Call to Worship: Isaiah 54:5 “The Lord Almighty is His name— the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; He is called the God of all the earth.”
Songs: Holy Is the Lord - The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir
I Will Bless the Lord - Steve Green
The Solid Rock - Nicol Sponberg
Scripture: Psalm 34
Song: Every Giant Will Fall - Rend Collective
Sermon: “If My People Would Just Listen”
Closing Song: Be Unto Your Name - Robin Mark
Benediction Psalm 106:47 “Save us, Lord our God, and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise. 48 Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Let all the people say, Amen!” Praise the Lord.”
Sermon: “If My People Would Listen”
Last week we talked about if my people would humble themselves. I said, “are you one who believes or doubts? Trust in the Lord and he will make your paths straight. Today we are having communion and our focus needs to be on repentance and waiting. If we trust God, we will wait for Him to move in power. If we say we love Jesus then we will obey him and turn from our wicked ways.” Today we asking the question; Are you listening?
Conversation is a strange thing sometimes. Have you ever asked yourself is this person you are talking to is really listening? Or have you ever had a conversation with someone who is listening to other conversations in the room while pretending to still be in conversation with you? It really is kind of humorous to watch. Or you are talking with someone and another person enters the room and the person you are talking to mentally leaves your conversation because they are more interested in the person who just entered. You could say anything and they would be oblivious to it. Or it could be a text, a phone call or even a squirrel and the person you are talking with vanishes. You can tell very easily when this happens as you could probably just stop the conversation and walk away and they wouldn’t even notice. This really is not a conversation. And yes we can all do better. Listening is the biggest part of a conversation because when you are not speaking you have to focus on what the other person is saying. Some people describe one who listens well; as a great conversationalist. Here are a few definitions of the word listen. 1. “To hear with intention. Intent means giving or marked by complete attention to 2. To pay close attention to; give heed to.” So as you can see from these definitions there is intent to hear what the person is saying with no distractions. You are giving that person your complete attention. You don’t do that if you don’t really care. You can tell when someone is listening. They engage either with a response or they just let you talk while focusing on what you are saying. If your conversation is interrupted they will restart it. They listen attentively to your words and then offer a response. For some, listening takes extra work. Not everyone has a great memory but everyone can engage in a conversation by listening attentively and not being distracted by the goings on around you. Yes there are times when the noise is too much to have a conversation so you would have to take that conversation elsewhere to get rid of the noise.
Unfortunately in our day there is a lot of noise. We are programmed to have short attention spans. I will admit I don’t mind the 5-second commercial as opposed to the 30- second commercial but that's for a car or some type of product. But as you are aware we will be talking about God, not a vehicle. Revelation 4:8 “Day and night they never stop saying: “‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come.” As I have said before; I don’t believe we really get the holiness of God and therefore we don’t get when God says Leviticus 11:45 “I am the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.” So much so the church doesn’t believe it is even possible. At the end of Job’s suffering and page after page of God questioning him, Job said Job 42:5 “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Not only do we not understand the holiness of God and the requirements to be holy, there is no fear of God in the land but there should be. The fear has ceased because most are not listening but for those who are scripture is the key. Isaiah 33:5 “The LORD is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with his justice and righteousness. 6 He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure.” Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Many have made themselves out to be fools because the refuse to listen like the Thessalonians. 1 Thessalonians 2:13 “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.” We have it all written down so we have no excuse. Proverbs 2:1 “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, 2 turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding— 3 indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, 4 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, 5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. 6 For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Jesus said, Matthew 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Here is an example of fearing God until he didn’t. 2 Chronicles 26:3 “Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. 4 He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Amaziah had done. 5 He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success.” Later we read, “His fame spread far and wide, for he was greatly helped until he became powerful. 16 But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God.”
Now lets puts this search for wisdom, holiness and fear together with the word listen. So let’s say you have a project to build and you are able to speak with a master craftsman who is willing to show you exactly what to do to finish the project and to do it the right way. It really doesn’t matter what it is you are building but you would probably want to pay very close attention to what they are saying and doing since you asked for their help. So can you picture someone side by side with the master listening and watching their every move. You would ask questions and trust that what they were saying was accurate as they can show you other projects they have done. But now picture it this way. The master is talking and working away showing you what to do, yet you really aren’t listening as your focus is elsewhere. You have actually turned your back to them because you have other things on your mind or you think you have a better plan so you stop paying attention. You may have an appointment to get your car fixed, or you thinking about work or some other distraction, then a text comes in and you turn away to respond. I think you get the picture. If not this verse will help. 2 Chronicles 29:6 “Our parents were unfaithful; they did evil in the eyes of the Lord our God and forsook him. They turned their faces away from the Lord’s dwelling place and turned their backs on him.” What is the point of seeking out this master craftsman if you are not going to listen to and do what he says? Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” It is not just about the seeking but listening also. John 10:27 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” When we seek we do it with all our heart. When we listen, we follow and do what God says. Every Sunday there are millions just listening to the word and then they go home. They don’t even take the time to test the spirits. This verse concerning seeking in context says Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” Not only must we listen, God says He will listen to us if we seek him with everything we have.
