The Blessings of Listening Well
2 Chronicles 18:1-27
October 29-30, 2022
This message is about the wisdom of listening well to the words of life that God speaks because there's a difference between listening and listening well. See, God sends His Word with a purpose to accomplish that for which He sent it, which is to do that which is good and glorious in your life, to build the foundation on which you can build your life. The Word of God that He sends forth is not always an easy Word.
That's where some people struggle. Many people, they only want the easy thing. Here's the thing. The easy is not always the best. In fact, for those who insist on everything being easy are going to find that it actually brings more difficulties. That's the paradox. If you insist, oh, I only do the easy things of life, then it will bring great troubles and trials and difficulties.
Those who are willing to hear the words of life, even the difficult words, will find that God is drawing you into the way of greatest blessing. That you will find that God is trying to spare you from great troubles and to bring to you great blessings. Now, that brings us to our story. Our story begins in the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Israel is divided now, 10 tribes in the north, two in the south. Jehoshaphat became king now after his Father Asa was laid to rest in the city of David.
It tells us-- this is all backstory. Tells us that the Lord was with Jehoshaphat because he followed the example of his father, David. He sought the God of his father, took hold of the Word of God, and did not act like Israel did in the north. That is a tremendous comparison about the spiritual condition of things in the north to the south. Oh, were things spiritually dark in the north, but in here Jehoshaphat he's taken hold of the Word of God.
God's going to bless him and that of course is a tremendous spiritual principle at work. We were looking at this last week. The spiritual principle is true. Whether it be a nation or a people or a person. Those who take hold of the things of God will find their lives strengthened and blessed. Notice, for example, Psalm 1:2-3, where it says, "How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, but his delight is in the law of the Lord." The Word of God.
Notice the result in his life. "He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water." See, that refreshing resource of life, he's firmly planted by that so that it yields its fruit in its season, and in whatever he does, he prospers." There's a great spiritual principle at work. Jehoshaphat, he pursued the ways of God in his life, therefore, God strengthened the kingdom in his control and Jehoshaphat was blessed of God.
Now, Jehoshaphat even did something that I have not read anywhere else in the Bible. You find it, let me know. He did something very interesting and unusual. What a great idea. He took officials and his kingdom combined them with Levites, these are the priests, and he set them traveling throughout all of the cities of Judah taking with them the book of the law of the Lord-- the Word of God-- and teaching the people from the book. He did this city by city by city. What a great idea is this. Biblical conferences, teaching the people the Word of God, what a great idea. Jehoshaphat grew greater and greater and was blessed with riches and honor.
That's our backstory. That brings us to chapter 18. Jehoshaphat was doing so well. That's the backstory. He decided to build an alliance with the king of Israel in the north. Problem is, the king of Israel in the north was none other than Ahab. Maybe you heard of Ahab. In the Northern Kingdom, it started out bad, and then it went to badder, and then it went to worse, and then it went to worser, and then it went to worsiest, and then you get to Ahab. That's how bad it was. There was nothing good about Ahab. He was the worst of the worst of the kings in the north.
It tells us not only did he build altars Baal and Ashtoreth, he went and served and worshiped them. As if that were a trivial thing, he went and married that wicked woman, Jezebel. Even today, her name is recognized as the very epitome of evil. I used to think no one would actually name their daughters, Jezebel and then I looked it up. Some people do. Some people actually name their daughters, Jezebel.
However, on the list of popular names, Jezebel rings 3843rd, and the percentage of people who name their daughters Jezebel, the percentage is something like 0.000666% or something like that. Now, we can assume that Jehoshaphat's intention in building this marriage alliance, his intention was in the right place. After all, Israel in the north, they're our brothers, why not build an alliance? Answer, because God did not want to build an alliance. God didn't ask him to do that. God wanted to bring hard troubles on them because they had turned their back. They had forsaken God and they went after the Baals and Ashtoreth and all of that was in the world.
Jehoshaphat never asked God. As we are going to see in the story, it's going to get him into the thick of great trouble. Only with the help of God does he get out of that trouble. Oh, there will be more trouble still to come later on because his son-- this was the marriage alliance. His son married the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. Can you imagine having Jezebel as your mother-in-law?
