1. The Message Of The Prophets
"1 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
2 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.
3 The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.
4 Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward." Isaiah 1:1-4
After completing my last journey through the Bible I decided to read the Bible commentary, "Thru The Bible With J. Vernon McGee." It has been enlightening to read these study notes as I go through the familiar scriptures. The detail has slowed my pace, but increased my Bible knowledge. When I came to the books of the prophets it seemed as though I could hear God pleading with His children as a father pleads with his child, "Are you listening?" Isaiah, the first book of prophecy begins his message, "Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward." As a parent I have often stressed to my children, "Are you listening?" Times when I knew what was best for them, times when the words I said seemed to go in one ear and out the other, and times when they just didn't listen, my heart ached for them to hear and heed my words. Such are the messages of the prophets: God, pleading with His children, "Are you listening?"
2. All Nations Are Called To Hear
"Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people: let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth of it. For the indignation of the LORD is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter." Isaiah 34:1-2
We began our introduction on the Home page to our new theme, "Are You Listening?" We opened with the introduction of the first book of prophesy, the book of Isaiah. We see God pleading for His children to hear Him as a parent pleads with a child. There may be some who believe that the Old Testament books were only for the Children of Israel, or only for the past. As we come to this verse about midway through the book of Isaiah we see that God's message is not only for the chosen Jews, but for all nations. "Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people: let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth of it." I understand that there are laws and some promises in the Old Testament which only apply to the children of Abraham, but God is the one and only living God and He is the God of all the earth. He has given us His Holy Word, and preserved it down through the ages for us to read, and heed. So, as we continue with our devotions, "Are You Listening?", join us daily as we look at God's messages for us today.
3. The Words Of A Child
"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." I Corinthians 13:11
My son came to town last weekend for a short visit, and as a treat for the kids he put up a tent in his Grandpa's backyard. We went out just after dark and they were excited as he put the sleeping bags in the tent. While we were standing at the tent door something got into the hen house and one of the guineas came running toward us and around the tent past us. This scared the children and the next day Matt told us of their conversation after we went home and the lights went out. Meredith, almost 7, said she was scared of the wild animals. Matt explained that it was probably just a raccoon and would not hurt them. Christopher, 5 years old, interrupted, "But, Dad..." Matt told her that the tent windows and door were all zipped shut. Christopher tried to interrupt again, "But, Dad..." Matt continued to explain that he was lying next to the door and nothing could get past him, to reach them and Christopher said, "But, Dad..." Matt continued with his explanations of how they were beside the door of the house and safe in the tent. He may have just about convinced Meredith when Christopher said again, "But, Dad..." Finally Matt said, "What is it Christopher?" And he said, "A bear could take his claws and rip the tent in pieces." Then Meredith burst into tears. As parents we need to remember this verse, "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." We need to listen to our children. We need to listen to their fears. Children today may face many more fears than we even dreamed of when we were growing up. As adults we have "put away" many of our childish fears, but they are still very real in the minds of our children. We will continue with our verses on listening to God, but today I wanted to remind us to also listen to our children.
4. "Faith Cometh By Hearing, And Hearing By The Word Of God"
"13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world." Romans 10:13-18
Before we go any further in our pursuit to answer the question, "Are you listening?" we must stop and examine these verses in Romans. I have often used these familiar verses which are sometimes called, "The Romans Road".
Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"
Romans 5:12 "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:"
Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Romans 10:9-10 "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
You may have heard the simple A, B, C explanation of salvation. Accept that you are a sinner, lost without hope. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, that He came and gave His life to pay your sin debt and deliver you from your lost condition. Confess your sin to God and repent, turn away from your sin. I am bringing this to mind today because this is the starting point of listening to God. It does not do us any good to listen to other parts of the Word of God if we don't first follow through and accept God's plan of salvation. Do you know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? Maybe you had never heard the gospel message, but now you just heard it through these verses from God's Word and you are now responsible for your response. "Are you listening?" We are not promised tomorrow. Please come to Jesus today. "(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)" (II Corinthians 6:2)
5. Who Are You Listening To?
"1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat." Genesis 3:1-13
With our continuation of our devotional theme, "Are You Listening?" we go back to the beginning of time. God created the heavens and the earth and made man, Adam. In Genesis 2:16-17 we read "And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." As far as I can tell this was the only command that God gave to Adam. God made Eve and put them in a beautiful garden where they had all they needed or could ever want. Life was perfect, until they decided to listen to the lies of the devil instead of listen to God. Today I pose to you this simple question, "Who are you listening to?"
