“For I earnestly exhorted your fathers in the day I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, until this day, rising early and exhorting, saying, “Obey My voice”’ (Jeremiah 11:7). Throughout the Bible the exhortation for all people is to hear the voice of God and obey it. God spoke many times throughout the Old Testament, but his own people often would not listen. “Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but everyone followed the dictates of his evil heart…” (Jeremiah 11:8). This is the pattern that can be seen over and over in the Old and New Testaments. In spite of the fact that God was caring for his people they often chose to go their own way. For that reason Christians should not be surprised when some brethren fall away from the faith or when congregations go the way of the dictates of their own hearts rather than following the will of God.
The apostle Paul was disappointed and amazed that some of the brethren in Galatia had decided to follow a false gospel. “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another…” (Galatians 1:6-7). Paul was also disappointed with the reality that some of his closest brethren, friends, and coworkers had abandoned the faith do go their own way. Writing to Timothy Paul said; “Be diligent to come to me quickly for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica…” (2 Timothy 4:9-10). The sad reality was that the once faithful and energetic in the faith were now weak in faith and even falling away. They like the Israelites of old had gone the way of the dictates of their own hearts. They that once obeyed the voice of the Lord now did not.
As the Lord God said in the days of Jeremiah and before, “Obey My voice”, those same words are still applicable in our times. “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son…” (Hebrews 1:1-2). Jesus said, “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him, the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on My own authority, but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak” (John 12:48-49). Jesus also said to the apostles “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth, for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak…” (John 16:13-14). The Spirit of truth or the Holy Spirit did come and reveal the complete truth to the apostles. Paul wrote, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
The church has had the complete word of God, the New Testament, since the first century and so all that is left is to obey the voice of the Lord. As the church we must follow the teachings set forth in the New Testament in heart, word, and action so that the world may know the truth also. Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Let us obey the voice of the Lord and not do as the people of old and even in our own times, follow the dictates of our hearts.
by Wayne Brewer