This has been done. The marriage alliance has already been done. In other words, the seeds of trouble have already been sown and it will not end well. To quote from that famous prophet, Hosea, "They have sown to the wind and they shall reap the whirlwind." In other words, if you sow something worthless and foolish, it will result in a veritable storm of consequence. There are great spiritual lessons from this story and they have to do with listening well to the good words of God, of taking hold of them, even if the word is a difficult word. Let's read it.
We're in second Chronicles 18. I gave you the backstory. Now we begin in verse one. Now, Jehoshaphat had great riches and honor, which I'll explain why, but then, he aligned himself by marriage with Ahab. His son married Jezebel's daughter. Now, some years later, he went down to visit Ahab at Samaria-- this would be the capital in the north. Ahab slaughtered many sheep and oxen for him and the people who were with him. In other words, he's putting on the writs. Bringing out the chef and the animals. You are prepared. He's just going to have a tremendous feast. After all, we're family now, right?
Then while he was there, Ahab induced him to go up against Ramoth-Gilead. The Syrians had taken this city and he wanted to go against Syria. Ahab, verse three, king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, “Will you go with me against Ramoth-Gilead?” He said to him, “I am as you are and my people as your people, and we will be with you in this battle.” However, Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “First please inquire for the Word of the Lord.” Now the word Lord is in all caps, and it is the name of the God of Israel, Jehovah or Yahweh. It's a very important distinction here.
First, before we do this, we should inquire of Jehovah. Then the king of Israel assembled the prophets, but these are prophets of Baal, 400 of them. He said, “Shall we go against Ramoth-Gilead or shall I refrain?” They said, “Sure, go up. Yes, god will give it into your hand, into the hand of the king. Sure, sure, sure, go ahead.” Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not a prophet of Jehovah here that we may inquire of him?” He didn't really trust these 400 prophets of Baal. “Is there not a prophet of Jehovah?” The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of Jehovah, but I hate him because he never prophesized anything good concerning me. It's always evil."
He is Micaiah son of Imlah, but Jehoshaphat said, "Oh, well that not the king say such things. Don't, speak like that." Then the king of Israel called an officer and said, "Quickly, go bring Micaiah, Imlah's son." Now the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, there were sitting each on his throne, arrayed in their royal robes, and they were sitting at the threshing floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria and all the prophets were prophesying before them.
They're putting on this big show. Zedekiah the son of Kenaanah, made horns of iron for himself, and he said, "Thus says Jehovah00", what do you mean thus says, Jehovah, these are prophets of Baal. Thus says-- you're going to speak for Jehovah? You have no idea. Oh, but there, "Thus says, Jehovah, with these horns of iron, you shall gore the Arameans until they are consumed." All the Prophets were thus prophesy saying, "Go on up to Ramoth-Gilead and succeed. For the lord will give it into the hand of the king."
Now, the messenger who went to summon Micaiah said to him, "Now listen, behold, the words of the prophets are uniformly favorable to the king, please let your word be like one of them and speak favorably", but Micaiah answered and said, "As the Lord lives, what my God says, that I will speak." Now, right away you got to like Micaiah.
When he came to the king, the king said to Micaiah, "Shall we go to Ramoth-Gilead to battle or shall we refrain?" Now, listen to this answer. It's almost flipping, almost sarcastic. He almost mockingly, "Sure, go ahead, go on up. Sure, why not? Yes, you will succeed." Then the Kings said to him, "How many times must I adjure you to speak to me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?"
Apparently, Micaiah had grown quite tired of Ahab and his attitude. "How many times must I adjure you to speak nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?" Micaiah said, "I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains like sheep, which have no shepherd, and Jehovah said, "These have no master. Let each of them return to his house in peace."" Then the king of Israel turned to Jehoshaphat, "See, didn't I tell you he wouldn't prophesy anything good concerning me, but evil?" Man, I hate this guy.
Micaiah said, "Therefore--" All is not done. "Therefore, hear the word of the Lord. I saw the Lord sitting on His throne and all His hosts of heaven standing on His right and left, and the Lord said, "Who will entice Ahab, king of Israel to go and fall to his death at Ramoth-Gilead?" One said this, another said that. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord and said, "I will entice him." The Lord said, "How?" And he said, "I will go and put a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all of his prophets. And then He said, "You are to entice him, and you are to prevail. Go and do so." Now, therefore, the Lord has put a deceiving spirit in the mouth of these, your prophets, for the Lord has proclaimed disaster against you."