6. Sometimes We May Listen To The Wrong Crowd
"1 And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword.
2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time.
3 And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there.
4 But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.
5 And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat.
6 And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again.
7 And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.
8 And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God." I Kings 19:1-8
In the 17th chapter of I Kings we are introduced to Elijah, a great prophet of God. He listened to God and even confronted Ahab with the Word of God. He was a mighty prophet and God worked miracles through his life. In the 18th chapter of I Kings we read of the great victory God gave Elijah over the prophets of Baal. When we come to the 19th chapter, we find that Elijah heard the words of the wicked Queen Jezebel and he ran as far as he could. He grew so tired and weary that he said, "It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers." Did the Lord rebuke Elijah? No. He sent an angel to feed him and let him rest. We may have great victories on the mountain tops in our lives, but we eventually go back down into the valleys. When we grow tired and weary it is easy to listen to what the wrong crowd is saying. It is easy to feel like we are all alone, just as Elijah did. "And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away." (I Kings 19:14) Again, the Lord did not rebuke Elijah, but sent him on an important journey. God also assured Elijah that he was not alone in his service to God. "Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him." (I Kings 19:18) As we work for the Lord in these troubled times, let us listen to God's Word and try not to listen to the wrong crowd. "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." (Galatians 6:9)
7. Are You Listening For A Still Small Voice?
"9 And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?
10 And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:
12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?" I Kings 19:9-13
Today we continue with the life of the great prophet Elijah. Elijah listened to Jezebel and ran and hid in the wilderness. The Lord came to him and asked, "What doest thou here, Elijah?" Elijah answered the Lord of all that was in his heart. The next verses are very interesting. "And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?" Are you listening for God's still small voice? Many are listening for God to speak to them through some great means, when what they really need to do is listen for His still small voice. One of my favorite verses is Psalms 46:10, "Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." If we really want to hear God speak to us, then we need to be still and listen for His still small voice.
8. Rehoboam Listened To The Wrong Crowd
"1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;
2 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;
3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;
4 To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.
5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:
6 To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.
7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
8 My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:" Proverbs 1:1-8
King Solomon was given wisdom from God and he collected many proverbs and wise sayings that we still have in the book of Proverbs. He wanted his sons to hear his words as we see in the opening of this book (above) and also in these verses:
"Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many." (Proverbs 4:10)
"My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee." (Proverbs 7:1)
"Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge." (Proverbs 19:27)
"Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way." (Proverbs 23:19)
King Solomon reigned over all of Israel for 40 years and after he died his son, Rehoboam was made king.
"3 That they sent and called him. And Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came, and spake unto Rehoboam, saying,
4. Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee.
5 And he said unto them, Depart yet for three days, then come again to me. And the people departed.
6 And king Rehoboam consulted with the old men, that stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, and said, How do ye advise that I may answer this people?
7 And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever.
8 But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him:
9 And he said unto them, What counsel give ye that we may answer this people, who have spoken to me, saying, Make the yoke which thy father did put upon us lighter?
10 And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins.
11 And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.
12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had appointed, saying, Come to me again the third day." (I Kings 12:3-12)
Rehoboam did not listen to the wise words of his father, or to the counsel of the wise elders. Instead, he turned to the young men that were grown up with him and listened to them. The kingdom was split and Rehoboam ruled in Jerusalem, while Jeroboam ruled over the 10 northern tribes. If you have good Christian parents, listen to their wisdom when making decisions. It is also good to go to wise, older Christians when you need advice. Above all, go to the Lord in prayer, and spend time reading His Holy Word. We can never go wrong listening to God.
9. Actions Speak Louder Than Words
"14 When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me;
15 Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.
16 But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.
17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.
18 And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites:
19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:" Deuteronomy 17:14-19
Yesterday we looked at King Rehoboam and saw that he listened to his friends instead of the wise words of his father, King Solomon. God gave Solomon great wisdom and he wrote many wise sayings, but he did not follow his own words. God gave the law to Moses concerning three things a king was not to multiply for himself: horses, wives, and gold. Solomon broke all aspects of the law. "And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen." (I Kings 4:26) "Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold," (I Kings 10:14) And maybe, the worst of all...
"1 But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites;
2 Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love.
3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.
4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.
5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.
