1Now the serpent was more crafty (subtle, skilled in deceit) than any living creature of the field which the Lord God had made. And [a]the serpent (Satan) said to the woman, “Can it really be that God has said, ‘You shall not eat from [b]any tree of the garden’?”

(Genesis 3:1 Amplifies Bible [AMP])

The conversation in my head sometimes goes like: “Well yes Satan, this is EXACTLY what God has said and what God has said will come to pass.”

So this morning I read the YouVersion bible app ‘Verse of the day’ which provoked the title of this post and fused into some of the reading I have been doing in the Book of Daniel. The scripture itself really spoke to me about two things. Firstly do I (do we) have ears that truly listen to what God is trying to get through to us? And secondly, how well do we put into practice what we have heard (either directly or through God’s written word)?

I have been praying a lot for the United Kingdom (UK) Parliament’s inability to govern effectively (in my and many others opinions) through the ‘Brexit’ debacle and giving thoughts and prayers around the parallels between those times and that of the various leaders of both the nation of Judah and their captors.

So how well do we (the human race) listen? Throughout the book of Jeremiah, we see that God had appointed him to bring the word of the Lord to the rulers of Judah, but God’s message through Jeremiah was constantly rejected under King Jehoiakim (whose eyes were eventually put out by his captors) and, as a result, the nation of Judah was carried off in captivity to  the kingdom of Babylon and then its successor, the kingdom of Persia. How did they get there as a nation? The people, the king, his false prophets, his advisors all refused to listen to God’s precepts and concepts that He made clear in the law that He gave to Moses and we can read in the book of Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy.

What was it that God required?
12 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require from you, but to fear [and worship] the Lord your God [with awe-filled reverence and profound respect], to walk [that is, to live each and every day] in all His ways and to love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul [your choices, your thoughts, your whole being], 13 and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good? 14 Behold, the heavens and the highest of heavens belong to the Lord your God, the earth and all that is in it. 15 Yet the Lord [a]had a delight in loving your fathers and set His affection on them, and He chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as it is this day.

(Deuteronomy 10:12-15 AMP)

In Deuteronomy 28 we read what the blessings would be of living a godly life and also the repercussion of not doing so:

The Blessings at Gerizim
1“Now it shall be, if you diligently listen to and obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all of His commandments which I am commanding you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you pay attention to the voice of the Lord your God.“You will be blessed in the city, and you will be blessed in the field…

(Deuteronomy 28)


Consequence of Disobedience
15 “But it shall come about, if you do not listen to and obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today, then all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:16 “You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the field…

(Deuteronomy 28)

So pulling this back to my thoughts, prayers, parallels of my readings in Daniel, the issues of Brexit and the verse for today, it is my belief that the Lord is highlighting a listening issue for us in these end days that we are part of.  For clarity on what I mean with regards to Brexit: the decision was made by the majority of the British people to leave the European Union and it is at that point that I believe all of the UK Parliament should have worked together with bipartisan agreement to bring about what the majority of the people had asked for (to listen to the majority), but they failed to do that and broke into individualistic approaches to bring about what they were most comfortable with rather than honouring (in my view) the result of a democratic vote. It is this approach that I believe has resulted in the position we have today, which I shall describe as Jesus stated:

24 “If a kingdom is divided [split into factions and rebelling] against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.”

(Mark 3:24 AMP)

So a question for me is how well have our leaders listened? Did they listen to their own preferences above that of the majority and put up obstacles? But moving away from others I think the bigger question is how well have we listened to the voice of God?

We are told to pray for our leaders – how much and how often do we do this? Are we praying from our intellect or as led by the Holy Spirit? It’s fine to have a view on our leaders but do we join in the barracking and the criticising of them? What is God asking us to do with regards to our leaders and how is He asking us to do it? The only way we will find out is to listen to what God is saying.

A Call to Prayer
1First of all, then, I urge that petitions (specific requests), prayers, intercessions (prayers for others) and thanksgivings be offered on behalf of all people, for [a]kings and all who are in high authority, so that we may live a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This [kind of praying] is good and acceptable and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior,

( 1 Timothy 2:3 AMP )

There are such blessings that affect our lives when we learn to listen and then obediently follow God’s word and direction for us. The reverential fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10) and to learn from life-giving rebuke/reproof will bring wisdom (Proverbs 15:31).

There are so many examples of those who had ears that listened (including Abraham, Moses, Hannah, Esther, Gideon, Peter and Paul) and those that did not (including Cain, King Saul and King Jehoiakim). Some of us might struggle to listen straightaway but God says ultimately we will be known by our fruit (Matthew 7:15-20) – this is what will determine whether we have listened to (and obeyed) God’s voice or not.

My encouragement to you is this:

1Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of [a]witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us, [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, [b]disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work].

(Hebrews 12:1-2)

Keeping our eyes and ears focused on Jesus, being ready to do His will with endurance and active persistence.

God bless you,

‘But test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good.’
1 Thessalonians 5:21 (New Living Translation)

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