Then Zedekiah the son of Kenaanah came near and struck Micaiah on the cheek. He slapped him in the face, and he said, "Oh, how did the spirit of Jehovah pass from me to speak to you?" Micaiah said, "Oh, behold, you will see it. You will see it on that day that you enter an inner room to hide yourself in that day of that great disaster." Then the king of Israel said, "Take Micaiah, return him to Amon, the governor of the city and to Joash, the king's son, and you say, "Thus says the king, "Put this man in prison and feed him sparing with bread and water until I return safely." And Micaiah said, "If you return safely, the Lord has not spoken to me," but then he said, "Listen well, you people, listen well.""
I. Inquire of the Lord Before You Move
Oh, is that a great story or what? This is filled with tremendous insight and spiritual application starting with this, inquire of the Lord before you move. This is a principle you're going to see it's a principle of the Lord, wise is the one who takes hold of it. Before you make a great move, before you make a decision-- There are so many consequence of decisions, inquire of the Lord first.
Now, Jehoshaphat, he understood this principle even though he did not always apply it. He didn't inquire of the Lord before he made that marriage alliance with Ahab. You can be sure of that, and now Ahab connives a plan to get Jehoshaphat's army to fight with his army so as to defeat the Syrians. Now, at first, Jehoshaphat said, "I am as you are and my people as your people and we will be with you in battle."
He didn't inquire of the Lord before he committed his troops, but then he realized, "We ought to inquire of the Lord if we should go against Syria at all." Now, at first, thinking of Israel as we read he had assembled 400 prophets of Baal and inquired, "Should we go against Ramoth-Gilead or should we refrain?" They gave an answer and they gave the answer that they knew he wanted to hear. They didn't have any spiritual insight. They just told him what he wanted to hear.
A. Your flesh doesn’t want the truth
There is where a great spiritual lesson comes. Jehoshaphat doesn't trust this. "Isn't there a prophet of Jehovah here that we may inquire with him?" Ahab answers, "Well, there is this one man, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good. It's always evil about me." There's the lesson. The flesh doesn't want the truth. The flesh doesn't want the truth. I mean, how much more must God do to get his attention? You can read it in the story. Over and over, Micaiah had warned Ahab, and Ahab refused to hear the truth. Why? Because the flesh doesn't want the truth. The flesh wants what it wants when it wants it. The flesh doesn't like being told no. Yet over and over God gave him opportunity.
See, one of the great insights is to understand that the flesh-- I'm talking about the flesh nature, wants very different things than the soul. If there's a conflict within, there is the conflict right there. The flesh has very different desires than the soul. The flesh wants fleshly things and is driven by fleshly desires. The soul wants soulful things, and if there's conflict, there it is right there.
See, not only did God leave Micaiah there in the court of Ahab to speak truth, but as we know from the story, from the history, rather, God sent the most powerful prophet in the Old Testament to Ahab. His name is Elijah. This is a very interesting thing to see the heart of God in this. There's Israel in the north. They had turned and forsaken God. They went after Baal and Ashtoreth. What did God do in response? When Israel is at their greatest spiritual darkness, what does He do? He sends to them the most powerful prophet of the Old Testament, Elijah, because there is a principle that reveals the heart of God.
B. God is relentlessly pursuing
God is pursuing and God is relentlessly pursuing. God is not giving up. He is relentless, and he'll even send the greatest prophet of the Old Testament to make His power known. What more must God do? Now, we know that God wants us to seek Him. You look at the Scriptures, you will see-- This is a theme, very important, God wants you to seek Him with all your heart. Jesus said this, "Ask, and it shall be given. Seek, and you'll find. Knock, and the door will be opened." Now, we know this is a tremendous principle. God wants you to seek, but what we also must understand is that God Himself is pursuing you.
God is relentlessly pursuing even if you wander away. You got to see this. God doesn't quit. God doesn't throw up His hands. God will pursue you. He will be on and the Holy Spirit will be after you, and the conviction of the Lord will be on you because God will relentlessly pursing you. I think there's enough people-- Amen, let's give the Lord praise. Absolutely. There's enough people who've been in that condition that knows that God will not quit.
