WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
SEPTEMBER 23, 2021
TOPIC: LISTEN TO GOD
BY T. O. BANSO
“But oh, that my people would listen to me! Oh, that Israel would follow me, walking in my paths! How quickly I would then subdue their enemies! How soon my hands would be upon their foes! Those who hate the LORD would cringe before him; their desolation would last forever. But I would feed you with the best of foods. I would satisfy you with wild honey from the rock” (Psalm 81:13-16 New Living Translation).
Children who listen to their parents make their hearts glad. Not only that, most times, their lives turn out well. Proverbs 7:24 says, “Now therefore, listen to me, my children; pay attention to the words of my mouth” (New King James Version).
Similarly, Proverbs 8:32 says, “Now therefore, listen to me, my children, for blessed are those who keep my ways” (New King James Version). Children who are stubborn, disobedient, and rebellious ruin their lives if they don’t repent in time.
This also applies to our relationship with God. Many problems that human beings face are becaurse they fail to listen to God. We think we know what we are doing or is best for us. We are not ready to do what God tells us to do. The consequences are often detrimental to our lives. We suffer needlessly and regret our actions and inactions. Do you listen to God?
The LORD says, “But oh, that my people would listen to me! Oh, that Israel would follow me, walking in my paths! How quickly I would then subdue their enemies! How soon my hands would be upon their foes! Those who hate the LORD would cringe before him; their desolation would last forever. But I would feed you with the best of foods. I would satisfy you with wild honey from the rock” (Psalm 81:13-16 New Living Translation).
Listening to the Lord is not just about hearing Him alone. It also means to hearken, pay attention, and obey Him. When we do that, He will guide us, lead us, give us victory over our enemies, provide for us, etc.
In Psalm 81:8-10, the LORD says, “Hear, O My people, and I will admonish you! O Israel, if you will listen to Me! There shall be no foreign god among you; nor shall you worship any foreign god. I am the LORD your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt; Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it” (New King James Version). But did the Israelites listen to God?
Verses 11-12 give us the answer: “But My people would not heed My voice, and Israel would have none of Me. So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart, to walk in their own counsels” (New King James Version). I hope that does not describe you!
Many people are the architects of their own misfortune because they fail to listen to God. He told the remnants of Israel after the rest had been taken to captivity in Babylon: “Listen to me, all you who are left in Israel. I created you and have cared for you since before you were born. I will be your God throughout your lifetime — until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you” (Isaiah 46:3-4 New Living Translation).
God has your best interest at heart. He knows what is best for you. Don’t be wise in your own eyes. Don’t be stubborn or hard-hearted. Listen to Him; obey Him. “Listen to Me, you stubborn-hearted, who are far from righteousness: I bring My righteousness near, it shall not be far off; My salvation shall not linger. and I will place salvation in Zion, For Israel My glory” (Isaiah 46:12-13 New King James Version).
There are other instances where God spoke through the prophets to the Israelites to listen to Him (Isaiah 51:4, 7-8; Jeremiah 26:3-6). Unfortunately, they failed to listen to Him. God told the prophet Ezekiel that the Israelites would not listen to Ezekiel any more than they listened to Him because they were hard-hearted and stubborn (Ezekiel 3:7).
In Numbers 22, the Bible tells us how Balaam proceeded on a mission because he failed to listen to God’s initial instruction. “And God said to Balaam, ‘You shall not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for they are blessed’” (Numbers 22:12 New King James Version).
Balaam the son of Beor, a soothsayer, failed to listen to what God was saying about his trip to honour Balak’s invitation to curse the Israelites. He was more interested in Balak’s reward than obedience to God.
If Jehovah had spoken about the issue and had told Balaam should not go with them or curse the Israelites because they were blessed, why did he have to tell the emissaries Balak sent the second time that he wanted to find out what more the LORD would speak to him? (Verse 19). It was greed.
Eventually, God answered him according to the idol in his heart. God said, “If the men come to call you, rise and go with them; but only the word which I speak to you — that you shall do” (Numbers 22:20 New King James Version).
However, verse 22 shows that God didn’t actually want him to go: “Then God’s anger was aroused because he went, and the Angel of the LORD took His stand in the way as an adversary against him. And he was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him” (New King James Version).
If the LORD had not opened the mouth of the donkey to speak like a human being to warn Balaam about the sword dangling before him, the angel of the LORD would have killed him. Although Balaam didn’t succeed at cursing the children of Israel, he was later successful in teaching the Moabites what to do to cause the God of the Israelites to turn against them (Numbers 25:1-18).
In the plague God brought against the Israelites for having sexual relations with the Moabites, 24,000 Israelites died. What a huge loss! Moses made reference to this incident in Numbers 31:16. The Israelites later killed Balaam with the sword (Joshua 13:22).
In his letter to the angel of the church in Pergamos, John also made reference to this evil that Balaam did. “But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality” (Revelation 2:14 New King James Version). Are you listening to what God is saying to you?
Jesus would say, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Matthew 11:15; 13:9; 13:43; Mark 4:9; Luke 8:8; 14:35 New King James Version). He wasn’t talking about physical ears. He was talking about listening and taking appropriate actions – obedience. “Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand!” (New Living Translation). Listen to God.
To the angels of the seven churches of Asia, the Lord said a similar thing, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29, 3:6, 13, 22 New King James Version). The New Living Translation puts it this way: “Anyone who is willing to hear should listen to the Spirit and understand what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”
Listen to what God is saying to you. Listen to God; obey Him.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I repent of the ways and times I have not listened to You. Forgive me, Lord. I shall no longer be hard-hearted and stubborn. Holy Spirit, I receive Your help to listen to God; I receive Your help to obey God wholeheartedly. I shall be willing and obedient in Jesus’ name.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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