My five-year-old grand daughter and her friend were playfully teasing each other and I told them to stop before somebody got hurt. The next thing I knew one was crying and the other one’s saying, “I didn’t mean to.”
“If only you would learn to listen,” I told them both , as I made sure there were no major injuries. “Now go outside and play nicely.”
How many times, I wondered, did God probably think this about us, His children? In the Bible there were countless times when listening to God would have made a world of difference….and it started with the very first people. God told Adam and Eve not to eat the forbidden fruit. How different things would have been, if only they had listened.
After the flood, Noah’s family chose to stay together instead of scattering to populate to world as they were told.
God told Abraham that he would become the father of many nations. His wife Sarah decided they were getting too old to have children and convinced Abraham to have a child with her handmaiden. If only they had listened to God and waited for His promise to be fulfilled.
Moses argued with God when he was told he had been chosen to lead the Hebrew people out of Egypt into the promised land. Only after God said he would send his brother Aaron to do the talking, did Moses agree. Many times the people refused to listen to Moses and insisted on doing things their own way.
Jonah flat out refused to obey God when He told him to preach to the people of Ninevah in order that their city might be saved from destruction.
Countless others refused to listen and sin and corruption became so bad that finally God seemed to give up on mankind and left them without instruction for about 400 years.
In the New Testament, Jesus found the same problem with the people once He began His ministry. Many times He admonished them with the words, “Oh, ye of little faith.”
As we read these stories we see there were always consequences when people refused to listen to what God told them to do. Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden and forced to work the land for a living. Noah’s family began to speak different languages and were no longer able to communicate, therefore were scattered as God had intended for them to be.
Abraham and Sarah were well into their old age when God fulfilled His promise to give them a son, Isaac. Only because of Abraham’s obedience and willingness to sacrifice this son, did God continue to work with him and made him the father of many nations as He had also promised.
Because of their unwillingness to listen either to God or Moses, the Hebrew people were made to wander in the wilderness for 40 years before reaching the promised land. And Moses died before they entered it.
As for Jonah, when he tried to run away from God, he wound up in the belly of a huge fish for three days. He wound up preaching to the people of Ninevah and seeing the city he hated be saved from destruction….because the people there listened.
All the hate and discord in the world today could be solved if only people would learn to listen. I believe God is working in the hearts of men every day and many are seeing the error of their ways and turning their lives around. With so many false news stories it’s hard to know what is really true. Maybe we can’t influence the whole world as one person, but as the family of God, we can do mighty things through Him who strengthens us. Let us continue to pray for our leaders and those who would have us believe that there is no hope left for America. There is still power in the name of Jesus….and He has overcome the world. We can be a great nation of God again….if we only learn to listen.