Over the years in the Church of God, mountains of information have been produced in the form of magazines, books, booklets, reprint articles, questions and answers, lectures, Bible studies, sermons (live and on audio, video and DVD) and information on web sites. This has all taken much work and effort and has been provided to help, instruct and edify church members in their journey towards the Kingdom of God.
History has told us that many have not listened, or if they have, it was either only for a period of time or they were never really interested anyway. Of course, some who may have shown some initial interest may not have been called at that time, but for those who were called and baptized and fully embraced the new way of life, failure to listen could prove disastrous to their long term future!
Spiritual deafness can be caused by a lack of conviction in the first place (Ezekiel 33:31-33), disobedience (Matthew 7:26-27), shallowness (Matthew 13:18-21), hardness of heart (Luke 16:27-31), forgetfulness (James 1:22-24), indifference (Matthew 22:1-5) and rebellion (Ezekiel 12:1-2).
But while we may not always listen to God through His Word and His ministry, God always listens to us, except, when we rebel against Him and refuse to repent. Then, we are told, God will not listen to us, Isaiah 59:1-2. But barring this, God is available every second of every day and will not turn a deaf ear to His people. Prayer is the way we communicate with our Creator, and we see that our prayers are important to God (Revelation 5:8).
It is also very important that church members listen to each other and even to good advice from those “outside” the church. There is a classic Biblical case of someone listening to instruction. Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, saw that Moses dealt with the people from morning to night, and he offered him some very wise advice (Exodus 18:17-24). By heeding that wise counsel, Moses, who was the leader of the nation and not too proud to heed advice, was able to benefit, as was the nation of Israel. He had a humble and approachable attitude and one that we can learn from. Too often, some have not only discounted advice from those who may have seen them heading in a wrong direction, but have refused to listen at all. Being easily entreated is a splendid Biblical principle that we can all benefit from.
Do we listen? Hopefully the answer is yes — and on an ongoing basis. We are to listen to God through His Word and His ministry, and to each other, as we help and encourage each other in our mutual journey towards eternal life. And in the meantime, we can take a lesson from the way that God works — He listens attentively to us. That’s the finest example we could possibly have.