6 And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father." (I Kings 11:1-6)
I think we can see from the life of Solomon that, actions speak louder than words. Yes, Solomon left great words of wisdom that we can still read today, but what kind of example was he to his children? We need to make sure we teach our children in the ways of God and His Word, but I believe it is more important to be an example before them.
10. Are You Listening To What You're Saying?
"Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles." Proverbs 21:23
"For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:" I Peter 3:10
I could use verse after verse to show how we need to control what comes out of our mouth. How many times have I been discouraged or distressed and said things that I should not have said? My husband has stopped me often and said, "Do you hear what you're saying?" Today I want to ask this simple question, "Are you listening to what you say? Sometimes I complain and then I think of how God has blessed me, and I realize that I have nothing to complain about. Sometimes I say things that hurt others, and again the Lord convicts me and I have to apologize. We would all do well to do like Nehemiah, "Then I consulted with myself,..." (Nehemiah 5:7) We need to think about what we say before we speak. We need to listen to what we are saying. You may be saying to yourself, "I don't curse or use bad language" and that is good, but that is just the beginning. Listen to the warning Paul gives to young Timothy, "And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not." (I Timothy 5:13) If we look at the seven things God hates we see that three of those things have to do with things we say. "These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren." Proverbs 6:16-19) The little book of James has a lot to say about our tongue.
James 1:26 " If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain."
James 3:5 "Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!"
James 3:6 " And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell."
James 3:8 "But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison."
This is a serious matter. We all need to listen to what we are saying.
11. God Turned Jonah Around And Gave Him A Second Chance
"1 And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying,
2 Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.
3 So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey.
4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them." Jonah 3:1-5
Nineveh was an extremely wicked city. When God told Jonah to go preach to his enemies, he went in the opposite direction and got on a ship to go as far away from Nineveh as he could go. God sent a storm and Jonah knew it was because he had not obeyed God so he told the mariners to throw him overboard and when they did, the winds and seas became calm. God prepared a large fish, or whale, to swallow Jonah and he was in the belly of the fish three days and nights. He prayed to God for deliverance and the fish spit Jonah out on dry ground. Chapter three begins, "And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh..." Jonah did not listen to God the first time, but God turned Jonah around and gave him a second chance. I am glad that my God is a God of second chances, but we need to remember Paul's warning to the church at Rome, "What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid." (Romans 6:15) When we don't listen to God, we will have consquences to pay. I saw a sign that said, "You can take any road you want, because you can always make a U-turn." I totally disagree with this philosophy. Some roads lead to distruction and even if we get a second chance we may carry the scars of our choices the rest of our lives. When you think about how wicked Nineveh was, you may wonder why the whole city repented and listened to God. I believe that part of their response may have been in fear. I think Jonah looked ghostly with his skin bleached and all his hair disolved from being in the belly of the fish for three days. I think some of the people may have thought, "If God would do this to a man who didn't listen, what will He do for our great sin?" Jonah went down into the depths of the sea before he got his second chance to listen to God. When we don't listen to God we don't know how far down we will have to go before we get our second chance. We would do well to listen the first time.
12. Saul Did Not Get Another Chance
"10 Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying,
11 It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night.
12 And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal.
13 And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD.
14 And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?
15 And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.
16 Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the LORD hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on.
17 And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel?
18 And the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed.
19 Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the LORD?
20 And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.
21 But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal.
22 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king." (I Samuel 15:10-23)
Yesterday we saw how Jonah got a second chance to listen to God. I praise the Lord for times in my life when I have been given another chance to do right, but we don't always get a second chance. If we back up a few verses we see God's command to King Saul. "Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not;..." (I Samuel 15:2-3) King Saul did not listen and obey God and it costs him the kingdom. We see the great importance God places on obedience in these words, "Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry." We would do well to listen to God's Word and realize that sometimes we don't get a second chance.
13. Don't Give Up When It Seems No One Is Listening
"Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water." I Peter 3:20
Many years ago I knew a young preacher who wanted to reach the world for Christ. He started a New- Converts Sunday school class and set goals for how many he wanted to win to the Lord each week, each month, and year. He worked hard but became very discouraged when he could not see the results of his labor. After a while he gave up on preaching and he even gave up on life. We are told to be faithful, but we are never told that we have to be successful. ("Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful." I Corinthians 4:2) We cannot measure our Christian worth in numbers. Let's look at Noah. Do you think Noah considered his ministry to be successful? God told Noah that He was going to destroy the earth by a flood. Noah built an ark, and gave the people a way to escape the judgement of God. Did the people listen?
