It is a fact that our entire life hinges on or is shaped by what we listen to or obey. There are many times when each of us has gotten to a crossroads in terms of direction in our living. At such times, we have consulted family, friends, pastors and etc. We might also listen to some other spiritual voices or people of the dark side for many other issues e.g seeking prosperity in our business which may result in satanic or murderous rituals. A good example is the Murehwa incident in which a child was recently murdered and decapitated in pursuit of wealth. There are a variety of other assumed necessities in life, like the desire for promotion at work, or when we want our fields to do better than others, wanting our kids to excel at school etc, for which we may seek to consult others.
sundayword: BY PROSPER TINGINI
How many of us would first consult and listen to what God tells us to do before seeking and listening to the voices of man?
The book Genesis and many others that follow have many incidents in which the Lord spoke to give directions for creation, through angels and via man to man. His words or “voice” is above that of any other being. Not obeying his directives may have grave consequences for mankind. Genesis 19 carries one story of God and His two angels interacting with Lot, and of the wife. The storyline centres on the destruction of the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomor’rah after the Lord was mortified by the sins of the inhabitants. At the instigation of his relative Abraham, the Lord sent two angels to rescue Lot and his family from the impending destruction. Initially they directed Lot (Genesis 19:12-14), “Take your sons-in-law, sons, daughters and all your relatives in the city, bring them out of the place; for we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord; and the Lord has sent us to destroy it”. So Lot went out and said to his sons in-law, who where to marry his daughters, “Up, get out of this place; for the Lord is about to destroy the city”. But his sons-in-law and others did not take him seriously.
As a result of not listening to the Lord, all who did not obey were subsequently consumed by the fires.
At first Lot himself had also hesitated on following God’s instructions and had initially also stayed put. When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city”. He still lingered; so the angels forcibly seized Lot and his wife and his two daughters (for the sake of answering Abraham’s plea), the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him forth and set him outside the city. And when they had brought them forth out of the city, the Lord’s voice said, “Flee for your life; do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley; flee to the hills and, lest you be consumed” (Genesis 19:15-17).
Regrettably, Lot’s wife failed to heed God’s words. Curiosity got the better of her. The voice of man in her head told her to look back so she could witness and see for herself the flames consuming the fallen cities. Alas, curiosity killed the cat. Genesis 19:26 reads, “But Lot’s wife behind him looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.” Listening to herself and not to the Lord our God became the end for her. She perished through a transformation into a symbol of sourness and bitterness, salt. When we get to a crossroads we sometimes fail, get lost or perish just because we did not listen to some divine words of guidance. The voices, minds and some advice of man can lead us astray. God protects, keeps His words and is the light for us to follow. He is trustworthy. Do not be a victim of not listening to the Lord our God.
In Acts, there is a story that culminated in the declaration by the apostolic saint, Peter, to the effect that we should obey God rather than man. Acts 5:12-29 reads: Now many signs and wonders were done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were altogether in Solomon’s Portico. None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in honour. And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women, so that they even carried out the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and pallets, so that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.
But the high priest rose up and all who were with him, that is, the party of the Sad’ducees, and filled with jealousy they arrested the apostles and put them in the common prison. But at night and angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out and said, “God has directed me to tell you that you should go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life”. And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and taught. Now the high priest came and those who were with him and called together the council and all the senate of Israel, and sent prison officers to the prison to have them brought. But when the officers came, they did not find them in the prison, and they returned and reported; “We found the prison securely locked and the sentries standing at the doors, but when we opened it we found no one inside.” Now when the captain of the guard and the chief priests heard these words, they were much perplexed about them, wondering what this meant. And someone came and told them, “The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people”. Then the captain with the officers went and brought them, but without violence, for they were afraid of being stoned by people. And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name (Jesus), yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us”.
But Peter and the Apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” The God of our fathers raised Jesus whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as leader and Saviour, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him”.
Remember: listening can also include certain platforms like institutional education, television, newspapers, books, and social media and etc. Amen.
l Prosper Tingini is the Scribe of the Children of God Missionary Assembly — God’s messengers. Contact details: 0771 260 195. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org