Wednesday, October 21, 2015

When God Refuses to Listen

The Minor Prophets Speak To Today

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  When They Called, I Would Not Listen 

Zechariah 7:13 NLT


"When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen."

When has God Called and We Did not Listen:

When we corporately followed the mind of ourselves and did not heed the warning God gave us long ago:

Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise.  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” 
1 Corinthians 3:18-20

There was a chief elder who said his job to protect the church. He also thought it was the church's job to do what he thought. Too many times the board of elders adopted a position or gave a specific instruction but he, when he acted on the issue, always followed his own thoughts and the way he thought it should be. 

Once he questioned why I did something which in the prior meeting he asked me to do. You see he did not really want me to do it. In his mind, we had not even had the conversation. Unfortunately, the others present remembered and when he asked if I was speaking the truth they told himwhat he said and when he said it. Of course, he dismissed what I did anyway.

Another time he asked the people to come to the site for the new parsonage and tell him which way they thought it should be positioned on the land. One of the elders old enough to be his father said to me, "There's no need to express my opinion. He's going to do what he wants anyway." The comment was telling. I don't know if he even realized what he did. But that feeling of not being listened to happened again and again over many years so that people just stopped saying or doing anything except nod their head in assent. The price of crossing him, feeling devalued and ignored, was more than they wanted to repeatedly pay.

When it arrived, he begged for people to come work on the new parsonage and was frustrated when they did not come. Finally, on a day he said he himself would be there, several came. Not much was accomplished except him telling them how wrong their ideas were. (Some people call that micro-managing.) Only one came back to help. That man even came to work alone to advance the chief elder's plan. What did he get? A thank you? Praise? No. Criticism and the chief elder frustratingly running the man down. He did not come back either.

When I asked the other elders and members why they did not correct this man's ways, the answer was always the same, "Pastors leave. We have to live here," How sad.

And, he took the same attitude toward God. When God's leading did not match his own, he did not follow. 

But, the most telling expression of his unwillingness to follow God was the statement, "It is my job to protect the church." Nothing could have been further from the truth. Nothing could have been more contrary to scripture. Nothing killed two times of the excitement of God moving and defining the way forward except that very elder undermining the very thing he was enjoying because God wasn't letting him lead it. God was not communicating the vision through him. God was asking for response he was not willing to do. God wasn't doing it this man's way.

Sometimes these scenarios are driven solely by one man or one clique of people in the church. Sometimes the whole church is in agreement on what to do, but their collective wisdom was not what God was calling them to do. 

Sometimes, many times, God abandons churches to the foolishness of their own wisdom and the church stagnates. His abandonment kills the congregation. Too many times in recent years I have simply seen their buildings abandoned. The church no longer living in its coffin.

When has God Called and We Did not Listen:

When he convicts us, but we do not change. 

When he saves us, but we remain babes in Christ:

"We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!  Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.  But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil." Hebrews 5:11-14

When the preacher preaches but nothing happens.

When the prophetic is spoken to us and we do not heed.

When the Scriptures say, "This is the way walk you in it," but we do not do what scripture says.

I cannot tell you how many times people, especially in the churches, have said to me, "The Bible doesn't say that," when the 'that' was a direct quote from scripture.

When has God Called and We Did not Listen:

God probably whispered an answer in your ear when you first read the question. Only you can tell yourself what he said about where you, or even your church, did not listen.

When does God Refuse to Listen when We Call?

When he has called and we did not listen.


 “‘When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,’says the Lord Almighty. 14 ‘I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations, where they were strangers. The land they left behind them was so desolate that no one traveled through it. This is how they made the pleasant land desolate.’”
Zechariah 7:13-14

Oxfordshire - Aug 2004 - Below the Uffington White Horse

Photo Credits: 
Listen to the music by Pieter Musterd, some rights reserved
Oxfordshire - Aug 2004 - Below the Uffington White Horse by Gareth Williams, some rights reserved

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