Shalom to you all, blessed be יהוה (Yahweh) our Elohim, and may His Name be esteemed above all as we fellowship here tonight in His Presence immersed in His Word! I would like to share with an illustration I read of a fly which speaks so much of how many are living today:
There was once a spider that built a beautiful web in an old house. He kept it clean and shiny so that flies would patronize it. The minute he got a “customer” he would clean up on him so the other flies would not get suspicious. Then one day this fairly intelligent fly came buzzing by the clean spider web. Old man spider called out, “Come in and sit.” But the fairly intelligent fly said, “No, sir. I don’t see other flies in your house, and I am not going in alone!” But presently he saw on the floor below a large crowd of flies dancing around on a piece of brown paper. He was delighted! He was not afraid if lots of flies were doing it. So he came in for a landing. Just before he landed, a bee zoomed by, saying, “Don’t land there, stupid! That’s flypaper!” But the fairly intelligent fly shouted back, “Don’t be silly. Those flies are dancing. There’s a big crowd there. Everybody’s doing it. That many flies can’t be wrong!” Well, you know what happened. He died on the spot. Some of us want to be with the crowd so badly that we end up in a mess. What does it profit a fly (or a person) if he escapes the web only to end up in the glue?
The reality today is that we see so many falling victims to their own logic. It is when we assume to think that we are smarter than יהוה that we have in fact doomed ourselves.
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.”
Are you listening to the Word? How do you respond to the Truth? Are you listening and doing as just hearing is not the same as listening and doing? Often when asked if we obey when יהוה speaks, the majority of believers will very quickly respond in the affirmative, ‘yes, of course I obey’. And it is true that the majority of us desire to be like Yeshayahu (Isaiah) who says, “Here I Am, send me!” But the real issue is the fact that for many of us the reality of our response to the Truth is very similar to the accounts of the fly and also of those accounts of many we read of Scripture, where we see that יהוה speaks and all too often the people do not listen! Why is that? For that still happens today! The Hebrew mind-set and understanding of obedience to the Word of יהוה is associated with the disciplined practical principle of ‘hear, guard and do’ – but the question remains for us today – do we do just that? I want us to read today from Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 26, where he was under fire for speaking the Truth, speaking what יהוה had instructed him too and the people would not listen to the Truth as they chose to attack the messenger because they didn’t like what they heard. In a message tonight called, “Am I listening? It is time to hear, guard and do!” please turn with me to Yirmeyahu 26 (Read).
This message took place around 609-608 B.C.E. and the purpose of this message was to get the people to listen to the threatening judgement of יהוה that was to come if they refused to heed the Word spoken through the Prophets and was a call for each one to turn from their evil ways, and if they would repent and return to listening to and doing what He commands then He would repent of the evil plans of disaster he had planned for their disobedience. The content of this message was simply judgement for disobedience and if the people refused to follow His Torah and refused to listen to the prophets then יהוה would make the temple as desolate as the tabernacle that stood at Shiloh!
In what we have just read we clearly see an obedient man, great prophet of Elohim, declaring the Truth, faithfully proclaiming the Word without sugar-coating it to please the people and guess what? The majority of the people didn’t like it! I wonder why!!! There was mixed reactions to the Word of יהוה which Yirmeyahu had spoken to them. As we look at this passage we can clearly see at least 3 different responses that we may too find ourselves having toward the Truth, which we will look at shortly.
When sitting under the anointing and teaching of the very Living and Active Word of יהוה, we each have a choice to make – we can either listen or turn a deaf ear! The fact is that today, just as it was back then, many come to ‘hear’ the Word, yet simply do not receive it for themselves, and in a sense they ‘get nothing out of the Word’, thinking that it is for others only – why? Because by their own logic they are always right! With this kind of approach to the Word – that is – that it never is speaking about me approach – is in effect just simply ignoring the Word, in fact it is ignoring יהוה! We know that faith comes by hearing the Word and that without faith it is impossible to please Elohim and faith without works is dead – so hearing must result in the doing – that is when we know we are listening! Before we look at 3 ways we can respond to truth, let us first look at some signs that will reveal that one is in fact not listening and simply ignoring יהוה.
Let us call them for sake of this teaching: 7 signs that I am ignoring יהוה!