Ahab, it tells us, did more to provoke the Lord, God of Israel than all of the kings of Israel who were before him. That's why God sent Elijah to make His power known. How much more must God do? In fact, Ahab's introduction to Elijah was this. Elijah, this is his introduction. Elijah appeared before the court of Ahab and gave one of the shortest, most powerful speeches any man of God has ever given.
Notice 1 Kings 17:1, Elijah appears before the court of Ahab and says this, "As Jehovah, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand--" in contrast to those Baals and Ashtoreth that you say you follow. I stand before Jehovah and "As Jehovah, the God of Israel lives, surely there will be neither dew nor rain these years except at my word." Here's the thing, they look to Baal and Ashtoreth to make their lands fertile, these were the gods of fertility to be the source of rain. Elijah was set by God to shut the heavens, you look to Baal and Ashtoreth as the god of fertility to bring rain on your land, fine, let them bring rain. I just shut the heavens.
What followed was three and a half years of drought. That is disaster for any people. Three and a half years, would you take note of the time period? Very important. Three and a half years. At the end of three and a half years, Elijah appeared again to Ahab. When Ahab saw him, Elijah, he said, "Is that you? You troubler of the Israel." Elijah says, "I am not the one who has troubled Israel, you have. For you have forsaken the Word of the Lord and followed the Baals"
Then he laid down one of the greatest epic challenges known to man. 1 Kings 18:19, he said, "Now then-", he said to Ahab, "-gather to me all of Israel at Mount Carmel and bring the other 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah who eat at Jezebel's table." Bring them all, Mount Carmel-- By the way, whenever we go to Israel, we love to go to Mount Carmel at this very place. You can just imagine the scene unfolding when you go to this place.
What followed was a showdown of epic proportions. First, Elijah spoke to the people and challenged them all with one of the greatest challenges of the Bible. 1 Kings 18:21, "Elijah came near to all the people and he said, "How long are you going to waver between two opinions? How long are you going to be in this place? Listen, if Jehovah is God, follow Him. If Baal is god, fine, follow him, but is he?" Then all the people did not answer him a word.
Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal, "Build an altar. Set an ox upon it. Call out to Baal to answer by fire." And they called out all day long, hour after hour, they called out. Finally, about mid day, Elijah starts to mock them, "Call out louder. Perhaps he's on a journey." "Call out louder. Maybe he's in the restroom." Call out louder. Maybe he's sleeping." They called out louder, even began to cut themselves. At the end of the day, Elijah built an altar to Jehovah, drenched it with water, called out to God in the simplest of prayers, "Oh God, Jehovah, God of our fathers, answer us now." Fire from heaven fell. God answered, consumed the offering and even the altar." What more must God do to get their attention?
You know what's interesting? The Scripture tells us, in the latter days, there will be a period of great tribulation. It's a seven-year period of time when God's wrath will be made known. What more must God do to get their attention? What's interesting is that that seven-year period is set in two three and a half year periods of time. What's also interesting is during that same time when God is making His power known, He sends forth 144,000 Messianic believers in Joshua as the Messiah as witnesses in the darkest spiritual time. What does he do? He sends 144,000 Messianic Jewish believers in Jesus Christ.
God is moving to get their attention. What more must God do? Even today, God is declaring, God is making Himself known. Notice this, this is Acts 17:30-31, Paul is making a great speech. Notice what Paul says, "God, having overlooked times of ignorance, God is now declaring that all people everywhere must repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men, that God raised Him from the dead."
II. Wise is the One Who Listens When God Speaks
What more must God do? God has made His power known. God has furnished proof and evidence. God has demonstrated the greatness of His love and the greatness of His power when He raised His Son from the dead on the third day. God has made Himself known. Amen. Let's give the Lord praise. Absolutely. Amen.
Back to our story in 2 Chronicles 18, here's the thing we need to see. Wise is the one who listens when God speaks. Wise is the one who listens well. There's a difference between listening and listening well. What is the heart of the one who listens well when God speaks? This is the one who holds God's Word in high regard. This is the one who respects God, who reveres God, and therefore, holds His Word in high regard. This is the one who knows that God's ways and God's thoughts are higher than his ways, and that if he would walk in the ways of God, that he would be blessed. Therefore, he holds the Word of God in high regard.
