“If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable.” (Prov. 28:9)
Obedience to the Lord is a direct conduit to our effectiveness in communicating with Him. God has a voice, and in the Bible you’ll see that there are a variety of ways in which He chooses to speak to us. Are we willing to listen?
The primary way that God speaks to us today is through the Bible, the living Word of God, revealed to us through the Holy Spirit. He may also choose to speak to us through our circumstances, through godly counsel, through natural and supernatural manifestations, through dreams and visions, and even through our thoughts. While these other ways may not be as common or regularly occurring, God ultimately knows the most effective means by which He’ll reach us.
“When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up,’ he said, ‘take the child and his mother and escape.'” (Matt. 2:13-14)
God chose to spoke to Joseph through his dreams. When Herod ordered that all boys 2 years old and under were to be killed in hopes of killing the infant Jesus, God directed Joseph to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt, where they stayed until the death of Herod.
Because of Joseph’s faithfulness to heeding God’s instruction, the Lord used him in mighty ways that have forever changed the history of mankind. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for him to do the things the Lord was asking, especially in light of all that was going on with his wife, child, and circumstance. But Joseph was ultimately a man who chose to surrender himself and his family to the Lord, and because of that, God was likewise faithful to Joseph.
How is God speaking to you today? What instruction are you seeing in the words of Scripture? How is the Holy Spirit convicting you? How are the godly men and women in your life spurring you on? How are the circumstances in your life ushering you towards pursuing Christ and His righteousness?
And most importantly, are you actually listening (not just hearing, but listening and responding with action), or are you turning a deaf ear?
The verse from Proverbs above clearly tells us that when we turn a deaf ear towards the Lord, even our prayers and sacrifices are detestable. “Detestable” is an extremely harsh word… but I didn’t say it, God did, and He called them detestable. God hears our intentions just as clearly as He hears our words, for He is after our hearts, not our empty asks and promises.
I praise God and am so thankful that Joseph chose to follow God’s instruction! God could have very well chosen other means to carry out His will for Jesus’s birth and childhood, but He knew Joseph would be obedient. Just like with Joseph and Mary, know that your obedience to God today will set the stage for how much God will entrust to you in the future!
I pray that today if you hear His voice, you will not harden your heart. May God bless you richly as you listen and obey!
[From December 28, 2018]