“Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Cursed be the man who does not hear the words of this covenant that I commanded your fathers when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, Listen to my voice, and do all that I command you. So shall you be my people, and I will be your God. And the Lord said to me, ‘Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem: Hear the words of this covenant and do them. For I solemnly warned your fathers when I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, warning them persistently, even to this day, saying, Obey my voice. Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but everyone walked in the stubbornness of his evil heart. Therefore I brought upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do, but they did not. They have turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, who refused to hear my words. They have gone after other gods to serve them.'” Jeremiah 11:3-4,6-8,10
How interesting that this curse pronounced by the Lord is first for those who do not hear, who refuse to listen; then He says, ‘and obey.’ While our obedience is a matter of will, it stems from what we take into our minds and allow to influence our thinking. Input affects output, and the Lord is teaching that listening to and understanding God’s word, allowing it to take root and grow in us, shapes our thoughts and attitudes, permeates our will, and is our impetus to think rightly, accept truth, and thus obey.
“May the mind of Christ my Savior
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and pow’r controlling
All I do and say.” ~Katie Barclay Wilkinson (1859-1928)
What noise fills my days? Much is available, some unavoidable. But to what do I willfully incline my ears? When I tune in to listen, really listen, what is my source? How am I deciding who to consult for knowledge, insight? Whose opinions matter most to me, and should they? How do I determine which news is real, what experts are right, whose advice to value? Would I first go to the Way and Truth to seek His counsel? Will I consult the Bible as my perfect text? When I soak in God’s revelation of Himself, His promises and good plans and instruction for His children, His word grows in my spirit to bear fruit in my living. With warmed affection for Him, and a heart of reverence and gratitude, my desire becomes God-ward, my will wants to obey. (Proverbs 2:1-11; John 14:6)
“Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
To receive the food of Your Holy Word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness,
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us
All Your purposes for Your glory.” ~Stuart Townend, Andrew Christopher, Keith Getty
Yes, Lord, speak, and tune my heart to hear, my will to heed. Amen.