Notice Isaiah 55, the whole of the chapter is amazing, but notice verses 7 and 9. God is speaking, "Let the wicked forsake his way. Let the unrighteous man forsake his thoughts, for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Wise is the one who holds the ways of God, the thoughts of God, the Word of God in high regard, because God is trying to keep you from trouble. There's enough trouble in this broken down messed up world that we don't need trouble from our own foolish mistakes. Anybody agree with me?
A. God is trying to keep you from trouble
There's enough trouble in this world. We don't need trouble from our own foolishness and God is trying to keep you from trouble. Notice verse 14, now we assume here that Micaiah has grown weary of Ahab's attitude because he answers sarcastically oh, sure, go up, yes. Go ahead. You'll succeed very likely, probably, maybe. Go ahead. Ahab immediately picks up the sarcasm, "How many times must I adjure you to speak nothing but the truth in the name of Jehovah?" Then Micaiah gives that ominous answer, "I saw Israel scattered like sheep without a shepherd." Didn't I tell you when he only prophesize evil? Man, I hate this guy.
Now, here's the thing, this is not just a word for Ahab, this is a warning to Jehoshaphat. You may when you read the story think this is just about Ahab. Oh, no. You can almost hear the Word of the Lord, do you see what's happening? Jehoshaphat, are you looking at this? Jehoshaphat is the one who asked for the prophet of Jehovah. There was Jehoshaphat standing back watching this unfold. Look deeply. Do you see this? Right then and right there, Jehoshaphat should have ended this entire campaign. You don't see this?
This is a tremendous important lesson, look deeply at what's happening. There are spiritual forces behind much and we've seen with our eyes. Do you not perceive this? Look deeply. What do you see? You're the one who asked for the prophet. Unwisely, Jehoshaphat ignores these warnings and joins Ahab in the battle. Then the story unfolds that Ahab tells Jehoshaphat, "Now, listen, I will disguise myself and go into the battle as a common soldier. You, you put on your royal robes to enter into the battle." Jehoshaphat goes along with his ridiculous plan, "Okay."
He's far too accommodating. He goes along with his ridiculous plan because you see, Ahab knows that the king of Syria had given the word, "When this battle is enjoined, seek no one great or small, I want only one, I want that king. Pursue nothing and no one, I want that king. I want Ahab."
Ahab knows this. He tells Jehoshaphat, "Oh, put on your royal robes when you go into the battle. Perhaps they'll see you and think you're me." What a thing is this? This is the father-in-law of his daughter, but he goes along with this ridiculous plan. When the Syrians see Jehoshaphat, at first, they pursue him because they were told, "Seek no one great or small, I want that king." When they see him in his royal robes, they think it's Ahab and so they're bearing down on him. As he sees the enemy bearing down on him, he calls out for help, "Oh, God!" He's this close to disaster, "Oh, God, help!"
Tells us that the Lord did help and God diverted them from him when they bore down and they could see this is not the one. for they had been told, "I want no one great or small. I want one." They diverted from him and God saved him. Now later on, when Jehoshaphat safely returned to Jerusalem, he was confronted by a prophet with the Word of the Lord. Notice this is 2 Chronicles 19, great lesson here for us. 2 Chronicles 19:2-4, the prophet is confronting Jehoshaphat, "Should you help the wicked and love those who hate Jehovah and so bring wrath on yourself from the Lord? There is some good in you, but you have set your heart to seek God."
Should you have done this thing? This thing was very foolish, this thing was not wise, but there is some good in you, for you have set your heart to seek God. Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem, went out again amongst the people, and brought them back to the Lord, God of their fathers. Here's the thing in the story. Jehoshaphat learns. This was unwise, this was tragedy. It almost cost him his life. It was almost a disaster, but God saved him and then he learned and became one of the greatest kings in the south.
There's that lesson, if you do something unwise, make a very poor decision, can you learn from it? God is not done. Can you learn from it and grow into greater things? God has greater things. God does not cast you out when you make foolish decision, when you learn from it. He became one of the great kings.
See, first of all, it's wisdom to inquire of God before you make the move, before you make that decision, and if God says "No", you can be sure that He is trying to save you from many troubles. Oh, there is trouble enough in this life. We don't need the troubles that come from our own foolishness. Notice Psalm 32:7, "God, You are my hiding place. You preserve me from trouble. You surround me with songs of deliverance." God answers Psalm 32:8 a few verses later, God answers and says, "I will instruct you, and I will teach you in the way in which you should go."