"5 And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him.
6 And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.
7 And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.
8 Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth,
9 There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah.
16 And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in." (Genesis 7:5-9 and 16)
Think about Noah, sitting in the ark as the rain started to fall and the flood waters started to rise. Genesis 5:30 tells us that Noah had brothers and sisters. Where were they? Noah had aunts, uncles, and cousins, but they did not listen. His neighbors watched him build the ark. They watched as he led the animals up the ramp. He worked and preached, but only his wife, three sons, and their wives believed. What does Peter say? "And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;" (II Peter 2:5) Do you think Noah paced and muttered, "Only eight souls, only eight souls"? Do you think he recognized the voices as they cried and banged on the sides of the ark? "Noah, let me in." "Noah, we believe. Let us in." As Noah praised God for saving him, I believe that his heart also ached for those who did not listen. God had shut the door and Noah could not open it. They were too late. If we study the genealogies in Genesis 5 we see that Adam died the generation before Noah was born. Methuselah died the year of the flood and it is possible that he knew Adam. These people were not so removed by time from God's creation that they had not heard of God. Yet, they did not listen. Don't get discouraged if you don't see results of your witnessing for the Lord. Keep on giving out the gospel message that Jesus died to save the lost. Remember, Jesus chose twelve disciples and one of those twelve did not believe.
14. God Rewards Those Who LIsten To His Word
"12 Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying,
13 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Go and tell the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Will ye not receive instruction to hearken to my words? saith the LORD.
14 The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are performed; for unto this day they drink none, but obey their father's commandment: notwithstanding I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye hearkened not unto me.
15 I have sent also unto you all my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and go not after other gods to serve them, and ye shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers: but ye have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto me.
16 Because the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have performed the commandment of their father, which he commanded them; but this people hath not hearkened unto me:
17 Therefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon Judah and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the evil that I have pronounced against them: because I have spoken unto them, but they have not heard; and I have called unto them, but they have not answered.
18 And Jeremiah said unto the house of the Rechabites, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Because ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts, and done according unto all that he hath commanded you:
19 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever." Jeremiah 35:12-19
Jeremiah is often called the weeping prophet, and while reading through the book of Jeremiah we can hear his pleas to God's people. We can feel the intensity of his message in Jeremiah 22:29 "O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD." In the verses above we see God reminding His people that He sent prophets but they had not listened. Then He gives the people an example of the sons of Jonadab and how they had obeyed their father. God promised to bless that family because they listened and obeyed. Because the children of Israel refused to listen to the message of the prophets God sent, He tells Jeremiah that He will not listen when they cry to Him.
"10 They are turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, which refused to hear my words; and they went after other gods to serve them: the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant which I made with their fathers.
11 Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them.
12 Then shall the cities of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem go, and cry unto the gods unto whom they offer incense: but they shall not save them at all in the time of their trouble.
13 For according to the number of thy cities were thy gods, O Judah; and according to the number of the streets of Jerusalem have ye set up altars to that shameful thing, even altars to burn incense unto Baal.
14 Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them: for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble." (Jeremiah 11:10-14)
We need to pray earnestly that our country will not go so far away from God's Word that He refuses to hear our cry.
15. King Zedekiah Did Not Listen
"14 Then Zedekiah the king sent, and took Jeremiah the prophet unto him into the third entry that is in the house of the LORD: and the king said unto Jeremiah, I will ask thee a thing; hide nothing from me.
15 Then Jeremiah said unto Zedekiah, If I declare it unto thee, wilt thou not surely put me to death? and if I give thee counsel, wilt thou not hearken unto me?
16 So Zedekiah the king sware secretly unto Jeremiah, saying, As the LORD liveth, that made us this soul, I will not put thee to death, neither will I give thee into the hand of these men that seek thy life.
17 Then said Jeremiah unto Zedekiah, Thus saith the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel; If thou wilt assuredly go forth unto the king of Babylon's princes, then thy soul shall live, and this city shall not be burned with fire; and thou shalt live, and thine house:...
4 And it came to pass, that when Zedekiah the king of Judah saw them, and all the men of war, then they fled, and went forth out of the city by night, by the way of the king's garden, by the gate betwixt the two walls: and he went out the way of the plain.
