Friday, April 22, 2016

listen and walk

Oh, that my people would listen to me,
that Israel would walk in my ways!
Psalm 81:13

This song is written in God's voice as He pleads with Israel to be faithful in their commitment to Him. They did not listen or submit to God (vs11) and so God let them follow their own stubborn hearts to live by their own counsel (vs 12). But even in this sin, there is a call to repent as God offers deliverance (vs 14) and a return to His tender care (vs 16).

The outcome of repentance requires two changes: listening to God and walking in His ways. And if Israel would do so, God would reward their renewed commitment with the blessings of His presence and the good joys of the covenant. Those same two things also apply to Christians today as we repent of sin and trust in the saving work of Jesus for us. The gospel calls us to change by listening to God's Word and obeying it as we live in the new life that God reveals to us in His Word.

Those two aspects of growth can become barriers if we don't combine them with repentance of sin. For instance, I can put all my efforts upon knowing Bible doctrine and codify a set of teachings, having never actually let that truth change the way I live. I would not truly be listening. I can also put all my emphasis on the details of outward appearances (Christian subculture gives us plenty of ways to do this) and have no deep grounding in God's truth, becoming a shallow imitator of a faddish sense of style. That is just legalistic and was the problem that the Pharisees had.

May God continue to call His people to a proper balance of listening, obeying, and walking in His truth. May His Word lead us in His ways for His glory. May we repent, listen, and walk!

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