It pays to listen

Have you ever known a person who is just a “Mr. or Ms. Know it All?”
Have you ever known a person who you have tried to steer in the right direction, yet they refused to listen to what you had to say?
For instance, if you were to tell them it is raining outside, they will proceed to go outside, only to come back and say “it’s raining, so I better get my umbrella.”
The truth is, none of us know it all and if we are willing to listen, we can still be taught a thing or two.
James, the brother of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, said it best in James 1:19 that we should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to wrath. In other words, James is suggesting that we should need to spend more time with our mouths closed and with our ears open.
While refusing to listen to people can produce serious and temporary consequences, refusing to listen to God can produce even greater and eternal consequences.
The writer of Psalm 81, lets us know in verses 11 through 16 that it pays to open your ears and listen to what God has to say.
In that particular Psalm, God is speaking through Asaph about the importance of listening to Him and not following our own impulses and inclinations.
God lets the people know in verse 14 that if they would listen to Him that He would protect them by subduing their enemies.
The word subdue means to take down or to contain.
In other words, God is saying that if we listen to Him, He will fix our enemies in such a way where they won’t be able to do anything or go any where.
The best way to handle our enemies is not with weapons, or fighting fire with fire. The best way to handle our enemies is to listen to the Lord so that He will handle them for us.
God also says that if we listen to Him, then we will experience His peace.
In verse 15, the New International Version records The Lord as saying "those who hate The Lord would cringe before Him, and their punishment would last forever.”
The Lord reiterates His promise of taking care of our enemies.
As a consequence of the Lord handling our enemies and fighting our battles, then we will experience the Lord’s peace.
And basically what The Lord is saying in those verses, is that if you just learn how to obey me, I'll take care of your enemies.
There are some people who may be plotting revenge against an enemy now.
When you look at this Psalm, God is saying that we can experience peace of mind if we listen to Him and allow Him to handle our enemies.
When we realize that "vengeance is mine saith The Lord, I will repay,” then we can have peace.
When we remember "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you,” then we will experience peace.
The Lord’s peace is an ever lasting peace that will cover us and give us the confidence we need when challenges come our way.
Finally, the Lord promises that if we listen to Him that He will provide for us.
In verse 16, the Lord says that if we would listen; not only will He subdue our enemies and give you peace, but He goes on to say that He will feed you with the finest wheat. I will satisfy you with honey from the rock.
The Lord promised to provide the best for His people because they chose to listen and obey Him.
I was taught at an early age, and I have experienced it for myself first-hand, that if you listen to The Lord and do what He tells you to do, then He will reward you for your faithfulness.
I shared with the congregation three weeks ago that it you can’t live any kind of way and expect The Lord to bless you. We must learn to be obedient to the Lord and follow His instructions.
Are you at a point where nothing seems to be going right?
Are the pieces to the puzzle not fitting?
Are you trying to force something in a place where it doesn’t belong.
Why don’t you try listening to the Lord. He won’t mislead you!

Jamal Brown is the managing editor of the Siftings Herald and the Gurdon Times. He is also the pastor of the Mount Olive Baptist Church of Camden.