Seeking God means listening attentively to what he says and where do we find what he says? The answer is scripture! Scripture is how we listen to God. Scripture always verifies and clarifies. On the other hand we have to be careful as many like to use scripture to confirm what they are saying. There are also those saying this is the word of the Lord as if God was a parrot on their shoulder but be careful. It is very interesting why so many people listen to and follow people like this. Jeremiah 23:16 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. 17 They keep saying to those who despise me, ‘The Lord says: You will have peace.’ And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, ‘No harm will come to you.’ 18 But which of them has stood in the council of the Lord to see or to hear his word? Who has listened and heard his word? 19 See, the storm of the Lord will burst out in wrath, a whirlwind swirling down on the heads of the wicked. 20 The anger of the Lord will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart. In days to come you will understand it clearly. 21 I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. 22 But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds.” 25 “I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’ 26 How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds? 27 They think the dreams they tell one another will make my people forget my name, just as their ancestors forgot my name through Baal worship. 28 Let the prophet who has a dream recount the dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain?” declares the Lord. 29 “Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?” 30 “Therefore,” declares the Lord, “I am against the prophets who steal from one another words supposedly from me. 31 Yes,” declares the Lord, “I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues and yet declare, ‘The Lord declares.’ 32 Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,” declares the Lord. “They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them. They do not benefit these people in the least,” declares the Lord.” Lamentations 2:14 “The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The prophecies they gave you were false and misleading.” This is what we have been raised with.
For generations now the church has listened to the words of men and we are still paying the price for doing that. Nothing has changed. Men and women would still rather hear from man than God. The church does not know that these men and women are speaking for satan. The problem we face today is that the so-called church has very little appetite for truth or time to hear it. Today the church is so busy, they don’t really have time for God. Years ago I remember hearing about one-minute devotions. I don’t know if there was a connection to the book One Minute Manager but it sounds similar. I am not sure whether either one is healthy. While I was looking I noticed you still could have your one minute devotions online. You too can carve out just one minute a day for the creator of the universe. Here is what Hebrews has to say about this. Hebrews 5:11 “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” By the way here are some elementary truths. Hebrews 6:1 “Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2 instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And God permitting, we will do so.”
The problem is people are starving to death all around us in the church because the church doesn’t have an appetite for the word of God anymore. They need a story or that 30-second commercial or even better that 5-second tidbit because they can’t handle any more than that, not because they can’t take it in, they simply don’t find the word of God appetizing. Jeremiah 5:31 “The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?” Amazingly the same people can shop till they drop, sit for hours at a movie, and watch a football game but the word of God- boring! But this is why. Amos said Amos 8:11“The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “when I will send a famine through the land— not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.” People just don’t want to hear God’s word. I believe Isaiah describes it best. Isaiah 30:10 “They say to the seers, “See no more visions!” and to the prophets, “Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions. Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!” Unfortunately there are way to many who will give the people what they want.
