I remember growing up as the youngest of three, there were times when my older siblings overpowered me. They didn't just overpower me physically; they also overpowered me in decisions for what we would play or do. They could also overpower me in conversation. It wasn't meant as a mean thing on their part; they were five and three years older than me, so they were older and knew what they wanted. What often ended up happening would be me trying to express my opinion and them not even noticing. Eventually, I would give up trying to give my opinion because they were not going to listen anyway. It was the life of the younger, less-dominant sibling. I think when God is explaining to the Israelites why they are in their situation, it is good for us to listen because we could find ourselves creating a similar situation in our hearts. Please read through Zechariah 7 one last time.
Verses 11-14 have very strong statements about listening to God and we would be wise to heed what God was saying to the Israelites. "But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and covered their ears," verse 11. Verse 13 says, “‘When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,’ says the LORD Almighty." I mentioned earlier this week how I pray that God would soften my heart so I could hear Him and learn from Him. When I read these verses, it really reminds me the importance of listening to Him and obeying. I need to be careful here because I don't want to delve into legalism, because we listen and obey because of our love for God.
In his book, Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God, Dallas Willard says, "Is it not, in fact, more presumptuous and dangerous to undertake human existence without hearing God?" (page 9). I would have to agree because if I am left to my own devises, I would fall flat on my face on a daily basis. We see what happened to the Israelites as a result of generations of not listening to God. The good news is that God does speak to us in many ways! We just need to tune our ears to hear His voice. He speaks to us in many ways such as the Bible. He can also use other people to say things to us that God wants us to hear. He also speaks to our hearts. Sometimes that is why people fast - to hear God more clearly. The problem that we see in Zechariah 7 is that they were fasting and still not listening. If you are struggling to hear God's voice, please read a book that helps guide you in that area such as The Power of a Whisper: Hearing God, Having the Guts to Respond by Bill Hybels.
Are you listening for God's voice?