Hear, O my people, while I admonish you!
O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
There shall be no strange god among you;
you shall not bow down to a foreign god.
I am the Lord your God, who brought you up
out of the land of Egypt.
Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.
“But my people did not listen to my voice;
Israel would not submit to me.
So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,
to follow their own counsels.
Oh, that my people would listen to me,
that Israel would walk in my ways!
I would soon subdue their enemies
and turn my hand against their foes.
Those who hate the Lord would cringe toward him,
and their fate would last forever.
But he would feed you with the finest of the wheat,
and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.” Psalm 81:8-16 (ESV)
God is pleading with His people. All He wants is for them to listen. He wanted them (and us) to listen and learn to submit to Him. The upside: He would then be able to bless them and satisfy them.
God gives specific blessings for those who listen. He promises to subdue our enemies and turn against our foes. He promises to feed us and give us satisfaction. Why don’t we bother to listen? Our head tells us that we should pay attention to the precious promises of God but our hearts are turned toward the glittery stuff the world has to offer.
God created us for fellowship with Him. He wants to walk close with us, just as He did with Adam and Eve. He gives us gifts and wants us to give back to him. He promises us to provide for our needs and asks that we rely on Him to supply those needs. Like an earthly father, God desires that His children be healthy, loving, and loyal to Him. In return, He promises to protect and keep us from our enemies. But God’s timing is not always what we want, and sometimes it seems that He isn’t keeping up with His side of the bargain. Have you considered that when God doesn’t seem to answer you it may be because you are not listening to Him or obeying Him?
God wants us to comprehend His truth. We need to learn who we are and more important Who He is. God sets the rules for our relationship. It’s our job to see what it is that He expects. He gave us the Bible as a guidepost and gave us Jesus as a role model.
When you read the Bible, to you stick to whatever you consider “the good stuff”? Perhaps you like the calming effects of the Psalms. Maybe you prefer the words of Jesus. Or do you like to read about the end of the world? Whatever parts of the Bible you prefer, it’s important to remember that the entire Bible is our guide. The Scriptures – Old and New Testament – all have important truths for us. Sometimes I don’t want to hear what God says and frankly I’d rather skip the parts I don’t like. Don’t just stick to your “favorite” parts of the Bible. God has stuff for you to learn in His entire Word.
Will you commit to read the Bible – the “good” and “not so good” parts? Will you commit to not saying that parts of the Bible are inapplicable because the authors were discussing cultural issues? Will you commit to taking to God specifically about the parts of the Bible you find offensive, or uncomfortable, or less than interesting? Perhaps His Spirit is trying to get your attention in those parts!
We’ll talk a little about the Holy Spirit on Friday. See you then!