Warning About Refusing to Hear God

Title: Warning About Refusing to Hear God

Bible Book: Hebrews 12 : 25-29

Author: Jerry N. Watts

Subject: Listening to God; Hearing from God



As a parent, what did you do if or maybe when your children simply refused to listen to you. I dare say, right or wrong, that the majority of us had a progression of severity we went through to bring our child into line. Now, before being assaulted about this thing of “bringing a child into line,” it would serve us well to admit a couple of truths. First, children generally do not know what is best for them. The result is that they can put themselves into danger and are not be aware of it. Next, the reason we desire to “bring our children into line” is not because we are God’s gift to children; I say that knowing that parents ARE God’s gift to children and children are a gift to their parents. However, the tasks of all parents are multi-dimensional. But one thing is sure, to do their job as parents requires that the children listen and hear.

When our children do not hear, we have our own personal progression of discipline which we go through until they do hear. Perhaps you say, “Johnny, come here” and Johnny responds, then the case is closed. But what happens if Johnny doesn’t even act as you requested? Do you next speak more sternly, more forcibly, more loudly, and maybe you end up shouting, “Johnny, I SAID come here!” Candidly, we expect and even need our children to respond to our voice, if for no other reason than that of safety.

It could be that you simply desired to give little Johnny a hug, a kiss, or take him and buy him an “ice-cream cone.” However, it could also be that you saw he was about to step in an ant bed, on a piece glass, or even a poisonous snake. The options are endless, but one constant remains in all these scenarios; if little Johnny had listen to you the first time, he would have the benefits of the one who love him. Whether that benefit is protection from something (I.E ants, glass, or snake) or the provision of something (I.E. hug, kiss, or ice-cream).

By the way, for the parent (or grandparent), our hearts hurt when our little ones refuse to listen. In fact, with little Piper—I feel like I’ve failed her.

We have taken an unusual long look at this relationship to get our minds to thinking about this thing of hearing, listening, and responding. I submit that while we are almost devastated when our little ones become stubborn and hard-headed that it is in this same way Jehovah God feels when we refuse to listen to Him.

For instance, He calls our name and we just sit there—what do you imagine He’s thinking? Did they hear me? Are they hiding in the bushes like Adam and Eve? Or how about this; “Don’t they love me?”

I contend that one of the reasons we listen so little to the call of God is because we all know that God is love and He won’t do anything to us.

Having already read our text, allow me to lift 4 types of warning which the Bible gives to God’s born again children about refusing to hear Him.

I. A Pointed Warning

To illustrate this type of warning, let me return to our parent illustration. Whne we give our kids (or grandkids) a pointed warning, it is usually something like this, “If you do that again?” or “You do that again and….” It is a very specific warning about a very specific outcome if you don’t listen.

In verse 25 God Word reads, “If they did not escape when they rejected Him who warned them on earth, even less will we if we turn away from Him who warns from Heaven.”

In the context of this verse it seems to me that we are issued two warnings surrounding, “Him who warned on earth.” The writer is comparing the Old and New Covenants so we begin by being reminded that an illustration of this “him” is Moses. If we pick up our reading in verse 14 and read to verse 24 we know that the Hebrew Nation of the Exodus is center stage. They didn’t listen to the “him” on earth (Moses) and thus they were sentenced to 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. For the adults, this was a sentence of death. So they didn’t hear the warning of Moses on earth and suffered the consequences, but they also refused to hear and follow Jehovah God in Heaven.

Also, I find a parallel of Jesus being the, “Him on earth.” Jesus came preaching the Kingdom of God. For Him, bringing the Gospel of light and life to all so that they could repent and be a part of the Kingdom was so paramount that ultimately, He died for this cause. He left heaven, came to earth, and offered warning after warning which even to this day has largely gone unheeded. Additionally, God in heaven stepped out of eternity into time simply to affirm the words of Jesus when He said, “This is my beloved Son, listen to Him.”

This brings us to the place of being reminded of this pointed warning; if they didn’t escape, neither will you. It is very pointed.

II. A Powerful Warning

Allow me to be transparent with you, I have not read ONE commentator who speaks to the concept of Him on earth being Jesus of Nazareth and Him in Heaven being God the Father. However, it is verse 26 which convinces me of this picture. It says, “His voice shook the earth at that time, but now He has promised ‘Once more I will shake not only the earth but also heaven” which is a quote from Haggai 2:6 and is not spoken by God the Son, but God the Father. While we don’t understand all the working of the trinity, we know that there is one God who is manifested in 3 distinct persons. It appears that by His voluntary sovereignty each of these personages have specific functions to complete God’s divine work. The Spirit is our comforter, conscious, and companion; The Son is our Messiah, our deliverer, our Savior, and Friend; The Father is the Sovereign one who judges and rules from the Throne.