Now contrast this with what I just read with Nehemiah 8:1 “All the people came together as one in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the teacher of the Law to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded for Israel. 2 So on the first day of the seventh month Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, which was made up of men and women and all who were able to understand. 3 He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law. 4 Ezra the teacher of the Law stood on a high wooden platform built for the occasion. 5 Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up. 6 Ezra praised the Lord, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, “Amen! Amen!” Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.” Ezra said Ezra 9:4 “Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel gathered around me because of this unfaithfulness of the exiles. And I sat there appalled until the evening sacrifice.” Today people do not tremble at the word of God. Yes today we still have pulpits, some even high up and yes people even stand up when the word is read but are they listening. Moses said Deuteronomy 31:12 “Assemble the people—men, women and children, and the foreigners residing in your towns—so they can listen and learn to fear the Lord your God and follow carefully all the words of this law. 13 Their children, who do not know this law, must hear it and learn to fear the Lord your God as long as you live in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.” James 1:22 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”
People today want short, sweet and appetizing. They want a delicacy to keep them entertained. Psalm 141:3 “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. 4 Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil so that I take part in wicked deeds along with those who are evildoers; do not let me eat their delicacies.” Most really don’t want to know what God is actually saying. We have been raised with a man-made version of scripture that has been added to and subtracted from to make it more palatable. They really don’t want to follow God’s way but to continue down their own path. God himself said, Jeremiah 8:6 “I have listened attentively, but they do not say what is right. None of them repent of their wickedness, saying, “What have I done?” Each pursues their own course like a horse charging into battle.” This is what happens when we don’t listen. Jeremiah 19:15 “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Listen! I am going to bring on this city and all the villages around it every disaster I pronounced against them, because they were stiff-necked and would not listen to my words.’” Jeremiah 11:10 “They have returned to the sins of their ancestors, who refused to listen to my words. They have followed other gods to serve them. Both Israel and Judah have broken the covenant I made with their ancestors.” Isaiah 30:8 “Go now, write it on a tablet for them, inscribe it on a scroll, that for the days to come it may be an everlasting witness. 9 For these are rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instruction.” Isaiah 29:13 “The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.” Nehemiah 9:16 “But they, our ancestors, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and they did not obey your commands. 17 They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them, 18 even when they cast for themselves an image of a calf and said, ‘This is your god, who brought you up out of Egypt,’ or when they committed awful blasphemies.” Nehemiah 9:29 “You warned them in order to turn them back to your law, but they became arrogant and disobeyed your commands. They sinned against your ordinances, of which you said, ‘The person who obeys them will live by them.’ Stubbornly they turned their backs on you, became stiff-necked and refused to listen. 30 For many years you were patient with them. By your Spirit you warned them through your prophets. Yet they paid no attention, so you gave them into the hands of the neighboring peoples. 31 But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.” They then made a binding agreement and at the end said we will not neglect the house of God. Thankfully God is a merciful God, so listen!
When we do not listen to God’s word we will be taken into captivity and our land will lie desolate just as scripture tells us. Seeking God means returning to His word and obeying. It means listening and changing, not listening and staying the same. Malachi 3:7 “Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.” Hear is an example of humility before God. 2 Kings 21:7 “He (Manasseh) took the carved Asherah pole he had made and put it in the temple, of which the Lord had said to David and to his son Solomon, “In this temple and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my Name forever. 8 I will not again make the feet of the Israelites wander from the land I gave their ancestors, if only they will be careful to do everything I commanded them and will keep the whole Law that my servant Moses gave them.” 9 But the people did not listen. Manasseh led them astray, so that they did more evil than the nations the Lord had destroyed before the Israelites.” 2 Chronicles 33:10 “The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. 11 So the Lord brought against them the army commanders of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon. 12 In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors. 13 And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God. 5 He got rid of the foreign gods and removed the image from the temple of the Lord, as well as all the altars he had built on the temple hill and in Jerusalem; and he threw them out of the city. 16 Then he restored the altar of the Lord and sacrificed fellowship offerings and thank offerings on it, and told Judah to serve the Lord, the God of Israel.” We must destroy, demolish and tear down man’s word and the doctrines of demons and return to God’s word. We must listen and obey by doing what it says just as Josiah Manasseh’s grandson did in 2 Kings 23. If we do that, God will return to us just as he said but we must humble ourselves.
Because the church has followed other gods by following other gospels in vain we too must do as Manasseh did. We are told 2 Chronicles 7:14 “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.” This is what we are told but who is listening. We are told again on John 14:23 “Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” Jesus said Matthew 4:17 “From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” He also said, Matthew 28:19 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” So we must listen and obey. Luke 11:28 “He replied, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” This is what it really means to listen.
When we truly listen, we listen for the voice of Jesus. There is nothing more important than listening and obeying the words of Jesus. Jesus said, Luke 14:25 “Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” This verse described what it means to be a wholehearted follower of Jesus. Jesus also said, Mark 10:29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Are you willing to give Jesus your everything? As Jesus said, John 10:27 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” Do you know if you are following the voice of man, satan or the voice of Jesus. Today there is great deception and most in church do not know the difference. Your life depends on listening to the right voice. Yes many will listen and then turn away just as they did with Jesus. John 6:60 “On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it? 66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.” You will either listen and follow wholeheartedly or you will turn away as there is no in-between.
Listening to God and following wholeheartedly changes everything. Returning to God’s word is the only hope we have. Once we have returned and really listen, we wait for His power to flow. During the waiting part is the crucial time we have to listen and here is why. This sermon started because of these verses I have highlighted in Psalm 81. Psalm 81:1 “Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob! 2 Begin the music, strike the timbrel, play the melodious harp and lyre. 3 Sound the ram’s horn at the New Moon, and when the moon is full, on the day of our festival; 4 this is a decree for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob. 5 When God went out against Egypt, he established it as a statute for Joseph. I heard an unknown voice say: 6 “I removed the burden from their shoulders; their hands were set free from the basket. 7 In your distress you called and I rescued you, I answered you out of a thundercloud; I tested you at the waters of Meribah. 8 Hear me, my people, and I will warn you—if you would only listen to me, Israel! 9 You shall have no foreign god among you; you shall not worship any god other than me. 10 I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it. 11 “But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me. 12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices.13 “If my people would only listen to me, if Israel would only follow my ways, 14 how quickly I would subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes! 15 Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him, and their punishment would last forever. 16 But you would be fed with the finest of wheat; with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.” This verse is amazing. God is waiting to subdue our enemies but we must truly listen to him. Listening also means we submit to Him. Most people in the church do not know they are following other god’s and they refuse to change course. If they were truly listening, they would know that they were following other gods Therefore there enemies keep them captive.