5 But the Chaldeans' army pursued after them, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho: and when they had taken him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he gave judgment upon him.
6 Then the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah in Riblah before his eyes: also the king of Babylon slew all the nobles of Judah.
7 Moreover he put out Zedekiah's eyes, and bound him with chains, to carry him to Babylon.
8 And the Chaldeans burned the king's house, and the houses of the people, with fire, and brake down the walls of Jerusalem." Jeremiah 38:14-17 and 39:4-8
Jeremiah continued to give the people God's message. "Thus saith the LORD, He that remaineth in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans shall live; for he shall have his life for a prey, and shall live. Thus saith the LORD, This city shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon's army, which shall take it." (Jeremiah 38:2-3) The people became so angry with Jeremiah that they cast him into the mirey dungeon of the prison until he almost died. After Ebedmelech begged King Zedekiah to release Jeremiah before he starved to death, the king sent for Jeremiah to hear the Word of the Lord. Jeremiah told the king that if he went with the Chaldeans back to Babylon then he would live and Jerusalem would not be burnt down. When King Zedekiah saw the army he ran and tried to escape at night. He did not listen to the words of the prophet Jeremiah. King Nebuchadnezzar killed all of his sons and nobles of Judah and then made him blind before they carried him away to Babylon. How terrible it would be to see the death of your children and watch the once beautiful Jerusalem destroyed and burned down, then be blinded so that those sights would forever be sealed in your mind. I can understand why Jeremiah is called the weeping prophet. He continued to give God's message, but the people kept refusing to listen. Over and over in the book of Jeremiah we read, "Thus saith the LORD..." but even after the prophecies started being fulfilled we read in Jeremiah 44:16 "As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee." The people still would not listen.
16. You're Never Too Young To Listen To God's Call
"And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision. And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see; And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep; That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I." I Samuel 3:1-4
When my sons were very small we would tell the story of Samuel and they would take turns acting out the parts of Samuel and Eli. One would lie down and pretend to be Eli, sleeping, and the other would be Samuel. We would tell the story, and our little Samuel would jump up and run to Eli saying, "Eli, Eli, was that you calling me?" Eli would say, "I didn't call you Samuel, go back to sleep." After the fourth time, our little Samuel would say, "Here I is Lord." The boys were very young, but they could understand this story and they enjoyed taking turns being Samuel and Eli. They learned that God can use little children and speak to them just as He speaks to older people. Sometimes we may think that we are too small or too young to be used by God. Samuel was only a small child when the Lord called to him. Hannah prayed for a son, and promised to give him back to the Lord. God gave her a son, named Samuel, and she kept her promise to God and took him to the temple to serve the Lord. Samuel was very small, but God still used him. Samuel was very young, but God still called to him. Don't think that you are too little or too young to be used by God. Paul told Timothy, "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." (I Timothy 4:12) When God calls to you, be ready to say, "Here I am, Lord."
17. Teaching Our Children Is A Continual Process
"And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." Deuteronomy 6:7
We had five children born over the period of ten years. I remember working so diligently to get each one out of diapers before the next one was born. I set little goals that at the first were very simple; teach them to eat at the table, get them out of diapers, teach them to behave in church. ( As they grew older the main goals were to get them through school and/or college, and see them marry and/or move out.) Because they were about two and a half years apart, the level of instructions to them varied with each one and the goals seemed long in coming. We had our Bible stories at night and worked to keep it interesting for the older ones, and still understandable to the younger ones. We also taught them Bible memory verses and how to pray about things all during the day. God commanded in our verse above, "And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." This is pretty much all the time. As a parent I continually prayed for wisdom in how to bring up our children. They were all different, just as God has created each of us as individuals. Thus, our teaching and instructions to them had to be based on their level of understanding. I have often told the lamp story from the days that my children were young. We had a floor lamp that stood on three legs which made it a little wobbly. The middle was a wooden bucket with a lid that I would keep yarn and crochet hooks in, Christmas cards, or whatever project I was working on at the time. It was beside the couch, and even though it had a shade, if the children stood up on the couch and touched the bulb it would burn their fingers, so the rule was always, "Don't touch the lamp." The first son came along... "Don't touch the lamp." He would not go near the lamp while I was in the room, but when I left the room the lamp would turn over or he would cry out from burning his fingers. The next son was born... "Don't touch the lamp" He was so tender hearted that he would cry just from being given a command. Son number three... "Don't touch the lamp." He would touch it, rule repeated, "Don't touch the lamp" and he would say, "Do it again!" Son number four, rule still the same, "Don't touch the lamp." I will never forget his puzzled expression, sitting in the floor, surrounded by the noise and play of his three older brothers, "What lamp?" By the time our daughter was born the lamp had seen its better days and was no longer a part of our household. Some have asked me for advice on raising their children. It is hard to be a good Christian parent and bring our chilren up in today's world. It takes a lot of prayer and consistancy. It also needs to begin when they are very young. If we wait until they are old enough to go their own way, then it will be that much harder to lead them into God's way. If we don't make them listen when they are two or three, then why would we expect them to listen when they are ten, twelve, or sixteen?
