Proverbs 28:9, 14 If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law,
even his prayers are detestable.
Blessed is the man who always fears the Lord,
but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble.
These two verses present very contrasting attitudes, and the outcome thereof. The good attitude has become a truism: “Blessed is the man who always fears the Lord.” That is stated many, many times in the Bible. It’s the contrasting attitude that strikes me at the moment. Verse 9 is somewhat shocking, because we know that God is a God who hears prayer. (Psalm 65:2) The thing is, though God “hears” every prayer, because He is aware of absolutely everything that goes on, He receives prayer only from those whose hearts are tender toward Him, who acknowledge His sovereignty and desire to please Him. Verse 14 makes it clear that “turning a deaf ear to the law” is a choice, because it speaks of a person hardening his heart. No one can force you to harden your heart. Circumstances can influence and contribute, but two people can go through the same experience and one become hardened and bitter toward God and the other softened and obedient toward Him. It all comes down to choices, and choices have consequences. We are surrounded by examples of this, and some of them are pretty stark. You cannot force another person’s choice, but you can choose for yourself. If we choose to fear the Lord and listen obediently to what He tells us, then our prayers are received and we are blessed indeed.
I keep being reminded of how extremely blessed I am to have been raised in the family I was, but whereas that made Godly choices easier, it didn’t automate them. I have chosen other-than-God more times than I could count! As I tell others frequently, it’s easy to spot other people’s wrong choices, but that doesn’t guarantee that mine are right. My first choice must always be to fear the Lord and be tender toward Him, drinking in “the pure milk of the Word” (1 Peter 2:2) and putting it into practice. (James 1:22) I wish I could say I was totally there, but I’m grateful to say I’m headed that direction.
Father, You know my choices before I make them, because You see all of time at a glance. I ask for wisdom, courage, and willpower to make the right choices, more and more consistently, so that I may be a pure and useful vessel in Your hands, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!