Some Listen, but Most Decline        
A wise son hears his father's instruction,  but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.   Prov 131

The wise are meek like Moses (Num 123); they willingly acknowledge that there is always much more to learn, however old or experienced they may be.
But the scoffer is invariably arrogant as well as foolish. They do not have a heart that is hungry for God and do not admit any need for his forgiveness. The scriptures remain a closed book, literally and spiritually. God’s truth, his creation and kingship are denied. His warnings are ignored and his gracious invitations are discarded; as are also various unpopular parts. This form of deafness has a very high penalty from which no man can escape, except by believing in the merciful sacrifice of Jesus Christ. At the conclusion of the parable of the sower, Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”  Lu 88   God gives to each of us the choice to live or die; how we respond to ‘the seed’ of the word of God.

      The Choice to Live or Die

      God made a world, He fashioned it, the hills, the sea, the sky.
      He made a man and gave to him the choice to live or die.

      Man chose his way, from life he passed, to sin and death and shame,
      But God in love was tender yet and to His children came.

      He came, at first a little child, to suffer and to die,
      That we, each one, may have the choice, the choice to live or die.

      Will you accept Him now you know the sacrifice He made?
      Or would you still be lost in sin as if the price had not been paid?

      The choice is yours, the way is clear, you can alone decide,
      Whether you turn your back on Him, or in His love abide.

            Paula Worth   1964

All men choose either to ‘listen’, or to close their ears and disregard the word of God their Creator. Adam and Eve heard God speaking, but chose not to ‘listen’ when he told them, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”  Gen 216,17   They listened to Satan instead.

Abel listened to God when he assured him by faith that his sins were forgiven. (Heb 114)
Cain did not listen when God warned him about his jealous anger.

There are many biblical characters that chose well and others who were foolish.
One of the later was Pharaoh of Egypt at the time of the Jewish exodus.
On the first meeting of Moses and Aaron with Pharaoh, God told Aaron to cast his staff on the ground and it became a serpent. Then the Egyptian magicians did the same by their secret arts. But Aaron's staff swallowed up their staffs. Still Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.  Exd 712,13  A bad decision, which he would repeat.
Then the first plague was when the Nile was transformed into blood. But the magicians of Egypt did the same by their secret arts. So Pharaoh's heart remained hardened, and he would not listen to them. Exd 815 Ditto with the plague of frogs. Then came the plague of gnats, which the magician could not produce.
They said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God. ”But Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.   Exd 819
This was repeated even to the tenth plague that killed all the first-born of Egypt, when God made Pharaoh drive out all his Jewish slaves.

God provided water and manna as the Israelites journeyed across Sinai. Then Moses sent out 12 spies into Canaan. The report of 10 was so pessimistic that the people rebelled against the command of the Lord God. Moses told them, The Lord your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness, where you have seen how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son, all the way ... Yet in spite of this word you did not believe the Lord your God.  Deut 130,32  God was angry and said that none of their generation would enter the promised land. So they changed their mind and said they wanted to go up and fight. But it was too late and Moses had to say, “Do not go up or fight.”  But they disobeyed and went up.  The Amorites came out and chased you as bees and beat you down in Seir.
They spent the next 40 years in the wilderness.
It is so foolish not to listen and disobey the word of Almighty God.

After David and Solomon Judah and Israel divided. After 20 evil kings that ruled Israel, we read that The people of Israel did secretly against the Lord their God things that were not right ... they would not listen, but were stubborn, as their fathers had been, who did not believe in the Lord their God ... they abandoned all the commandments of the Lord their God, and made for themselves metal images of two calves; and they made an Asherah and worshipped all the host of heaven and served Baal ... Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them out of his sight. None was left but the tribe of Judah only.  (exiled by Assyria 722 BC)  2 Kg 179-18

One might think that Judah would have realised what the Lord had done to Israel, when they refused to listen to God’s prophets. But they didn’t. After the godly king Hezekiah and Isaiah the prophet, Manasseh, his evil son reigned for 55 years.
God’s commands were totally ignored. They did not listen, and Manasseh led them astray to do more evil than the nations had done.  2 Kg 219

Then God sent his prophet Jeremiah (627 - 586 BC). He preached his heart and God’s word for 40 years in Jerusalem. This reluctant prophet earnestly listened to the Lord God. Then he tells the people of Jerusalem “Thus says the Lord ...” or “declares the Sovereign Lord ...” (or similar phrases) 366 times in 1,364 verses. But the people refused to listen to Almighty God.  This he also records 27 times!  Jer 713 726,27 1111,14 1217 1311,17 1723,27 2221 2316 264 279,14,16,17 ... etc (see below)

But the people did not like anything that God said to them. I have spoken persistently to you, but you have not listened ... declares the Lord, that you might provoke me to anger with the work of your hands to your own harm. Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts: Because you have not obeyed my words, behold, I will send for all the tribes of the north, declares the Lord, and for Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant ...  Jer 253-9
Thus says the Lord: “If you will not listen to me, to walk in my law that I have set before you, and to listen to the words of my servants the prophets whom I send to you urgently, though you have not listened, then I will make this house like Shiloh, and I will make this city a curse for all the nations of the earth.” Jer 264-6
They didn’t listen, so God sent Nebuchadnezzar as he had promised to destroy Jerusalem and even the Temple. Nebuchadnezzar was obedient.

For ‘listening’ to be real and life giving
      It begins with a hunger for God
            Then God must give revelation of his truth
                  And then his word is both believed and obeyed.

In Jn 6 after Jesus had miraculously fed 5,000, the people enjoyed being fed, but they wanted Jesus as King, not as Redeemer. Their hunger was misdirected from the start. So Jesus had to tell them, Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life.  Jn 627  But they wanted easy food, like manna. So he told them that “the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”  Jn 633  The people still did not hear. Instead they grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”  Jn 641
Jesus continued, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him ... Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life.”  Jn 644,47
But for many their hunger was for bread to eat rather than for the Lord himself.
So they concluded: “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” ...
After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.
 Jn 660,66
They did not hunger and thirst for eternal life.
They remained deaf to the invitation:
      “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters;
      and he who has no money, come, buy and eat!
      Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price ...
      Incline your ear, and come to me;
      hear, that your soul may live;
      and I will make with you an everlasting covenant ...
      “Seek the Lord while he may be found;
      call upon him while he is near;
      let the wicked forsake his way,
      and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
      let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
      and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
 Is 551-7

As Jesus entered Jerusalem for the last Passover, he rode in on a borrowed donkey, surrounded by a cheering crowd shouting, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”  Lu 1938  When they came to the Mt of Olives and looked down on the city, Jesus stopped and wept!  “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace–but now it is hidden from your eyes ... you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”  Lu 1941-44
The people didn’t realise Jesus had not come as the king they cheered, but as the Passover Lamb of God, to take away the sins of the world. The crowd was both blind and deaf. As with many today, they hungered for a victorious leader to follow, instead of the much needed and promised perfect sacrifice to enable their sins to be forgiven by the holy God.

Naaman was the commander of the Syrian army, though he had no answer to his leprosy. But he did listen to a little girl from the land of Israel  (2Kg 54)  who told him about Elisha, the prophet of God in Samaria. He went to see him. He initially took offence at being told by a messenger to wash in the muddy Jordan river. But again he listened to his servants. He obeyed and was instantly healed.

Another man who listened was the supreme king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar.
He gradually learned to listen to the word of the Lord from Daniel. The fascinating story is told in Dan 1-3. And then God gives him a whole chapter in the Bible to tell us his testimony (Dan 4).  Conclusion: At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honoured him who lives forever ... Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.  Dan 434,37

Almighty God graciously gave this proud, foreign, despotic king ‘ears to hear’.
God’s word delivered by the prophet fell on good ground. As Jesus said, “Some seed fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”  Lu 88

I am thine, O Lord, I have heard thy voice
And it told thy love to me,
But I long to rise in the arms of faith,
And be closer drawn to thee.

      Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
      To the cross where thou hast died;
      Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
      To thy precious, bleeding side.

Consecrate me now to thy service, Lord,
By the power of grace divine;
Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope,
And my will be lost in thine.

O the pure delight of a single hour,
That before thy throne I spend,
When I kneel in prayer, and with thee my God,
I commune as friend with friend.

There are depths of love that I cannot know
Till I cross the narrow sea,
There are heights of joy that I may not reach
Till I rest in peace with thee.

Fanny Crosby   1820 - 1915

‘Not Listen’   x27 in Jeremiah

I appointed watchmen over you and said, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’
But you said, ‘We will not listen.’

‘While you were doing all these things,’ declares the Lord, ‘I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen; I called you, but you did not answer.’  713

I gave them this command: “Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you.” But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts.  723,24

I sent you my servants the prophets. But they did not listen to me or pay attention. They were stiff-necked and did more evil than their forefathers.  725,26

When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you; when you call to them, they will not answer.  727

I warned them again and again, saying, “Obey me.” But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubbornness of their evil hearts.  117,8

They have returned to the sins of their forefathers, who refused to listen to my words. They have followed other gods to serve them.  1110

“But if any nation does not listen, I will completely uproot and destroy it,” declares the Lord.  1217

These wicked people, who refuse to listen to my words, who follow the stubbornness of their hearts and go after other gods.  1310

But they have not listened.  1311

But if you do not listen, I will weep in secret because of your pride.  1317

The Lord says: “Be careful not to carry a load on the Sabbath day ...” Yet they did not listen or pay attention; they were stiff-necked and would not listen or respond to discipline.  1721,23

This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Listen! I am going to bring on this city and the villages around it every disaster I pronounced against them, because they were stiff-necked and would not listen to my words.”  1915

I warned you when you felt secure, but you said, ‘I will not listen!’ This has been your way from your youth; you have not obeyed me.  2221

The word of the Lord has come to me and I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened.  253

And though the Lord has sent all his servants the prophets to you again and again, you have not listened or paid any attention.  254

“But you did not listen to me,” declares the Lord, “and you have provoked me with what your hands have made.”  257

“Because you have not listened to my words, I will summon all the peoples of the north and my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon,” declares the Lord.  258

This is what the Lord says: “If you do not listen to me and ... if you do not listen to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I have sent to you again and again (though you have not listened ), then I will make this house ... an object of cursing among all the nations of the earth. ...” But as soon as Jeremiah finished telling all the people everything the Lord had commanded him to say, the priests, the prophets and all the people seized him and said, “You must die!”  264-8

This is what the Lord Almighty says: “I will send the sword, famine and plague against them ... I will pursue them with the sword, famine and plague and will make them abhorrent ... among all the nations where I drive them. For they have not listened to my words,” declares the Lord, “words that I sent to them again and again by my servants the prophets. And you exiles have not listened either.”  2917-19

They turned their backs to me and not their faces; though I taught them again and again, they would not listen or respond to discipline.  3233

Your fathers, however, did not listen to me or pay attention to me. Recently you repented and did what is right in my sight: Each of you proclaimed freedom to his countrymen. You even made a covenant before me in the house that bears my Name. But now you have turned around and profaned my name.  3414,15

Therefore, this is what the Lord God Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Listen! I am going to bring on Judah and on everyone living in Jerusalem every disaster I pronounced against them. I spoke to them, but they did not listen; I called to them, but they did not answer.”  3517

Even though Elnathan, Delaiah and Gemariah urged the king not to burn the scroll, he would not listen to them.  3625

I will bring on them and those living in Jerusalem and the people of Judah every disaster I pronounced against them, because they have not listened.’  3631

Again and again I sent my servants the prophets, who said, ‘Do not do this detestable thing that I hate!’ But they did not listen or pay attention; they did not turn from their wickedness or stop burning incense to other gods.  445

We will not listen to the message you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord! We will certainly do everything we said we would: We will burn incense to the Queen of Heaven.  4416 [Top]