18. The Day I Heard And Believed
"9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Romans 10:9-17
Sometimes I share things that happened when my children were growing up. Today I want to share something that happened when I was about eight years old. My Grandpa, M. P. Beasley, was the pastor of a small country church. On one particular Sunday morning I was sitting there listening to him preach about the rich man and Lazarus from the 16th chapter of Luke. Tears swelled up in my eyes and I started crying. I was sitting with my Grandma and I must have been crying pretty badly because she took me out the side door to the parking lot and asked me what was wrong. I told her that I did not want to die and go to hell, the awful place of fire. That was the first time I felt the Holy Spirit convicting me of my lost condition. I really don't remember all that Grandma told me, but I do know that my life was changed at that moment. I had always prayed. Mom and Dad had taught us to pray before we ate and pray before we went to bed at night. But for the first time I prayed and asked God to forgive me of my sins and save me. I believed that He died for me, and when I prayed that simple prayer He took away the fear that had filled my heart. I have not been perfect since that day. I have to confess of sin often, but the Lord has always been faithful to hear and answer my prayers. In Matthew 27:22 Pilate asked the question, "What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?" Today I ask you the same question, "What will you do with Jesus?" You have heard the Word of God, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation... For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." The people answered Pilate, "Let him be crucified." He died for you. What will your answer be? Please believe on the Lord Jesus as your Savior and ask Him to come into your heart and save you. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:16-18)
19. The Lord Hears My Prayers
"Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice." Psalm 55:17
My little grandson is almost 17 months old and when he is put in his highchair he folds his hands together for prayer. He has a book of the song, "Jesus Loves Me" and when I read it to him he folds his hands together when I start reading the chorus, "Yes, Jesus loves me, Yes, Jesus loves me..." Not long ago, after church he kneeled down at the altar, folded his hands, and bowed his head as he had seen others do. Well, I was planning to create a book on "Shutterfly" or "Snapfish" of Bible verses, using pictures of my family to illustrate each verse, so I tried to get a picture. Each service after most of the people had gone I would say, "Jedidiah, show me how to pray." Sometimes he would get down to his knees, but before I could snap the picture he would jump right back up. For two or three weeks I tried to get a picture and finally he got down beside his Paw Paw kneeling at the altar. It may be some time before he really understands the importance of prayer, but it is important that we teach our children to pray at an early age.
I used this verse from Psalm 55:17 with the picture to make one page of the book. We are going to give our children a copy of the book for Christmas. I wanted to mention it because you may want to make a Bible verse book with pictures of your family for a Grandparent or other special person. There are so many wonderful Bible verses you can choose. If you would like to see some of the verses and photos I used, you can visit my page, Bible Verse Book.
