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Loss of Listening (2 Chronicles 12)

Loss of Listening
(2 Chronicles 12)

We’ve all heard of loss of hearing. That’s when a person grows deaf because of a physical problem with the ear or brain. That’s terrible but seldom fatal. Today’s Scripture tells us about an even worse condition: loss of listening. Loss of hearing is passive. It just happens. We do not need to do anything. Loss of listening is active. We must choose not to listen. If you have children or a dog or a cat you know what loss of listening is. You know those times when you give an order and it is ignored.

That is what is happening in today’s Scripture. GOD punished Israel for their idolatry under Solomon by having 10 of the 12 tribes taken over by Jeroboam and practicing idol worship as their own nation in the north. Two of the 12 tribes stayed faithful to God in Judah in Jerusalem under King Rehoboam, grandson of Solomon and son of David. Judah, Benjamin, and the priests and Levites of the Temple remained faithful to God for three years in Judah under King Rehoboam. But then the king decided to stop listening to GOD.

Rehoboam did not lose his hearing. He just stopped listening. God sends a prophet to tell the king that because the king and his people are refusing to listen to God, God is going to stop listening to them as well. He is going to abandon them. They heard that loud and clear! And they listened!

Just as you know your children are listening because they do what you say, we know that the king and the people of Judah listened to God because they repented. They stopped doing what was wrong, acknowledged that God was in control, and sought forgiveness from Him. That is what is meant by “they humbled themselves” as it says in many translations.

Even though they humbled themselves, GOD still disciplined them for not listening earlier. He gave them the experience of what it was like to serve the King of Egypt instead of Him.

Choosing not to listen to God is choosing to listen to the enemy. Like stubborn little children we often think that we are in charge of own lives. But we are not! When we fool ourselves into thinking we’re going our own way, we are actually going the way of the enemy of our souls. The only way to spiritual life is to actively listen to God.

All through the Bible, God describes Himself as calling to us with open arms for us to come to Him. If we repeatedly ignore Him he will make us spiritually hard of hearing. His voice may grow dimmer and dimmer the more we reject Him. But he will keep calling until the moment we die. That is why it’s so important to listen, actively listen, and obey quickly when we hear. Otherwise we may be too distracted to pay attention and die because we would not listen to the way of life.

Jesus started most of his sayings by saying “Listen!” We can still come to Him. We can still find Life in Him, today, at this moment. But the next moment, the next hour, is not promised to us. When we listen, the Lord, the world, and our hearts will know we listened because we will respond. We will seek forgiveness from the LORD. We will humble ourselves, asking Him to help us live His way. And we will act according to His Word for His Glory and the good of others.

As with Rehoboam and Judah, GOD may still need to discipline us. There are earthly consequences to choosing not to listen to GOD. But if we listen, He will lead for as long as we listen, even through the discipline.

Take the time to be alone with GOD today. Look through the Gospel of John. And when you hear JESUS calling you to Himself, listen. Come to Him. Confess your need of the forgiveness He bought for you on the cross. Accept the gift of that forgiveness and the resurrection He guaranteed for you with His own. Accept His Holy Spirit in your heart to help you follow Him. And listen daily as He leads you Home.

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