Listening to God
“Oh that you had paid attention to My commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea; your offspring would have been like the sand, and your descendants like its grains; their name would never be cut off or destroyed from before Me.” (Isaiah 48:18-19)
Throughout the long years of Israel’s rebellion, God remained faithful to them. These were His people, and He had promised long ago that He would never forsake them. But He was often upset with them. How many times had He given them a command that they refused to obey? How often had they gone their own way instead of God’s? They were convinced their own ideas were better, and so they rejected His words. They believed that following God would only lead them to ruin, and so they did their own thing… which eventually brought them to ruin.
God saw all of this, and He grieved over His people’s disobedience. He knew that if they obeyed Him, they would come to a good place. “‘I am the LORD your God,’” He told them, “‘Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you in the way you should go.’” (Isaiah 48:17b) He revealed Himself to them as the all-powerful God, proclaiming that, “My hand laid the foundation of the earth, and My right hand spread out the heavens; when I call to them, they stand forth together.” (Isaiah 48:13) He is our Redeemer, the only One Who can truly provide for us and take care of us. When He calls us to do something, it’s because He wants to bless us and others through it. But before this can happen, we must listen to Him and obey what He tells us to do.
For some reason, the vast majority of us become somewhat frightened when God tells us to do something. We look at that thing and think, “That’s just too big. There’s no way God can expect me to do that.” And so we don’t. We refuse to pay attention to Him, going our own way instead of God’s. Maybe we even congratulate ourselves on escaping something so scary. But what we don’t realize is that we’ve just lost an opportunity to follow God. Yes, it will be frightening. Yes, it will be hard. But we’ll be following God! God Himself, the Creator of the universe, is inviting us to join Him in His work. And what’s more, He promises to be with us throughout the entire adventure, strengthening us and giving us peace. His desire is for us to follow Him. He longs for us to obey Him, to know Him more and more. Why, then, are we so quick to assume that following Him will land us in trouble? In truth, it’s quite the contrary! The only safe place is where God wants us to be. God Himself is calling us to work; it’s high time we listened to Him.