When I read verses 26 my mind gravitates to the Bible & the words of God.

In Exodus 3 when Moses first heard the voice of God, what was it like?

In Deuteronomy 5 after the deliverance of the 10 Commandments are restated we are told that the “Lord spoke the command in a loud voice to the entire assembly from the fire, cloud, and thick darkness on the mountain.” Can you paint a picture in your mind of this event?

Or how about the words of Job (37), “My heart pounds at this and leaps in my chest. Just listen to His thunderous voice and the rumbling that comes from His mouth.” Can you hear what Job is describing?

Ezekiel 10 says that when the temple was filled with God’s glory, the sound of the “Cherubim’s wings could be heard as far as the outer court; it was like the voice of God almighty when He speaks.”

While we could spend much time painting a Biblical picture of God’s voice, let’s think about the Revelation, where all those who are left hear the mighty voice from the throne. It is the voice which shakes the world. And He is not through shaking. We can listen to Him and miss judgment or we can refuse to hear and face the consequences.

Never forget that the power or strength of a warning is measured by who it is which gives the warning. With our Homeland Security alert system, we know that the US government is behind it, so we should take it seriously. In our scripture today, Jehovah God is the power behind it, we should hear.

III. A Practical Warning

For the last part of this message I would like to make this so practical and personal that we will be squirming. In this one we are given a contrast. To do this, look at verses 27-30 with me (read). By listening, hearing, & responding to God, think about 3 things with me:

A. Think about what you are Missing

Let’s join two parts of this passage to properly illustrate this. “God is a consuming fire and He will remove that which can be shaken.” Let me suggest that a valid interpretation of this text is that God will remove those who are a part of the Kingdom below, the shakable Kingdom. Ultimately, God will remove and punish those who have refused to hear His call of salvation. When we hear, listen, and adhere to His voice, we miss the judgment of the lost. According to Peter, God desires that no one perishes, but for the one who refuses to hear, perishing is what waits. Once I heard a message about the “location of hell.” While my thinking was only geographical in nature, the preacher had a deeper truth to convey. The location of hell is simply at the end of a life that rejects Jesus and refuses to hear God’s voice.

But what about the believer (if there could be one) who refuses to hear God’s voice. First, misery will come. Next, discipline will follow. And if that believer continues to refuse to hear and listen to the voice of God, premature physical death may come. When we listen, we miss hurts.

B. Think about what you are Getting

This is the contrast. The writer is reminding his writer of why we should not refuse to hear God’s voice. After all, as believers we are receiving the Kingdom of God. This is a Kingdom which cannot be shaken, overthrown, or defeated. Listen to God’s voice and live in grace. Through Jesus, God has promised us the “moon” and thus far, God has delivered on every promise He has given. He has given us grace so we can share His grace with others. Instead of refusing to hear God’s voice, listen to Him and He will teach you how to share this grace. We do it by letting our words be ‘seasoned’ with grace. We do it by giving a cup of water in Jesus’ name. We do it by meeting the needs of people in various ways; building ramps, fences, cutting grass, providing snacks, volunteering time, and yes, by sharing the good news of Jesus. When we think about what WE are getting, we tend to listen.

C. Think about who you are Serving

This might be better stated, “Don’t forget who you are serving.” I suggest that sometimes we forget who our master really is. We respond to our employer, government, or mate, as we should respond to God. When we listen for and thus, to the voice of God, then we can serve Him in an acceptable way which is described by reverence and awe. How do we serve God in an acceptable way? What does this mean? Well this word for reverence (deous) only appears in this passage and mean “godly fear.” The word for AWE means “caution, fear, and discretion.” Give this some thought and compare to our concept of serving God. For you see, the idea of acceptable service is of “Well done.” He is saying to take seriously your service to God.

IV. A Personal Warning

When something is personal, it is for me. I have personal responsibility for it. People have said, “Preacher, if they’d been here, you’d a got’em.” My response is always the same, they were here and God nailed them. Look one last time into verse 25. “See that YOU do not reject the one who speaks.” When I read this, I am reminded that the gist is to “be careful, watchful, or cautious” that you are not the one rejecting His voice. It is obvious that this is a “believer-to-believer” admonition. Are you listening to the call of God? If so, when is the last time you heard His voice? He’s still speaking, but the question is; are we still listening?

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