1 – I GO TO FELLOWSHIP AND GET NOTHING OUT OF IT! (2)
In verse 2 we see that Yirmeyahu was to speak to those who had come to bow themselves in the house of יהוה all the words commanded and not to diminish any word! Wow – today many people are bringing a word to the masses, and sadly it may just be, in fact more often than not it is simply a diminished word – one that has been constructed carefully in order to tickle ears and make people ‘feel’ that they got something out! This Word commanded by יהוה was not to ‘outsiders’ but to those who claimed to be followers, yet were simply coming to bow themselves in the House of יהוה out of duty, rather than out of loving obedience. When people are mixing their worship – that is when they are so immersed in the world’s ways and follow after its desires and schemes while at the same time trying to appease their conscience by hopefully attending a weekly service when it suits them – then when they do come to fellowship they do not come to listen to the Truth, but rather to ‘hear’ something they would like to hear that will justify their lifestyle! And so when they are not walking in obedience and the True Word reveals it they will simply reject it and say they did not get anything out of it. When we come together, we come together to worship our Creator, Redeemer and Saviour יהושע Messiah and surrender to His leading and guidance, to listen and obey and heed His instructions and we come to give, not to get something out of it! What we are to ‘get out of it’ is the reality of the Word and the surrender to the Truth that sets us free to walk in great faith as His Word equips us to worship him with our daily lives. When you are in His Word, in His presence and you say you get nothing out of it – that is a sign that you are ignoring Him!!!
Yehuḏah were going to the House of יהוה yet were getting nothing out of the Word as it wasn’t changing their lives – how about you – is His Word changing your life or are you getting nothing out of it?
2 – I GO TO FELLOWSHIP AND DO NOTHING ABOUT WHAT I HEAR (3)
יהוה made it clear in verse 3 that if they listen and repent then He too would repent of the evil He planned to bring because of their wickedness. When we come together, listen to me today – hearing His Word sang, and testified, taught and preached ought to change my life – if it does not then I am simply ignoring what I hear!
Yaʽaqoḇ/James 1:25 “But he that looked into the perfect Torah, that of freedom, and continues in it, not becoming a hearer that forgets, but a doer of work, this one shall be blessed in his doing of the Torah.”
Yehuḏah would go each week and ‘hear’ the Torah being read, yet they did not listen and do, they simply did nothing about what they heard and continued in their wickedness. There are many today that are doing the same, well if In fact they are getting a Word that is not diminished that is. Doing nothing about what you ‘hear’ from the Word is to ignore יהוה and sadly so many use the lame excuse today, ‘oh, I forgot’ – don’t be a hearer that forgets – be a doer and do not ignore יהוה!
3 – I KNOW WHAT MY FAILING TO OBEY WILL DO AND STILL CHOOSE NOT TO OBEY (4-6)
In verses 4-6 יהוה was telling them that if they did not obey, even after they have heard what to do from the prophets then their fate is simply destruction! Many people know full well what the result of their disobedience will be yet they still choose not to obey – it is easier to always go with the crowd they may think, but that is not true as we can clearly see from the results of disobedience seen in Scripture. Yehuḏah knew their fate for disobedience yet chose to continue in their sin, lawless deeds! Sign number 4 goes hand in hand with 3:
4 – I HEAR A COMMON MESSAGE FROM SEVERAL SOURCES AND STILL CHOOSE NOT TO OBEY (5)
Often we will hear the same message from different sources – perhaps you hear a message taught on a topic that hits very close to home and then read in your quiet time a passage that says the same thing and then a friend may say something that hits the nail on the head regarding the same issues that needs to be dealt with – for many this can happen to no effect as they still harden their hearts and choose not to obey – that is ignoring יהוה!
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 55:10-11 “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from the heavens, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, and give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so is My Word that goes forth from My mouth – it does not return to Me empty, but shall do what I please, and shall certainly accomplish what I sent it for.”
You may choose not to obey the Word, but let me remind you that His Word will accomplish what it was sent for – obedience brings the blessing and disobedience the curse. There is no sacrifice for wilful disobedience!
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 10:26-27 “For if we sin purposely after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a slaughter offering for sins, 27 but some fearsome anticipation of judgment, and a fierce fire which is about to consume the opponents.”
5 – I ATTACK THE MESSENGER BECAUSE I DON’T LIKE THE MESSAGE (7-8)
This is a very frequent sign seen in many today as they ignore Elohim as it is easier to attack the man than the message! This is what they did to Yirmeyahu – the majority did not like to hear what he was telling them – even though it was the truth!
