Paying Attention

                “But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and stopped up their ears.  They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty has sent by His Spirit through the earlier prophets.  So the Lord Almighty was very angry.  “When I called they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,” says the Lord Almighty.  “I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations, where they were strangers.  The land was left so desolate behind them that no one could come or go.  This is how they made the pleasant land desolate.””

                                                                                                                                                                Zechariah 7:11-14

                The Scriptures are full of statements like the one found here in Zechariah seven regarding the inspiration of the Word of God.  Here, as Zechariah is bringing to the people of Israel an answer to the question of the delegation from Bethel regarding whether it was necessary to continue the fasts and the mourning which have characterized their walk with God for the past seventy odd years now that conditions are starting to get better for God’s people, God cuts to the heart of the question.  Have they ever really paid attention to God’s Word?  Here we are given a functional definition of the doctrine of the Word of God.  It was given in the law and the prophets as the Word of the Lord Almighty by His Spirit.  Surely this doctrine is behind the teaching of the Apostle Peter in 2 Peter 1:19-21.

                “And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.  Above all, you must understand that no prophesy of Scripture came about by the Prophets own interpretation.  For prophesy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

                These texts anchor our view that the Scriptures indeed are the inspired, inerrant Word of the Living God.  He has spoken them into being by communicating through Prophets and Apostles so that what is recorded for us in the Bible is indeed God’s Word.  Zechariah and Peter both agree that the Scriptures are the work of the Holy Spirit.

                There is something more here however.  So often we stop with the conviction that the Bible is God’s Word.  We take the doctrine no further than that.  Both Zechariah and Peter go further.  They look at the issue of our response to God’s inspired Word.  Zechariah writes, “But they refused to pay attention.”  Peter writes, “And you will do well to pay attention to it.”  When you pay attention to something you observe, or listen to it with the intention of responding to it.  In the case of the Word of God you pay attention to it so that you can obey it.  Our doctrine of the inspiration of the Scriptures must lead to our obedient listening to the instruction they give us.  If we as an employee of a company listen to our boss with the intention of following their instruction we will find ourselves listening carefully, without distractions, perhaps even taking down notes, so that we can make sure that we follow the instructions completely.  We would not be of much good as an employee if we did not. 

                How often do we find ourselves listening to the Word of God in a distracted way?  We are often content to simply get through the reading for the day.  We are not reading with a desire to completely obey our God. 

                What does Zechariah tell us is the consequence of such inattention?  It is that our prayers are not listened to by God.  Because we refused His call to repentance, He will refuse to hear when we call for help.  Could this be the reason why we experience so little of the Glory of God in these days?  We are called to be a people who have a deep love for the God we put our faith in.  This God has redeemed us in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  He calls us to an active, vibrant, obedient faith that pays attention to the Word of God.  Nothing is more important than that we pay attention to His call today.