“Oh, that My people would listen to Me” Psalm 81:13
When Adam and Eve had disobeyed God by eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they did not want to hear Him. As they tried to hide He pursued them calling “Where are you?” This is what people have continued to do and God has continued to do ever since. It is like the game of hide-and-seek but it is no game, it has temporal and eternal consequences.
Adam and Eve initially refused to accept responsibility and blamed someone else. Nothing has changed. That is still the first inclination of people when sin is revealed.
The remedy for Adam and Eve’s predicament could only come from God. They were helpless to reverse the effects of their action or remove the consequences. It was necessary that they listen to God if they were to be saved.
As any parent knows, to listen means to conform or obey. When a child does not conform or obey we would probably call out with some measure of exasperation, “Didn’t you hear me?” Quite often the child may not have realised that he/she had not obeyed. He/she just didn’t process the information, misunderstood it or was distracted by something of more interest. The same is true in our relationship with God.
In Psalm 81:13 we see the same love and desire of God toward His people as He had toward Adam and Eve which is His desire that they listen to and heed Him. The problem was not that God has not spoken, He has. His people refused to heed His voice (v 11).
If we really are “His people” we will want to listen to and heed God. This means that we will read, study and meditate on His Word, pray for correct understanding and application, conform to the way He describes and obey His commandments. If we do not want to do these we must question whether we are “His people” or not.
The psalmist asks God’s people to reflect on the kindness and grace that God showed them when they were in rebellion and on the great strength by which He delivered them from their hiding place.
For those of us who trusted Jesus Christ later in life a few minutes reflecting on what we were before Christ became our life and on where we might have been had He not intervened might help our spiritual ears and lift our hearts with praise, worship and thankfulness.
Surely when we see the tender but powerful love God has for us we will respond by lovingly listening to Him to the point of obedience.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8).