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 4:12 “For the Word of Elohim is living, and working, and sharper than any two-edged sword, cutting through even to the dividing of being and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
Yirmeyahu was to give it ‘straight’ and not ‘diminish’ the Word at all. The word in Hebrew for ‘diminish’ is ‘gara’ which means ‘diminish, restrain, withdraw, or hold back’. Yirmeyahu was not to withdraw, hold back the punches or restrain himself from speaking the Truth – he shot straight and did not diminish a Word! It is the Word of Elohim that cuts deeper than any words of man, yet when His Word does cut deep, we often get offended with the one sent to speak it! The priests, the prophets and all the people seized Yirmeyahu – they did not like the fact that he was speaking about the destruction of the Temple – how dare he! They wanted to kill him! Let me ask you at this point, “How many of you have been angry at someone for the word they have brought forth?”, maybe more close to home, “How many of you have been angry at me for speaking the Truth?” I know last week’s message may have ruffled a few feathers! יהושע teaches us in Mattithyahu 5 that it is written that we shall not murder and the one who murders is liable to judgement, but He goes on to say that if we are wroth or angry with his brother, without a cause, is liable to judgement! Being angry because you have been wrong and it is pointed out with Scripture does not give you ‘cause’ to be angry!
Attacking the messenger of יהוה is an act of ignoring יהוה!
6 – THE WORD DOES NOT CALL ME OUT OF THE CROWD (8)
Listen, if the word is not calling you out of the crowd, then you are ignoring the Word – “Come out from among them! – Come out of her My people! – Wake up oh sleeper! Arise and Shine for your light has come! Come follow Me – יהושע says, anyone who does not deny himself and take up his stake and follow Me, says יהושע, is not worthy of Me!”
Repeated calling right through Scripture of יהוה calling out His Bride! It is time for the Bride to hear, guard and do, time to listen and obey and be separate from the world – we are in the world but not of the world and so we are not to live as the world lives – we are to live according to the instructions (Torah) of יהוה. This is all about choice – do I go with the crowd, with the masses or do I go with the Word, even if it means that there are only few?
Kepha Aleph/1 Peter 2:9-12 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a set-apart nation, a people for a possession, that you should proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light, 10 who once were not a people, but now the people of Elohim; who had not obtained compassion, but now obtained compassion. 11 Beloved ones, I appeal to you as sojourners and pilgrims, to abstain from fleshly lusts which battle against the life, 12 having your behaviour among the gentiles good so that when they speak against you as evil-doers, let them, by observing your good works, esteem Elohim in a day of visitation.”
Many ignorantly still say things like, “They all cannot be wrong!” and sadly do not recognise the need to rightly divide the truth but rather choose to follow blindly the road of the masses – wide is the path that leads to destruction, but narrow is the way that leads to life and few find it. If the Word is not calling you out of the crowd then you are simply and plainly ignoring יהוה!
7 – I GIVE MORE VALUE TO THE WAY I THINK THAN I GIVE TO יהוה‘S WORD (9)
The 7th sign that one is ignoring יהוה is that they value what they think and feel more than what the Word actually says!
The people of Yehuḏah thought that יהוה should go along with their ways and were more interested about what they had to think and say than what יהוה was saying! How true that is today – we see it all the time – people are often not even interested in what the word actually says – they have their own opinions based on feel good theologies and false doctrines that have diminished the Word and only care what they have to think and say on the matter based solely upon their limited understanding of the Word! In other words – they ignore יהוה and what He has to say, yet they want all the benefits and blessings that the Word promises for obedience, even in their rebellion and disobedience!! That is nothing other than arrogance and selfishness!
Tehillim/Psalm 119:59-60 “I have thought upon my ways, and turned my feet to Your witnesses. 60 I have hurried, and did not delay to guard Your commands.”
Yeshayahu/Isaiah 55:9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
The sooner we realise that His ways are higher and His thoughts are higher than ours the better we will learn top turn our feet to His witnesses and not delay in guarding His commands. We must learn to surrender our thoughts, our plans, our ways unto Him and allow His Word be that which shapes our thinking and that we may know His desires and plans for our lives that we can fully walk in them. If we give more value to our own thoughts over His Word, it is a sign that we ignore יהוה and that we must not do – if we truly claim to be His and claim to live in יהושע Messiah!
