A Shepherd's Heart

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Have you listened to God lately?
by GBC Ministry


The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise. He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding. The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility. (Proverbs 15:31-33)
Have you ever had something in your life turn out very differently than you had expected in a bad sense and found yourself asking “Why?” According to this passage from Proverbs, that’s wise. Unfortunately, when most of us ask “Why?” in such circumstances it is a rhetorical rather than a sincere question, more of a not-so-veiled complaint or unconscious challenge of God’s goodness than an honest attempt to gain a profitable understanding of the disappointment. But the Bible tells us that such a disappointment is a “reproof of life,” a message from God that is intended to give us understanding, to make us wise and, hence, to bring us blessing…if we’ll listen.
Every disappointment in life contains invaluable instruction. The person who is truly wise will listen carefully to this wise teacher. If he will listen, the believer who is spiritually alert will hear more than just the crash of fallen hopes at such a time; he will hear the voice of God.
The believer hears the voice of the Lord in His Word. As he brings the affairs of his life under its light, not only does he grow in both temporal and spiritual wisdom, but he himself is changed. As his understanding of life and its challenges increases, so also does his faith, his confidence in God. As he places himself under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit, he sees more and more clearly the wisdom, grace and love of his benevolent and sovereign heavenly Father who “only doeth wondrous things” (Psalm 72:18).
He sees His wisdom as he realizes that the Lord has more than his temporal comfort in view as He lords his life. He sees that it is his eternal good that moves God, and that His purpose is not to discourage him, but to bless him by perfecting his faith and conforming him to the glorious image of His own Son in preparation for their eternal fellowship together (John 14:1-3; Romans 8:28-29; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 John 3:1-2).
He sees His grace as he realizes that each trial is fitted to his own, very specific, spiritual needs, that he is never tested beyond what he can bear, and that with every trial of his faith, no matter how great, God always provides a way to escape the trial and experience increasing blessing and peace.
And he sees His love as he realizes that he is never alone in his trial, that the Lord never leaves him, never forsakes him. In fact, it becomes increasingly and wondrously clear that it is in the trials of life that his relationship with his Savior truly blossoms, becomes more intimate and sweet.
Finally, the believer who listens to his Lord’s voice realizes that as he is changed, so is his life. The passage before us states this truth very simply: “before honour is humility.” Trials are intended to remove from the believer that which separates Him from the Lord and His blessing, specifically, pride: the sinful sense of self-sufficiency. As soon as this work is complete and the believer is humbled and dependent wholly on God’s sufficiency and wisdom once again, blessing immediately follows. For just as it is true that our sins separate us from God and, without fail, secure for us disappointment and loss, it is just as true that sincere humility and faith in God’s way and purpose for our life will, without fail, bring us blessing and peace.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory:
no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.
Psalm 84:11-12


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