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Heeding God's Voice

Fateful Listening

Heeding the Proper Call...

by John J. Parsons

Jerusalem - Sheltered City  - Irv Davis detail
Nachum 1-7 (BHS)

The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble;
he knows those who take refuge in him. (Nahum 1:7)

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN a situation where several people were talking at once? Perhaps during a heated exchange at a school board meeting, or when discussing political views with friends over lunch? Each person tries to get a word in edgewise, attempting to make a point, but in general most aren't genuinely listening at all. As William James once said, "A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices."

Big Brother

We all form our opinions by listening to someone or other, and the inner voice of soul gets its conviction from some perceived authority. But the all-important question is to whom are you listening? Who is your authority as you consider the news of the day? As the world becomes ever more perilous, it's vital to keep in mind that who we listen to ultimately seals our fate.

The world system (i.e., the political/economic and mass media manipulated social world) has its "arguments" and its appeals which invariably are focused on egotistic desire or self-preservation. We are tempted, are we not, to uncritically receive such messages without serious reflection.  Politicians and the mass media regularly use various types of fear mongering to exploit our desire for security and safety.

But to whom are you listening? Who is your authority? The Midrash Rabbah says that the ear gives life to all the organs of the body.  How so? By listening (shema) to the Torah. This idea is repeated in the New Testament: "Faith comes from listening to the Word of God" (Rom. 10:17). Since salvation itself comes from heeding the message of God, it should be clear that the Word of God is the authoritative source of truth and meaning for our lives.

In the Scriptures listening and obeying are intimately linked, and we are warned that heeding the messages of this corrupt world can make you into an enemy of God Himself (James 4:4). Listening to other voices (regardless of how seemingly well-intended) puts you at risk of becoming deafened to the Voice of Truth... The world system always has audience with a "crooked and twisted generation" (Deut. 32:5). How else do politicians and advertisers gain their followers?

These are indeed "days of trouble," but our verse is straightforward. The LORD is good; He is a stronghold for those who are trusting in Him. But note that we are also warned. The following verse says that those who pay no heed to God's message of salvation will be overwhelmed "with an overflowing flood" and will be "chased into darkness" (Nahum 1:8).

May God help us heed His voice and take refuge in Him...

Strong Tower


Nahum 1:7 Transliteration

Tov Adonai lema'oz b'yom tzarah; v'yodea chosei vo

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