When we ignore יהוה we are only harming ourselves – just look at the end of verse 19 – ‘we are doing evil against ourselves’!
Ok so we have briefly looked at 7 signs that may show that I am ignoring יהוה, signs I am sure that none of us want to be evident in our daily walk! We all have choices to make and just as יהוה warned Yehuḏah and told them to turn from their evil ways, so too does He tell us to today and how we respond to His Truth is critical. As I said earlier that based on this passage we can see that we too can consider 3 different responses to the truth!
A – WE CAN RESPOND WITH LETHARGY
Lethargy is the quality or state of being lazy, sluggish or indifferent! We can meet the Truth with indifferent attitudes unwilling to hear what יהוה says, and can try to distract ourselves and amuse ourselves with other stuff. You got to think – why would somebody even bother to engage in fellowship in the body of Messiah if they ignore Him!!! Bit still they do it!
If a person is determined not to walk with Elohim why would they bother? Yirmeyahu addressed a people who had not been listening, and had no regard for the Word and choose to be wilfully ignorant. Ignorance does not excuse us – we have the Word – it is available for all to hear – but who is listening? We can respond with lethargy but we would only be harming ourselves.
B – WE CAN RESPOND WITH LIMITATION
Yirmeyahu went to the House of יהוה to proclaim the Truth – the sad reality is that the very Word of יהוה was not welcome in the House of יהוה. Sadly we see today that the Word is not being rejected as such by the worldly but by the people of Elohim! יהושע addressed the religious leaders and said that they had nullified the commands of Elohim by their traditions – may we not be limited in our response – limited by man’s traditions that simply has nullified the Truth! Those with a limited response will always attack and accuse and come against the messenger as they cannot fully stomach the truth! What we must realise is that something may offend us and still be true – that is a huge hurdle many sadly cannot get over. There are times when we need to be offended that we can change – there may be times when the Word will cut real deep and it may be uncomfortable but it is necessary to bring about change – bring about His good work in us to completion. When we are limited in our ability to respond fully to His Word we will only in the long run be hurting ourselves.
C – WE CAN RESPOND BY LISTENING
The best and most profitable way for us to simply heed what the Word of Elohim says, and what יהושע our redeemer would speak to us through His Word. Fortunately we see from the rest of the passage here is that there were indeed some of the princes of Yehuḏah, who regarded יהוה‘s Word and intervened, quoting previous prophets and spared Yirmeyahu from the malicious attacks and intentions of the false prophets and priests – those who responded with lethargy and limitations! We must be people who are diligent and attentive to what יהוה is speaking to us. יהושע in Luqas/Luke 8;15 tells us that those who listen have an honest and good heart. If I just tell you my opinions and simply speak on my own behalf, then yes you may well disregard me and my words, but when I speak to you the Living Word of a Set-Apart Elohim then He deserves your full attention. Does יהוה have your attention yet?
How do you respond to His Living Word? Do you respond with lethargy and are in a sense careless, indifferent thinking it doesn’t matter anyway, or are you limited in your response – only responding so far as it suites you and meets your expectations and requirements rather than you meeting His requirements of obedience? Or do you listen well, in that you hear, guard and do all that His Word instructs you to? The choice is yours, but may I remind you that there is only one choice that secures a sure and favourable outcome and that is to respond by listening attentively.
Have you in any way found yourself to be ignoring יהוה as you have found yourself ‘getting nothing out’ of fellowship and His Word and do nothing about what you hear – how about tonight – will you do something about what you are hearing or simply ignore and excuse any changes required in order to line up your walk with the plumb line of His Word? Have you been hearing a repetitive message from different sources yet still choose to ignore facing that which needs to be dealt with? Do you find yourself attacking the messenger because you do not like the message, even though it is truth? Is the Word calling you out of the world’s ways or not? Do you give more value to your thoughts than to Elohim’s?
May the Word of יהוה never be diminished in our midst and may we be a people who will not only hear that faith may come, but listen that we can guard to do all that He commands us to with great joy and love for Elohim.
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 6:4-6 “Hear, O Yisra’ĕl: יהוה our Elohim, יהוה is one! 5 And you shall love יהוה your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your might. 6 And these Words which I am commanding you today shall be in your heart”
יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and give you favour; יהוה lift up His face to you and give you peace!
Now be good listeners of the Word – that is hearers and doers!
The favour of our Master יהושע Messiah be with you, aměn!