DISTRACTIONS ON THE ROAD OF LIFE
Listening to God's Voice in a Noisy World
By Adauto Rezende
While on my missionary trip to Pakistan, I witnessed the bustling city of Lahore where hundreds of vehicles, from cars and trucks to rickshaws, bicycles, motorcycles, and even donkeys, shared the roads and freeways. The chaotic traffic was accompanied by the constant noise of motors and horns.
One morning on our way to church, we encountered a situation where brother Arif, our driver, attempted to overtake a motorcycle ahead of us. Despite repeatedly honking the horn, the two individuals on the motorcycle did not allow us to pass. This went on for a few minutes until we were finally able to move to another lane and overtake the motorcycle. I was left wondering why they did not make way for us or switch lanes.
Upon closer observation, I noticed that the motorcycle driver had headphones on, completely blocking out any external sound. It became clear that the driver was completely oblivious to our honking and any other sounds around him, as his radio was turned up too loud.
When I arrived at the church to deliver my sermon, I recounted the incident and urged the congregation to not be like the two motorcycle riders. I encouraged them to listen to the "horn of God" as they navigate the dangerous roads of life. The message resonated with them, and they responded with great enthusiasm.
During the teachings, their attentiveness and receptivity to my words were evident, and after each meeting, many approached me to pray for their needs and to accept Christ as their personal Savior and Lord. It was encouraging to see that they had taken the message to heart and were not imitating the recklessness of the motorcycle riders.
God is warning humankind
The Scriptures have consistently warned humanity of the consequences of disobedience since the fall of Adam and Eve. Throughout history, God has used individuals to be the "horn of God" to their generation, calling them to repentance and obedience. Unfortunately, more often than not, these warnings went unheeded.
For instance, Noah was called to be the "horn of God" to his generation, but only Noah and his family heeded the warning and were saved from the flood. Lot, Abraham's nephew, was the "horn of God" in Sodom and Gomorrah, but only he and his two daughters were saved from the destruction. Moses was a "horn of God" to Pharaoh and the Egyptians, yet they did not listen to him. Similarly, Elijah, Jeremiah, Isaiah, and many other prophets were "horns of God" to Israel, but they were ignored, resulting in their captivity.
Despite the consistent warnings from God, humanity has repeatedly fallen short, failing to heed the "horn of God" in their midst. Nonetheless, these historical accounts serve as a reminder that God's call to obedience remains steadfast, and the consequences of disobedience are serious.
God came to earth in the person of Jesus and warned multitudes, and yet very few had listened to Him.
“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the]worlds;” Hebrew 1: 1-2
“Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” John 6: 60-68
And the Lord also made a call to people everywhere: “Then Jesus said, He who has ears to hear, let him hear." Mark 4: 9
In our days the Holy Spirit is the “horn of God” to the church and to humanity.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will grant the right to eat from the tree of life in the paradise of God.” He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be harmed by the second death.” “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” “He who has an ear, let him hear.” Revelation 2: 07-11, 3: 6-9-13
Sometime in the future two witnesses of God will be speaking to humanity for 3 ½ years and again people will not listen to them:
“And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” They are “the two olive trees” and the two lampstands, and “they stand before the Lord of the earth.” If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. They have power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want. Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city—which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt—where also their Lord was crucified. For three and a half days some from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth” Rev. 11: 3-10
God has spoken in the past, is speaking now and will continue to speak in the future in a clear and loud voice. However, the question remains: Are you listening to his voice? Are you listening to his warnings? Or are you too preoccupied with the distractions of this world that you are unable to hear His counsel? Are you so attached to worldly passions and desires that there is no room left for God's Word in your life?
Are your eardrums loaded with all types of sounds, preventing you from hearing the messages of His prophets? As you travel on the road of life, you are driving on a dangerous and busy freeway where sin can easily destroy you. Satan uses noise and distractions to divert your attention from God's purpose for your life. But Jesus came to offer you eternal life. He died on the cross and rose again to pay for your sins. There is no other way to salvation except through Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life. Therefore, it is crucial to remove anything that may distract you from listening to the Lord's warning and obeying His voice. Jesus Himself declared that His sheep hear His voice and follow Him:
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. …But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.” John 10: 2—6; 25-28
To Jesus all the glory!