We need to both ‘LISTEN’ and ‘OBEY’ God’s ‘VOICE’ everyday: Then the Lord said to me, "Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, saying: 'Hear the words of this covenant and do them. For I earnestly exhorted your fathers in the day I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, until this day, rising early and exhorting, saying, "Obey My voice." Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but everyone followed the dictates of his evil heart; therefore I will bring upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do, but which they have not done.'” (Jer. 11:6-8)
From the moment that God created man in the Garden of Eden, it was the desire of God to commune with man continually. God would descend from heaven to earth and walk in the Garden of Eden to reach out and have fellowship with man (see Gen. 3:8). However, man sinned and broke off this communication chain by listening to the words of Satan, his mortal enemy. Still God killed an innocent animal and clothed man and woman with the skin of the slain animal (3:21), and then drove them out of the Garden of Eden to prevent them for sinning and being condemned eternally (3:22-24).
Thereafter, God wanted this communication chain restored through worship, but the wicked Cain killed his younger brother Abel who had followed God’s instructions for true worship (Gen. 4:1-15). After this, Cain ‘went out’ from God’s presence to become a fugitive and wanderer all his life (4:16). His descendants were no better, and when we arrive at Genesis 6, all the people of the earth had corrupted themselves (Gen. 6:1-7) except Noah who found grace in the sight of God (6:8). The ark that Noah constructed under God’s directions could only save Noah’s family of eight people. Their descendants split into seventy families and were scattered throughout the earth (see Gen. 11), and none wanted to maintain the communication with God that he always desired.
It was then God singled and called Abram out (Gen. 12:1-3) for the special relationship that he always desired. As a result of Abram’s obedience and faith in God’s Word, God blessed his descendants abundantly. It was about these descendants of Abram that God refers to (in the above scriptural passage) all of whom He brought out of the land of Egypt with mighty miracles. Every day God spoke to the children of Israel and earnestly exhorted them to “obey His voice”. But they would not pay any attention nor would they incline their ears to hear God’s voice. As a result they committed various sins and perished in the wilderness without being able to enter the Promised Land that God had prepared for them!
In fact, Israel accepted the covenant (Exod. 19:8) but then disobeyed the law of God. The new generation accepted the covenant as found in Deuteronomy, entered the land, and eventually turned to idols. Jeremiah was told to share the words of God’s “covenant” with the people. Though God had repeatedly warned the nation to obey Him, they refused to listen. Because of this, God vowed to bring on them “all the curses of the covenant”. The Old Testament is filled with instances of disobedience by the children of Israel, and they received all the curses listed in the Pentateuch.
In our lives, we should realize that God speaks to us daily. We should take time and make deliberate effort to listen and obey His voice every day. Our Lord Jesus Christ used to rise up many hours before daylight to commune with His Father in heaven in prayer (Mark 1:35), and would even spend all night in prayer to hear from God (Luke 6:12). As His children, it is so much more important for us to hear the voice of God on a daily basis and intentionally obey His directions as we journey through our life’s pathway!