Do you like it when people do good things? Do you like to do good things for people? In some ways, Torah is that simple.
We can be favored by God. This is the opposite of many ill-advised instructions to “stop trying to please God.” It’s not futile. You CAN please God, and you should please God.
Inclining our ears
I have really thought about the Biblical concept of inclining the ears. We are told to incline our ears toward God.
Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, and your soul shall live: and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.Isaiah 55:3
I see this as a way to tune our ears into the voice of the Master. His sheep know His voice but people are not always like sheep and we can purposely tune out our Master’s words.
So it takes an act of will. A tilt in the right direction of sorts.
He intends for us to obey.
When we do so, His purpose can be fulfilled. His purpose of blessings follows willful obedience. It’s as natural as rain and sunshine.
so shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing I sent it to do.Isaiah 55:11
He doesn’t always hear our prayer.
Why do we say that God always answers prayer? To be honest, we have to hear the Word of God about that.
And when you spread forth your hands, I will hide my eyes from you: yes, when you make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.Isaiah 1:15 – Cepher
Walking in lawless disobedience brings crickets… Literally in the case of a plague, and figuratively when we try to pray and hear from God.
The Word goes further in that same chapter to give the basic outline for favor with God.
From bookend to bookend, from open to close, disobedience brings consequences. And when we disobey, yes, we should feel some remorse. We should even weep, if we have hurt people with our strong-neck lawlessness.
The good news is always Good.
We can be forgiven and atoned for. We can be blessed. We can please our Heavenly Father. If for no other reason, an argument for keeping biblical Torah is out of sheer thankfulness for what He did for us in providing the sacrifice of His son in our place. But He gives more. He gives riches and honor to His beloved.
If, as many songs claim, we cannot “win” His favor, then we can’t “win” His disfavor by disobedience. While it sounds re-assuring in a song… Maybe reassurance is not what we need. Maybe we need Holy Spirit conviction when we sin. Maybe we need our own conscience to be tuned to the Torah (instructions) of our King.
Like David, we have trouble. Sometimes it is from outside, like an earthly king throwing a spear at his face. Sometimes it is from within, like the agony from knowing he committed hurtful sins, and people died.
When we incline our ear to God’s will, to His Torah for our lives, He inclines His ear to us. He hears us in our time of trial. He overturns even earthly decrees against us.
Draw near to your King. Yes, He loves you more than you know. He wants the very best for you. Do not forget that. But seek to walk in obedience. The blessings are worth more than any earthly coin by more than a bit.
Father, I love you and I know you love me. Help me to hear your voice through the noise. Help me to hunger for the bread of life and the living water that lasts forever. Forgive me, I ask, for straying from your path. Thank you for welcoming me back when I have come home. Let my obedience with you be about me and you and not a part of a public display of piety. Keep me. Do not let the evil overtake me. Halleluyah. Bless your name. Amen.