WARNING: CAUTION! BEWARE!
The following, heavily scripturally-referenced article, requires very serious reader discretion. The biblical truth it contains will be very disturbing and upsetting to the spiritually faint of heart or culturally compromising Christian. It will only make sense to the spiritually mature and faithful in heart who are ultimately willing to take God at His word, and do what He said, no matter what (Lk. 6:46)! Beware. You have been warned …
Hear and Obey.
Question: What one, absolute biblical truth, do all of the following scripture references commonly convey in crystal clear fashion? (All highlighting mine – DED)
1. (1 Sam 8:4-18): Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” So Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day–with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods–so they are doing to you also. Now therefore, heed their voice. However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them.” So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who asked him for a king. And he said… “And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the Lord will not hear you in that day.”
2. (2 Chronicles 7:12-22): Then the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are alled by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place… “But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods, and worship them, then I will uproot them from My land which I have given them; and this house which I have sanctified for My name I will cast out of My sight, and will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples. And as for this house, which is exalted, everyone who passes by it will be astonished and say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land and this house?’ Then they will answer, ‘Because they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and embraced other gods, and worshiped them and served them; therefore He has brought all this calamity on them.’ “
3. (Psalm 66:16-20): Come and hear, all you who fear God, And I will declare what He has done for my soul. I cried to Him with my mouth, And He was extolled with my tongue. If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear. But certainly God has heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, Who has not turned away my prayer, Nor His mercy from me!
4. (Isaiah 1:11-20): “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?” Says the Lord. “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams And the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, Or of lambs or goats. “When you come to appear before Me, Who has required this from your hand, To trample My courts? Bring no more futile sacrifices; Incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies– I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood. “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow. “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land; But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword”; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
5. (Isaiah 59:1-4): Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, And your fingers with iniquity; Your lips have spoken lies, Your tongue has muttered perversity. No one calls for justice, Nor does any plead for truth. They trust in empty words and speak lies…
6. (Jeremiah 7:11-28): Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it,” says the Lord. “But go now to My place which was in Shiloh, where I set My name at the first, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of My people Israel. And now, because you have done all these works,” says the Lord, “and I spoke to you, rising up early and speaking, but you did not hear, and I called you, but you did not answer, therefore I will do to the house which is called by My name, in which you trust, and to this place which I gave to you and your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. And I will cast you out of My sight, as I have cast out all your brethren–the whole posterity of Ephraim. “Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; for I will not hear you. Do you not see what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, that they may provoke Me to anger. Do they provoke Me to anger?” says the Lord. “Do they not provoke themselves, to the shame of their own faces?” Therefore thus says the Lord God: “Behold, My anger and My fury will be poured out on this place–on man and on beast, on the trees of the field and on the fruit of the ground. And it will burn and not be quenched.” Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices and eat meat. For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices. But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’ Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but followed the counsels and the dictates of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward. Since the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt until this day, I have even sent to you all My servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending Yet they did not obey Me or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck. They did worse than their fathers. “Therefore you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not obey you. You shall also call to them, but they will not answer you. “So you shall say to them, ‘This is a nation that does not obey the voice of the Lord their God nor receive correction. Truth has perished and has been cut off from their mouth.
7. (Jeremiah 11:6-14): Then the Lord said to me, “Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, saying: ‘Hear the words of this covenant and do them. For I earnestly exhorted your fathers in the day I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, until this day, rising early and exhorting, saying, “Obey My voice.” Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but everyone followed the dictates of his evil heart; therefore I will bring upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do, but which they have not done.’ ” And the Lord said to me, “A conspiracy has been found among the men of Judah and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They have turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers who refused to hear My words, and they have gone after other gods to serve them; the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken My covenant which I made with their fathers.” Therefore thus says the Lord: “Behold, I will surely bring calamity on them which they will not be able to escape; and though they cry out to Me, I will not listen to them. Then the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem will go and cry out to the gods to whom they offer incense, but they will not save them at all in the time of their trouble. For according to the number of your cities were your gods, O Judah; and according to the number of the streets of Jerusalem you have set up altars to that shameful thing, altars to burn incense to Baal. “So do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer for them; for I will not hear them in the time that they cry out to Me because of their trouble.
