I will listen to what God the LORD will say:

He promises peace to his people, his saints –

but let them not return to folly.

Psalm 85:8

“Come near me and listen to this…”

This is what the LORD says – your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:

“I am the LORD your God,

who teaches you what is best for you,

who directs you in the way you should go.

If only you had paid attention to my commands,

your peace would have been like a river,

your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

Isaiah 48:16-18

Have you ever said or, at least, wanted to tell someone – maybe even someone you deeply love – something like this? If only you would just listen to me! If you listen now, you will have so much more peace in the days ahead! If you listen now, you will save yourself from creating unwanted and unhealthy complications in your circumstances and in your relationships!

But sadly, and maybe not unexpectedly, they did not listen. And, then, the truth of their choices breaks your heart for them as you see their broken lives. The words that were not listened to keep rolling around in your head. If only you had listened, you would have known so much more peace. You wouldn’t be going through the pain…the problems…the embarrassment…the loss of reputation…the loss of relationships…the loss of hope…the shame…the crisis. If you had just listened, you wouldn’t be experiencing all the trouble that you cannot escape now!

Our God calls out to us continually through His Word and His Spirit, speaking intimately to our innermost being. Our God calls to us, from the depths of His love for us, to just listen to Him. Calling us to listen to His peace-bringing, life-protecting words and commands. Our God calls us to listen. And obey. And live in His peace.

Oh! There have been so many times, far too many times, that I’ve chosen, stubbornly and selfishly, ridiculously and rebelliously, to absolutely ignore God’s passionate plea for me to just listen to Him. To not choose to go my own way. To not go away from God’s way. To stop now. To turn around now. To come back to God now. Come back to His truth, His ways and His peace. Oh! Things could have been so different, for me and for others, if only I had listened.

There are enough hard things that will come at us in life, hard things that will disrupt our peace. Some of these will come to us by no fault of our own. Yet! Some hard things that come at us in life, some hard things that disrupt our peace, come at us because of our own sinful, foolish choices. How wise we would be if we would choose to listen to our God more attentively, more quickly, more fully! How much more peace and righteousness would mark our lives if we would choose to listen to and obey God’s Word and God’s Spirit!

May we hold onto God’s Word and ways, and hold onto each other in sincere and accountable love, so that we will listen to our God and be filled and flowing with His promised peace!

In love, peace and purposeful passion,