B. Truth is beautiful on the soul
What a great word is this, "I will instruct you. I will teach you the way in which you should go." "I will counsel you with my eye upon you." This is a great word, "If you would have a relationship to me by which I could just simply counsel you with my eye," now every parent understands that the parent can give that look, just that eye. I can just give you my eye and the children know right away what dad is thinking. We're out and about visiting another family or whatever, the kids start acting up, and then dad gives the look. They look, "Okay dad, time to time to change." That's the look. You know what? Let's have a relationship where I can just counsel you with my eye.
Don't be like the horse or a mule. A horse needs a bit and a bridle. A mule is so stubborn. How do you get the attention of a mule, that stubborn mule thing? How do you get the attention of a mule? Yes, with two by four, that's what. Don't be like that. They have no understanding. He adds this, "Listen, many are the sorrows of the wicked, but he who trusts in the Lord, love and kindness shall surround him." It's a great word because then we see this, truth is beautiful on the soul. The flesh does not want the truth, but the soul, truth is beautiful.
Micaiah reveals the inner workings in the spiritual realm. Notice verse 19, the Lord said, "Who will entice Ahab, king of Israel, to go up and fall at Ramoth-Gilead?" The spirit said, "I will go and I'll put a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all those prophets." The Lord said, "You are to entice him and prevail, go and do." Now at first, it's difficult for some to accept that God should allow a deceiving word to be used for His purpose until you realize that He was laying the whole thing out. There's no deceiving word. The whole thing is laid bare. Everything is laid bare before Ahab and Jehoshaphat so that they can discern one from the other. It's all laid out before you, discern one from the other and choose.
You see this, God reveals it in several places. Here's one, Deuteronomy 30:15-19, God says to the people, "See, I set before you life and prosperity, death and adversity, choose." It's all laid out before you. You can see all of it. I show you the results. I show you the consequence. I set before you life and prosperity, death and adversity. I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse so choose life. I love you. I want you to find life. Choose life that you may live, you and your descendants, but I will lay it bare. Everything was laid bare before Ahab and Jehoshaphat and each must choose his own way.
Ahab did not regard God. Ahab did not respect Jehovah. He did not regard truth as something to take hold of and so God used it by a sovereign hand. In fact, it's interesting verse 33 later in this chapter tells us that when the battle was enjoined that a certain man, a Syrian, drew his bow at random. Now, this was very common. The front lines were the infantry, and then just immediately behind the front lines, were the Archers. It was very common for the archers just to set an arrow on the bow and set it flying randomly, perhaps hit something. It says a certain man drew his bow at random and struck the king of Israel that day in the one place, in the joint of his armor.
He said to the driver of his chariot, "Turn around. Take me out of this fight, I am severely wounded," and at sunset, he died. I submit there was nothing random about this at all. God's hand moved, and God's hand is still moving today. Amen. Let's give the Lord praise. Absolutely.
Jehoshaphat learned one of the greatest lessons of his life and became one of the great kings of the South. Ahab, net disaster. God lays it bare. God's Word is beautiful on the soul of the one who holds the Word in high regard, who will take hold of it. Those who take hold of it, will find that God will build in you a beautiful soul with a beautiful life with a beautiful relationship to the living God. Do you respect God? Do you honor him? Then hold His Word in high regard. Wise is this the one who listens well because God will bless you and will bring about that which is beautiful on the soul. Let's pray.
Father, we love you. We thank you. Your heart is revealed through your Word. Your desire is to bless. You lay bare the consequences of life and say, I'm asking that you would choose well, choose life. Church, how many today would say, "Lord, I want to make it known I respect You, I revere You, I hold your Word in high regard. I want to take hold so that You would do that which is beautiful in my soul. Lord, do that in me. That which is beautiful is the desire of my soul. I regard your Word highly. Use it, Lord, in my life."
Church, is that you? Would you say that to the Lord? Is that your prayer? Would you just raise your hand to the Lord as a way of saying it as a prayer to the Lord? I just thank You, Lord. I hold You in high regard, so I regard Your Word. God, I want to take hold of it. I want it to bless my life. God, I love You and honor You for all that You're doing, in Jesus' powerful name, and everyone said--