8. (Jeremiah 14:11-12): Then the Lord said to me, “Do not pray for this people, for their good.” When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them. But I will consume them by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence.” Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, the prophets say to them, ‘You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place.'” And the Lord said to me, “The prophets prophesy lies in My name. I have not sent them, commanded them, nor spoken to them; they prophesy to you a false vision, divination, a worthless thing, and the deceit of their heart.
9. (Jeremiah 15:1): Then the Lord said to me, “Even if Moses and Samuel stood before Me, My mind would not be favorable toward this people. Cast them out of My sight, and let them go forth.
10. (Ezekiel 8:17-18): And He said to me, “Have you seen this, O son of man? Is it a trivial thing to the house of Judah to commit the abominations which they commit here? For they have filled the land with violence; then they have returned to provoke Me to anger. Indeed they put the branch to their nose. Therefore I also will act in fury. My eye will not spare nor will I have pity; and though they cry in My ears with a loud voice, I will not hear them.“
11. (Micah 3:4): Then they will cry to the Lord, but He will not hear them; He will even hide His face from them at that time, because they have been evil in their deeds.
12. (Zechariah 7:8-13): Then the word of the L ord came to Zechariah, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Execute true justice, Show mercy and compassion everyone to his brother. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, The alien or the poor. Let none of you plan evil in his heart against his brother.’ “But they refused to heed, shrugged their shoulders, and stopped their ears so that they could not hear. Yes, they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the words which the Lord of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Thus great wrath came from the Lord of hosts. Therefore it happened, that just as He proclaimed and they would not hear, so they called out and I would not listen,” says the Lord of hosts.
13. (John 9:31): Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.
14. (Acts 10:34-35): Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.
15. (1 Timothy 2:8-14): I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.
16. (1 Ptr. 3:12): For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.
17. (1 Jn. 5:16-17): If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death.
After even the most cursory or peripheral reading of all of the above scriptures, and keeping in mind that neither God, His Son, or Their eternal instruction ever changes (Mal. 3:6; Heb. 13:8; Psa. 119:89, 160), how can anyone who considers themselves to be any sort of an honest, sincere, and/or even remotely-open-to-the-truth-seeker, not come to the incredibly and unquestionably crystal clear conclusion, that if someone – anyone – continually, willfully, and defiantly chooses not to listen to and submit to God, then God will, in return, be left with no choice in His righteousness, but to not listen to them and their prayers? I know that this is not an easy topic, understanding, or conclusion to accept (but neither is it the first “hard teaching” of Jesus – See: Jn. 6:60-66); but think about it… for whether or not one’s prayers are truly heard by God is a pretty big deal… isn’t it?
This is an especially vital and necessary truth of God to cover and come to understand currently, seeing as how so many once-faithful congregations and their leadership have decided to bow the knee to Baal and culture, ‘bailing’ on God and His eternal truth by claiming some semblance of the sentiment that, “after two years of careful prayer and study” they have come to the conclusion that God is okay with female preachers, teachers, and leaders over men. This, when the fact of the matter is – at least according to all of the above cited verses from God – that their willful decision to wantonly, completely, and continually close their ears to, and cast God’s eternal edicts and commandments regarding women’s roles in His Son’s church behind their backs (1 Cor. 14:33-37; 1 Tim. 2:8-15), undeniably caused God to, in reality, stop listening to their prayers from that point on anyway!!!