20. "He That Hath An Ear, Let Him Hear"
"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." Revelation 3:20-22
We know how important prayer is in our lives. Prayer is our way of talking to God, a holy righteous God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. We tell Him our needs, our desires, our sorrows, and give Him thanks all through prayer. But communication is a two way process. It would be annoying to keep calling a friend and always leaving a voicemail but never answering the phone when he tried to return our calls. How does the Lord talk to us? Jesus said, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." First of all we have to open the door of our heart and let Him in. Then, He says, "He that hath an ear, let him hear." This is repeated several times in the New Testament. Do you hear? Are you listening to the Lord? The way we speak to God is through prayer, and the way God speaks to us is through His Word. When I was in high school a visiting preacher challenged our congregation to read the Bible through in a year. I decided to take the challenge and I got out my calculator and checked to see how many chapters I would have to read each day. I found a book mark with all the books of the Bible listed so I could check them off as I completed each book. I tried to read 4 chapters each day, and if I had a really busy day I would read 4 chapters from the book of Psalms. I did not read straight through from Genesis to Revelation, but I read the Bible that year. Today I would like to challenge you to read through the Bible. The more I read God's Word, the more I hear Him speak to me through His Word. When I began writing these devotions I had six or seven themes in mind. I got a composition book and wrote at the top of several pages, "Questions", "Little Things", "Things Remembered" etc. I began in Genesis and wrote every question down on the "Questions" page. I listed the "Little Things" down with the scripture references. I was really interested in the places where "God remembered Noah" and "God remembered Abraham" as I searched for other things remembered. I was reading with the purpose of finding what God had to say about certain topics. When I finished Revelation I had quite a list of verses, and had learned by listening to God's Word. Other times I began in Genesis and asked God to show me something new from His Word each day. My goal was not to read through in a year, but to learn from God's Word as I read. Again I had a notebook and I wrote down all the little things that God shed His light on in my daily reading. It was like gathering nuggets of gold and that is how I came to share "Gems From Genesis", and other book studies on our devotional pages. When we look at the history of Bibles we find that Johann Gutenberg invented a printing press and began printing Bibles in the mid 1450's. The King James Bible was not completed until 1611. Only in the last 600 years has the Word of God been accessible to common people. We are priviledged to have what people did not have for over 5,000 years, we have copies of the written Word of God. Take the challenge. Read through the entire Bible, not just to say you have, but to hear what God has to say to you. I hear so many people say they pray for God to lead them, but I wonder how many are really listening for God's answer. "He that hath an ear, let him hear."
Birds Of A Feather Flock Together
"He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed." Proverbs 13:20
One of the most repeated questions I am asked through this web site is, "Where is the verse that says, Birds of a feather flock together?" Although this statement is often referred to as a proverb, it is not found in the Bible book of Proverbs, or any other part of scripture. But we get that idea from this verse in Proverbs 13:20, "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed." We will be like the people we associate and "run" with. It is important, as Christians, to fellowship with other Christians. We live in a world that is falling deeper and deeper into sin each day. If we only go to church on Sunday, and spend the rest of the week as companions to the world then our conduct will follow that of the world. I have heard of parents who were concerned because their son or daughter was "running with the wrong crowd." I agree that they have a good reason to be concerned. Many times a person will follow the examples of the crowd he is with, even in doing things he would not normally do. It is hard for anyone to go against the voice of the majority, and I believe that Christians are quickly becoming more of a minority. Early in this theme we asked the question, "Who are you listening to?" In this verse we see the results of our answers. Do you want to have wisdom? Then walk with those who are wise. This is a good verse to remember. "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed."
We Are The Watchmen Of The Night
"The burden of Dumah. He calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?" Isaiah 21:11
As I was reading through the books of the prophets I felt like the message was repeated, "Are you listening?" and that is what led me to begin this series. Today I want to change the question to, "Are we telling?" or even "Are we warning?" God sent the prophets to warn of judgment to come. We are headed in a downward spiral brought about by the sin of our day and God's judgment is coming. We find a very important question in our verse above. So important that it is repeated. "Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?" We have come so far from the Light that I don't know many who are even concerned with the darkness that is about to come, but we still have a duty. Look at these verses found in Ezekiel.
"17 Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.
18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
19 Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.
20 Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand." (Ezekiel 3:17-20)
"1 Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman:
3 If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people;
4 Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.
5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.
6 But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand.
7 So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.
8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
9 Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul." (Ezekiel 33:1-9)
For those who think that these verses only apply to the people of the Old Testament, I leave these parting Words of our Lord Jesus Christ. " And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15) "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matthew 28:19-20)
Believers Of The Early Church
"36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." Acts 2:36-41
Peter preached the gospel message with boldness and the people were "pricked in their heart" and many believed and were saved, three thousand in one day. The gospel message is still preached across our land today. Why are people not listening to God's message and being saved? One reason is found in Paul's charge to young Timothy. "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." (II Timothy 4:1-4) Paul warned that the day would come when people would "turn away their ears from the truth." People just don't want to hear that Jesus saves. Another reason is that people have hardened their hearts by sin. It is sad to think of how many people believe that they will be saved some day, just not today. They need to understand that we are not promised a tomorrow.
"7 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice,
8 Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.
10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.
11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)
12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;
15 While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation." (Hebrews 3:7-15)