“I Can’t Hear You” were the words bellowed from my drill instructor as he found yet another flaw in my performance. While on “Worm Island” (Navy Boot Camp, San Diego, California), I realized quickly that the purpose for the high-volume, less-than-complementary comments, the gyrating trash cans that ricocheted between the bunks of sleeping sailors, and the personal, nose-to-nose revelations of one’s origins were all intended to pound into every fresh recruit a vital military necessity: listening and obeying. The force of the message carried with it a singular, motivational tone and pushups at midnight on the tarmac for not following orders quickly took the luster out of Navy recruiting posters.
God’s revelation is no less loud and clear, without all the put-downs and belittling. In His divine way, He has given Spirit-guided information that directs us through life and into Heaven. The key element in our experiencing eternal bliss has to do with our hearing what He said and obeying what we hear. Isaiah dealt with this ear, eye, and heart problem (Isaiah 6:9-10) and, apparently, things had not improved by Jesus’ day (Matthew 13:15). Finally, the book of Acts ends with little resolved in this regard as Paul, “preaching the kingdom of God” while under house arrest in Rome (Acts 28:31), summed up his condemnation of a rebellious audience with: “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers…” (v. 26). They just wouldn’t hear and obey.
You would think, with cell phones, e-mail, and instant messaging, that people would have shown a little improvement. Evidently not. In a world that boasts in its ability to communicate around the globe in seconds, deaf ears and rebellious hearts are still the leading causes of condemnation. So, listen up, follow Christ, and go to Heaven.