And, taking it a step further… let’s say you are at a public function such as a business luncheon, funeral, graduation, or other event, and someone, such as perhaps any local “clergy” or denominational leader…
- who utterly, abjectly, and resolutely rejects and chooses not to hear and obey God’s holy word regarding the process by, and point at which, a lost sinner is saved by grace (such as is seen in Matt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15-16; Acts 2:37-41, 22:16, Ro. 6, Gal. 3:26-27, 1 Ptr. 3:21 and a whole host of other passages);
- who utterly, abjectly and resolutely rejects and chooses not to hear and obey God’s holy word regarding the one, called-out, undivided and pre-denominational, first-century body or church of Christ (Matt. 16:18-19; John 17:20-21; 1 Cor. 1:10, 12:12-28; Eph. 1:22-23, 3:8-12, 4:4; Col. 1:18, 24; etc);
- or, who utterly, abjectly and resolutely rejects and chooses not to hear and obey God’s holy word regarding the one faith, once delivered, for all the saints, prior to the end of the first century as seen evidenced and experienced throughout the entire New Testament from Acts 2 forward (Eph. 4:4-6; Jude 3);
…begins to lead the assembled in a public prayer … is such a person’s prayer heard, welcomed, and accepted by God, based on the word of God as relentlessly referenced above? (And if you think it is, then please go back and re-read all of the above, divinely-inspired scriptures straight from the heart of God – 2 Tim. 3:12-4:4; 2 Ptr. 1:16-2:3.) And if not, then how can any true and sincere, biblical Christian, who is always seeking – although at times badly failing but still humbly trying with all his/her heart – to learn, understand, repent, and to do God’s will on a constant and consistent basis, even consider allowing themselves to be led in prayer, by any such as would choose to make it a point to militantly reject, constantly rebel against, and ultimately cast God’s all-authoritative word behind their backs, while making up, establishing, and defending their own man-made churches, anti-biblical doctrines, and/or self-chosen will-worship practices as they go (Mk. 7:1-13; Rom. 10:1-3; Gal. 1:6-10; Col. 2:23-3:2)?
So, what should we do? The answer is actually quite simple. While we dare not allow ourselves to be led in prayer by those who refuse to listen to God – and are therefore not listened to by God, according to God – our responsibility to them as lost and erring, scripturally-lacking souls is certainly not over.
The first thing we must try to honestly and objectively ascertain (Jn. 7:24), is whether or not they are humble, sincere, and honestly-seeking souls who have simply been misled over the years by man-made false doctrines (Matt. 15:7-9)… or, if they are those who both know and have been well-exposed to and taught the truth, but who just militantly and continually choose to outright reject it (2 Ptr. 2). If they are the latter, then not only does it appear pointless to pray with them, but based on several of the above-referenced scripture verses – and particularly those from the books of Jeremiah and 1st John – it would probably also be pointless to even pray for them. However, if there is even the slightest indication that they might be of the former persuasion (that is to say, honestly God-seeking souls who have simply been misled and taken captive by the persuasive philosophies, deceits, and doctrines and traditions of men – Col. 2:4-8), then we need to do everything in our power, to reach out to them with His power, the gospel (Ro. 1:16)! Speaking of prayers, we must first and foremost pray for them and our efforts to reach them. Secondly, we must seek to set aside the time and effort to share the full, biblical, grace-laden and God-given gospel with them (1 Cor. 15:1-4; Gal. 1:6-10). We must not fear (Matt. 28:18-20). We cannot be thwarted if we stand only, always, and steadfastly on the exclusive and invincible truth of almighty God Himself (2 Cor. 10:3-5; Eph. 6:10-20).
And then comes the line of delineation (Matt. 7:13-27)… If they are sincere seekers who had simply not previously heard or been exposed to the full and God given gospel of salvation straight from the heart and word of God like Cornelius was (Acts 10:1-48), then when they see/hear the truth of God concerning: how and when He said one is saved (John 3:3-5, 16, 36; Acts 2:37-41, 8:26-39, 22:16; 1 Ptr. 3:21); the one, saved, undivided and undenominated church or body of Christ which God adds one to upon their faithful repentance and obedience to the one, first-century faith/gospel (Matt. 16:18-19; Acts 2:37-47; Rom. 1:5, 16:16-26; 1 Thess. 1:7-9; Jude 3); as well as what is – and is not – involved in spirit and truth worship according to God (Jn. 4:23-24); then they will be eager to repent, to obey the gospel, and to be converted to Christ according to the God-given pattern repeated throughout the New Testament book of Acts. We can – and should – be eager to pray with our new brethren in Christ according to God at that point (Acts 2:42). However, if they, at that point, choose to willfully and ongoingly rebel, refuse to listen, and reject humble submission and obedience to His New Testament truth, will, gospel and pattern, then hasn’t God made it quite clear that He will not hear them… or those who would pray with and/or for them…?