We do not have to continue in desolation. Just because those who went before us did not adhere to God’s word, we do not have to follow in their empty ways. 1 Peter 1:1 “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors.” Those empty ways have caused millions to perish. If we would just listen, there is yet hope for us. Do not give up. Stand firm and do not be afraid but we must listen carefully and then act. Isaiah 40:29 “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope / wait in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” If it is to wait then we wait. If it is to stay then we stay. If it is to go then we go. I like these two passages from Exodus. Exodus 15:26 “He said, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.” It is interesting that Jesus healed the sick. Matthew 8:16 “When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.” Then he sent out His disciples to heal the sick. Matthew 10:1 “Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.” We are told in James James 5:14 “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” We must listen to God’s word once again so that we His disciples will go out to the ends of the earth in the power of the Holy Spirit.
As we get ready to take back the land, Exodus also tells us Exodus 23:20 “See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. 21 Pay attention to him and listen to what he says. Do not rebel against him; he will not forgive your rebellion, since my Name is in him. 22 If you listen carefully to what he says and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you. 23 My angel will go ahead of you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites, and I will wipe them out. 24 Do not bow down before their gods or worship them or follow their practices. You must demolish them and break their sacred stones to pieces. 25 Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, 26 and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span. 27 “I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter. I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run. 28 I will send the hornet ahead of you to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way. 29 But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. 30 Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land. 31 “I will establish your borders from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, and from the desert to the Euphrates River. I will give into your hands the people who live in the land, and you will drive them out before you. 32 Do not make a covenant with them or with their gods. 33 Do not let them live in your land or they will cause you to sin against me, because the worship of their gods will certainly be a snare to you.” Remember today our land is the world. Revelation 12:10 “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Messiah.” Revelation 11:15 “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah, and He will reign for ever and ever.”
God has so much more for us, the ends of the earth more, if we would just listen to His word and trust Him. Many people will not listen because God’s word contradicts their theology and doctrines and their own timetable but if you will listen God wants to bless you. Psalm 78:1 “My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. 2 I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old— 3 things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us. 4 We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done. 5 He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children, 6 so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. 7 Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands. 8 They would not be like their ancestors— a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him. “ We continue to ask God to free us. We pray that God would Psalm 79:8 “not hold against us the sins of past generations; may your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need. 9 Help us, God our Savior, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your name’s sake. 10 Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?”
To trust means to listen. To have faith means to listen. To wait means to listen. If my people would but listen how life would change. Proverbs 8:32 “Now then, my children, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways. 33 Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not disregard it. 34 Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. 35 For those who find me find life and receive favor from the Lord. 36 But those who fail to find me harm themselves; all who hate me love death.”
At the beginning I talked about conversations where the person isn’t listening. Jesus told His disciples what would happen but were they really listening. Luke 24:5 “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8 Then they remembered his words.” Many people have gone to church all their lives. They have heard sermon after sermon but have they listened. Do they really know the voice of Jesus? Matthew 24:4 “Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.” Today God is speaking but are you listening to his word.
Earlier I talked about having a conversation with someone who really wasn’t listening. I said you could walk away and they wouldn’t even notice. It is the same with God. God is angry because His children are not listening. Deuteronomy 32:18 “You deserted the Rock, who fathered you; you forgot the God who gave you birth. 19 The Lord saw this and rejected them because he was angered by his sons and daughters. 20 “I will hide my face from them,” he said, “and see what their end will be; for they are a perverse generation, children who are unfaithful. 21 They made me jealous by what is no god and angered me with their worthless idols.” Since most are not listening, God has turned his face from shining us just like he did with Samson. Judges 16:20 “Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him.”
The only way for God to turn back to us is to really listen to his word once again and do what he says to do. 2 Chronicles 30:9 “If you return to the Lord, then your fellow Israelites and your children will be shown compassion by their captors and will return to this land, for the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him.” David said Psalm 27:7 “Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me. 8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek. 9 Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, God my Savior. 10 Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. 11 Teach me your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. 12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, spouting malicious accusations. 13 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”