“But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the LORD'S flock is carried away captive.”
One can only imagine how frustrated God gets with His people who won't listen to Him when He has the answers for their life, but they won't come to Him for help or listen to those He sends their way to help. One of the keywords in Jeremiah 17 is the word “hear.” It says in verse 11, “…but they would not hear.” God pleads with His people when He says in verse 15, “Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud, for the LORD hath spoken.” God finally comes to the end of His frustration with His people when He says in the verse above, “But if ye will not hear…” The result of God’s people not listening to God is that they would be “carried away captive.”
I am certainly not God, but one thing that has frustrated me since I became pastor is that God’s people won’t listen to what I say. It is not that I know everything, but I do know where certain actions are going to take people. I see the decisions that God’s people make, and the frustration that they won't even come to ask their pastor for advice is great. I have told my wife a couple of times that I think I understand in a small way how God must feel with believers because He knows what is right, and yet His people won't listen to Him or even ask Him what to do. My friend, would you please listen to me; God has the answers to your life, but you must listen to those He has placed in your life if you are going to find those answers. So you ask, “What is listening?” Let me share a couple of thoughts of what it means to listen to God and the pastor that God has given to you.
First, to listen means to ask for advice. Your pastor certainly doesn't know everything, but God has given him to you to help guide you spiritually through life. You must understand that every decision is a spiritual decision, and not seeking your pastor’s advice BEFORE making a decision is asking for disaster. I know that many don't like it when a preacher says this, but you can't see some things that others from the outside can see. Listening by asking for advice could keep you from making disastrous decisions.
Second, to listen means to listen to the preaching. God speaks to you through the preaching of His Word. There are people who have come to me numerous times before a service to ask if they could get advice, but after the sermon they told me that their question was answered in the sermon. PLEASE, listen to the preaching. Don't just sit there and hear the preaching, but listen to the preaching by taking it in and storing it in your heart.
Third, to listen means to swallow your pride by not having your mind made up. Coming for advice with your mind made up is not listening. Listening is being willing to lay aside what you think you know and be willing to listen to the advice of God’s man. You might be right, but what if you made up your mind and you were wrong and didn't listen to the advice given? Many disastrous decisions have been made because someone informed their pastor of a decision instead of asking him for advice.
Does God say about you, “They would not hear.”? I hope not. You can avoid much heartache if you will listen to God through the preaching and the advice of your pastor.