The Psalm writer wrote: Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. As we come before a Holy God and hear his word, may we have eyes open to the wonderful and fearful things from his law. May it move us to repent and seek forgiveness, fear disobedience, and live in light of the grace we have received. This is the word of God. It is eternally true and applicable for all of life.
Proverbs 4: 1-9 Hear, O sons, the instruction of a father, And give attention that you may gain understanding, For I give you sound teaching; Do not abandon my instruction. When I was a son to my father, Tender and the only son in the sight of my mother, Then he taught me and said to me, “Let your heart hold fast my words; Keep my commandments and live; Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding! Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth. “Do not forsake her, and she will guard you; Love her, and she will watch over you. “The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom; And with all your acquiring, get understanding. “Prize her, and she will exalt you; She will honor you if you embrace her. “She will place on your head a garland of grace; She will present you with a crown of beauty.”
The Hebrew Word qashab (kaw-shab’), translated as “Give Attention”, means to incline (ears), or attend. Other translations include:
give heed, incline, listen, make yourself attentive, pay attention.
Athletes are expected to pay attention to their coaches.
Children to their parents.
Drivers to traffic laws.
Citizens of a nation are required to give heed to the laws of that land.
Students are expected to listen to the instructions of their teachers.
Employees listen to the directions of their supervisor.
Soldiers must be attentive to their commander’s orders.
Everywhere we look in life, we see someone instructing, and another who is expected to heed the instructions. It is a way of life. In ordinary, everyday circumstances, it is common to see someone issuing commands, and another responding in obedience. Employees think nothing of taking heed of their foreman’s directives. For instance, your supervisor may say: “Mr. Johnson, Monday morning I would like you to move over to bay 2 and begin assembling the refrigerator compressor according to applicable work instructions.” Nothing would be thought odd about instructions such as this, and likely Mr. Johnson would comply and complete the job according to his abilities.
Not only are we frequently given tasks, and expected to follow through on them, but much of our work may demand a high level of attention to detail. Brain surgeons following practices that have been developed over the course of years would need to have a keen eye, paying attention to all the fine details of their intricate work to complete their task successfully. Being attentive in medical school pays dividends in situations such as this.
Hear, O sons, the instruction of a father, And give attention that you may gain understanding,
Do we give adequate heed to the instructions of our Heavenly Father? When God speaks in His Word, do you pay attention, or have you grown so familiar with the Word, that you check out while reading the familiar passages? Are you as meticulous in your study and application of God’s Word as you are when scouring social media for a little tidbit of gossip?
How do we approach the Word of God?
When we get to a difficult passage, do we skip over it? God’s Word says take heed.
What about a passage that makes you feel uncomfortable? Do you seek out a teacher that will sugar coat its implications, or do you look for the one who will speak truth to you? God’s Word says to “Incline your ear”.
Maybe you are reading God’s Word and get cut to the heart, convicted of sin. God’s Word says to repent, yet instead, you try to run. Instead of seeking forgiveness as God’s Word instructs you, the passage of scripture which caused you sorrow is ignored.
When God’s Word says something, do we take heed, give attention to it, and obey?
Are you like the Bereans in Acts 17, receiving the Word of God with great eagerness, examining the scriptures daily (Acts 17:11)? Or do you cherry pick from God’s Word, sampling those doctrines which satisfy your appetite, and discarding the ones that demand something from you, like repentance and obedience.
Imagine a child treating your instructions the way we often handle the Word of God. Imagine an employee cherry picking the directives of his employer, giving little attention to instruction, ignoring all of his training, showing up to work when he feels like it. Before long, that employee is out of a job. How much greater is our need to take heed to the Word of God? In John 10:27 Jesus says:
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;
His sheep hear his voice, AND follow Him. Many will sit in their chairs today and hear God’s Word with their ears, yet leave and go their own way. A vital component of being attentive to our Father’s instruction, is doing what he commands.
But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:22-25)
At this time if you are able, please kneel as we confess our sins to a Holy, Just God Who is rich in Mercy.
O Heavenly Father,
We thank you for giving us Your perfect Word. We thank You for sending us Your Holy Spirit, to lead us into all truth. We ask for mercy and grace this morning, because though we have tasted and seen that You are good, though we know Your Law is perfect, reviving the soul, we often go astray. Father, frequently we hear Your Word, but do not take heed as we ought. We have bibles, studies, sermons, and mountains of Christian literature available, yet far too often we take heed to our own wisdom rather than Yours. You command us to trust You with all our hearts, yet we are so easily fooled by our very limited creaturely wisdom. We come to your Word seeking things that line up with our preferences, all the while setting aside things which we need for training in righteousness. Please forgive us in accordance with Your lovingkindness. In Jesus Name we pray, Amen.
Listen now to the comforting assurance of the grace of God, promised in the gospel to all that believe:
Isaiah 41:10-13 ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ “Behold, all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored; Those who contend with you will be as nothing and will perish. “You will seek those who quarrel with you, but will not find them, Those who war with you will be as nothing and non-existent. “For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.
To all those who thus repent and seek Jesus Christ for their salvation, your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Lift up your hearts!
(From the 8/18/19 liturgy of Sovereign King Church written by Aaron Sabie.)