The Danger In Postponed Obedience
“But you did not listen to me,” declares the Lord, “and you have aroused my anger with what your hands have made, and you have brought harm to yourselves.”
– Jeremiah 25:7 (NIV)
How hard it is to anticipate the full reach of willful sin. Who among the people could have guessed that not listening would lead to idolatry? Not listening seems so small, almost benign, and easily justified as a temporary postponement of obedience.
Yet, not listening is perhaps the first exhale of lovelessness.
Listening is a posture of attentiveness, which acknowledges the presence of another.
Listening is an exercise in interdependence, which nurtures a teachable spirit.
Not listening is not.
Not listening is a posture of arrogance, which ignores the contributions of another.
Not listening is an exercise in independence, which breeds a rebellious spirit.
By not listening, God’s people “brought harm to [them]selves” (Jeremiah 25:7).
Which returns us to the ancient and forfeited power of the Sabbath Year — of space squandered, of listening denied.
Which returns us to the current and immeasurable potential of the Sacred Slow, the quiet time — of space devoted, of listening cherished.
Much has changed since Moses first announced the original Sacred Slow. Slavery is now illegal, few completely live off the land, most debts are held by banks, not by brothers, and we can hear God’s Word by pushing a button, not only on communal feast days.
Two things have not changed. We still struggle to listen and obey, and not listening is still toxic for our souls and communities.
As an author, Marjorie J. Thompson stated, “In a world driven by the need to accomplish and acquire, in a world where we judge one another on the basis of performance, God calls us to the radical trust of rest.”
With and in Jesus, we then guard and grow that rest willfully through accepting forgiveness and rejecting the self-punishment of shame, stewarding our bodies and creation as God’s art, forgiving and giving to others as Jesus has forgiven and given to us, and respecting God’s Word personally and living it out in the community.
In our busy, aggressive, ambitious culture, rest does take radical trust! We rush everywhere. We go-go-go 24/7/365. And, we disobey the Lord when we neglect to stop and truly listen to the Voice of God.
(Adapted From The Sacred Slow by Alicia Britt Chole, Published by Thomas Nelson)
Dear Heavenly Father, I acknowledge you as my God, Lord, and King. I submit my will, thoughts, and emotions to you. Fill me with the knowledge of your will through your Holy Spirit working in me. I take my thoughts captive in obedience to your word. May I never run ahead of you and neglect the place of seeking your guidance in all I do.
In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.