Will You Listen to God?
‘BUT surely the Bible has been around for a long time, and the world is in a worse state than ever!’ This is quite true, and the reason is that people have not been listening while God has spoken. Why not?
In some cases, they are just not interested. A recent declaration by a group of Secular Humanists states: “[We] reject the idea that God has intervened miraculously in history or revealed himself to a chosen few, or that he can save or redeem sinners.” Actually, God speaks today, not merely to a “chosen few,” but to all who will listen. “God . . . is telling mankind that they should all everywhere repent.” (Acts 17:30) Nevertheless, any who reject even the idea of God’s speaking are evidently not going to listen to him. Their future must appear very dark.
True, many world leaders have claimed to believe in God. Yet they have not helped to improve things much. Why is this? Largely because, as the French philosopher Voltaire once said, “Most of the great men of this world live as if they were atheists.” Their claims that they worship God have not held them back from the massacres, aggressive wars, oppressions, tortures and treachery that have been continuing features of history. Evidently, when God has spoken, they have not been listening either.
SOME HEAR BUT DO NOT LISTEN
‘Is it not true, though, that many religions use the Bible in their services, and people hear its words every Sunday?’ This is correct. But while they hear, do they really listen, that is, pay attention to what they hear?
For example, many churches use the “Our Father” prayer (or, the “Lord’s Prayer”) in their Sunday services. This prayer is a part of the Bible. In one Catholic version, the first words of the prayer are: “Our Father who art in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”—Matt. 6:9, 10, Douay.
What is God’s will that has to be done on earth? Part of it is expressed in this promise: “The meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.” (Ps. 37:11) Such peace, according to the “Our Father” prayer, is to be brought about by God’s “kingdom,” his government.
So it was interesting back in 1965, after Pope Paul VI visited the United Nations, to read in the newspapers that he had said: “The peoples of earth turn to the United Nations as the last hope of concord and peace.” (Italics ours) This statement doubtless helped United Nations members to feel that their work was important and worthwhile. But if they were the last hope for peace, what about God’s kingdom? Pope Paul VI evidently had not been truly listening to the words of the “Our Father” prayer.
There are many other examples showing that, even when people hear the Bible read, this to them is often just a ritual, and they fail to pay attention and get the sense of what it is saying.
LISTENING AND OBEYING
“To listen” also means “to consider seriously.” Many today fully understand what God is saying about certain matters, but do not take his words seriously. They follow their own ideas. Hence, they do not listen when God speaks.
An example of this is the matter of morality. God gives a clear standard of morality. He says: “Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men kept for unnatural purposes, nor men who lie with men . . . will inherit God’s kingdom.”—1 Cor. 6:9, 10.
Modernists, including many religious leaders, reject this standard. They call it old-fashioned and encourage a more “liberal” way of life. The result? An epidemic of teenage pregnancies, abortions, venereal diseases, divorces and emotional turmoil.
This should not surprise us. “God is not one to be mocked. For whatever a man is sowing, this he will also reap.” (Gal. 6:7) God’s moral laws, just like his physical laws, are for our protection and good. Sowing defiance of God is certain to bring bad results. To disapprove of God’s standards is rather like disapproving of the law of gravity. Whatever our personal opinion, we defy it at our own risk!
WHEN GOD SPEAKS, DO ANY LISTEN?
‘So, then,’ you may ask, ‘if so many religionists and world leaders do not listen when God speaks, does anyone?’ Yes, some do. Jesus once declared: “Everyone that is on the side of the truth listens to my voice.” Since he explained that everything he said in reality came from God, listening to Jesus is the same as listening to God. Hence, those “on the side of the truth” do listen to God.—John 18:37; 7:16, 17.
And these do more than merely listen. They go out and help others to listen, too. Jesus commanded them: “Go . . . make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them . . . teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:19, 20) Is there anyone doing that today?
This question was on a young woman’s mind some years ago. She was disillusioned by the confusion and contradictions of the religions she knew, and had become an agnostic. Without knowing it, she was seeking a quality that Jesus had said would identify those “on the side of the truth”: “By their fruits you will recognize them.” Since she did not know of any religious group producing what were recognizable as godly fruits, she felt that God was not speaking today.—Matt. 7:16.
One time, to please a friend, the young woman visited a religious group she had not associated with before. Since they were friendly, she asked one of them a question, just to see what would happen. She was surprised when he gave her a straightforward answer from the Bible. Then she went to another member of the group, and asked the same question. To her astonishment, he opened the Bible and gave her the same answer. She repeated the experiment and found that, religiously, these people were united, not confused.
This impressed the woman. Unknowingly, she had stumbled across another characteristic of the people “on the side of the truth”: they strive to be “fitly united in the same mind and in the same line of thought.” (1 Cor. 1:10) They recognize that “all Scripture is inspired of God.” Hence, they study, and teach, not men’s opinions but what God says in the Bible.—2 Tim. 3:16.
The young woman gradually abandoned her agnosticism. She was happy to listen while God spoke. And she gladly associated with a people “on the side of the truth” who went out and read the Bible to others, thus helping as many as possible to listen to God speaking. Eventually, she became an active member of that congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
WHAT GOD SAYS
Are you “on the side of the truth”? Then you will want to listen—truly listen, in the sense of paying attention and taking to heart what God says. To do this will put you in the minority, since most people today do not listen to God. Sadly, like the ancient Israelites, “they have ignored the way of Jehovah.”—Jer. 5:4.
Nevertheless, it is sensible to listen to God’s wisdom. “The one listening to [true wisdom], he will reside in security and be undisturbed from dread of calamity.” (Prov. 1:20-33) Today, those who listen to God are guided to avoid the pitfalls that come from living in this imperfect world. Thus they avoid unnecessary calamity. And soon, if they prove faithful, they will live in a world wherein ‘calamities’ no longer happen. At that time, God “will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore.”—Rev. 21:4.
This is the world God will prepare for those “on the side of the truth.” Would you like to be a part of it? Then make it a point to listen when God speaks. Jehovah’s Witnesses will be happy to help you to do so.
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Benefits from listening when God speaks
● Hope of a paradise earth
● Confidence in the future
● Happy family life now
● Enjoyment of peace
● Unity of true worship
● Faith in God’s kingdom by Christ