Listening to God speak is a privilege.
Unfortunately, it is a privilege we often take for granted. When someone is accurately communicating what the Scripture means, we are truly hearing from God, and yet, we often act as if the preaching of the Word of God were a small thing.
Obviously, it’s not.
Jonathan Edwards points out several reasons it is so important we take advantage of the opportunities we have to listen to God’s Word. I think meditating on these reasons will help us be more careful about the way we pay attention when the Word of God is being clearly taught.
1.) It is God’s Word.
“The word of God that is preached to us is an unspeakable treasure. ‘Tis precious because ’tis the Word of God, more precious than gold and all earthly treasures. When God sends us from heaven such treasures, when he gives into our hands a cabinet of precious jewels, what contempt shall we cast upon his kindness, if we take no care to keep it.”
2.) It contains the most important truths in the world.
“There is nothing that tells us of such glorious things as the word of God. These things are above all that could be found out by human reason, more excellent than man can obtain the knowledge of, or communicate by, human learning, more excellent things than either men or angels could reveal to us. They are precious things that God has brought forth out of his own treasures. The Word of God as it were a cabinet of most precious jewels that God has sent down from heaven to men.”
3.) What we read in God’s Word, concerns us, personally.
“The word of God that we hear, don’t treat about things of an indifferent nature, or that are only points of speculation, but about things that do, above all other things, concern our interest; things that are of infinite weight and importance unto us, ten thousand times more nearly and greatly concerning us than if they were what our estates, and our reputation, and our lives, and the temporal lives of all our families, depended upon; more than if they contained the directions for our obtaining the greatest temporal good, or necessary directions for escaping the most terrible temporal calamities.”
4.) God went to great lengths that we might have His Word.
“He has sent to us Prophets one after another, and at last sent his own Son. He has given abundance of revelation of His will in the Holy Scriptures, in various ways and manners. He has appointed an order of men on purpose to preach his word to men, and inculcate the great things of it on their minds. He has given earnest heed in providing suitable means for the good of our souls. And shall we, after all, lose it through our own negligence and carelessness of it? When God has been so earnestly concerned for our good, shall we be careless about our own, and frustrate all the means that he has provided, and is using with us.”
5.) If someone steadfastly refuses to pay attention to God’s Word, it will be worse than if they never heard it.
“The word of God kept and improved, will promote men’s salvation; but the word of God lost, treasures up wrath, and kindles and blows up hellfire.”
6.) It’s very easy for us to lose God’s Word.
“Our minds are very retentive and tenacious of that which is evil, but very apt to lose what is good. Our hearts are prone and bent to evil, and there is an opposition in them against what is good. And besides the depraved dispositions of our own hearts, there are many other things that increase the danger of our losing the word of God. Satan is a watchful adversary, and will labor to his utmost to deprive us of the word that we have heard.”