Are You Listening?

Connecting Points

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Today’s Topic:  Are We Listening?

Today’s Text:  Isaiah 28:9-10  “Who is it he is trying to teach? To whom is he explaining his message? To children weaned from their milk, to those just taken from the breast? For it is: Do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule; a little here, a little there.”

Robert Kupferschmid, 81, had no flying experience. In an emergency, however, he learned quickly how to land a plane.

Kupferschmid and his 52-year-old pilot friend, Wesley Sickle, were flying from Indianapolis to Muncie, Indiana, in June 1998. During the flight, the pilot slumped over the controls. He was dead. The Cessna 172 single-engine plane began to nosedive and Kupferschmid grabbed the controls. He got on the radio and pleaded for help.

Nearby were two pilots who heard the call. Mount Comfort was the closest airport, and the two pilots gave Kupferschmid a steady stream of instructions, climbing, steering, and the scariest part, landing. The two experienced pilots circled the runway three times before this somewhat frantic and totally inexperienced pilot was ready to attempt the landing.

Emergency vehicles were called out for what seemed like an approaching disaster. Witnesses said the plane’s nose nudged the center line and bounced a few times before the tail hit the ground. The Cessna ended up in a patch of soggy grass next to the runway. Amazingly, Kupferschmid was not injured.

This pilot listened and followed those instructions as if his life depended on it—because it did. In contrast, the people of Israel in Isaiah’s day didn’t listen to God’s instructions delivered by the prophet. Instead they mocked him. They were headed for a crash.

Isaiah has been trying to warn his people about the consequences of their sinful choices. He has been reminding them of God’s standards of holiness and righteousness. He has delivered to them exactly what God wanted said so they would have a chance to repent and recover. But instead of listening, they make fun of him, and of course by doing so they are making fun of God as well. They wanted to hear nothing except words that affirmed their current choices. They were so blinded by their sin that they had lost sight of its consequences.

If I had been Isaiah, I would have lost it about now. There is not much in life more annoying, frustrating, or disrespectful than a person who not only ignores but then mocks good advice. I can understand it a little in small children, but not in adults. Yet every day I am confronted with people in trouble seeking advice, but they have predetermined what advice they want to hear. If the advice doesn’t allow them to continue living according to their current choices, then they reject it.

The Bible told us it would be this way.  It warns us that in the last days before the return of Jesus, people would flock by the thousands into churches where they hear soft and sensitive messages that please their itching ears. They would rave about the relationship they can have with Jesus that they have been told by faithless pastors can co-exist with relationship with the world. People in our day are rejecting the truth of the Gospel and the response of love to a loving God that expresses itself in obedience to God’s holy standards. They just want to be stroked and made to feel good about where they are and what they are doing.

Then, to make themselves feel even better about what they think they know, they make fun of those of us who continue to stand on the truth of Scripture. They accuse us of treating them like children. They think that their way of thinking is the mature way. They think that our pursuit of holiness is nothing more than a list of rules rather than a response of love for the One who died for us. They mock the truth and all who stand for it.

Let us not become like them. Let us be very careful to listen when God and God’s people speak. When someone who loves you offers helpful and sometimes life-saving advice to you, listen to them. Otherwise your life might just end in a plane wreck.

Pastor John