"Hearing and Disagreeing"
September 21, 2014
But He (Jesus) said, "Blessed rather are those who hear the Word of God and keep it!" Luke 11:28
My wife, Pam, is an absolutely wonderful, incredible woman.
Having said that, I must confess she has a tendency, the smallest, most inconsequential tendency, the hardly-worth-mentioning inclination to ask my opinion -- and then disregard it.
For example, she will ask, "What dress shall I wear: the red one or the blue one?"
Now, I like my wife in red, so it's no surprise when I say, "Red."
Holding both dresses in her hands, she gets a serious expression on her face, which says she's thinking. Then, having thought, she announces, "I'm wearing the blue."
A few years ago she came to me and said, "Your 60th birthday is next month. We can celebrate it with just the two of us, or I can throw a big party for you. Which do you want?"
"A nice evening at home is good." I replied.
"Right," she said. "A surprise party it will be."
"But, honey, I don't really want a party, and don't you think, since you just said it was a surprise party, that I may not be surprised?"
I should have saved my breath. As she left the room, I heard her saying, "I'm glad we agree. A surprise party is a good idea."
I have often wondered why does she ask my opinion if she's not going to listen? Indeed, there was a time when I asked her just that question.
Her reply said it all: "I do listen to what you say. Sometimes I just don't agree with it."
I wonder if the Lord feels the same way about His relationship with humanity. We listen, but we don't agree.
You need only read through the first chapters of Genesis to see how our original ancestors listened to God, but didn't agree with what He had said. Adam and Eve's disagreement showed up in an act of disobedience, which ended earthly perfection and began the dance of death that touches almost every human being.
Lot's wife heard God's instructions concerning the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, but she disagreed with what He had said. You know what happened to her.
Follow the children of Israel through their wilderness wanderings. They moved out of amateur rankings and into the pros with their consistent and almost constant disregard of God's directions. You would be hard-pressed to find an Old Testament king who listened to the Lord and then obeyed throughout the length of his reign.
Today it isn't much better, is it?
God speaks to humanity clearly in His Word, and humanity replies with a disdainful, "God meant those words for way back then, not for now." The Lord shares His Commandments, and we make them into suggestions that need not be taken seriously.
The Lord tells us, "Jesus is the only Name that can save, because He is the only Savior who has carried our sins, died our death, and risen from the grave" (see Acts 4:12; Colossians 2:13-15).
To that, humanity continues to reply, "Who can say? There are many religions, many saviors, many ways to heaven. Who can say which one(s) of them is right? Who is to say?
Jesus says, and He says it in Luke 11:28: "Blessed rather are those who hear the Word of God and keep it!"
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may I hear You and then, having heard, also obey You. This I ask in the Name of my Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries