By Eugene Crawley
Often when people refuse to hear and obey, or just flatly reject, the teaching of God presented by a faithful proclaimer of the Word, they seem content to say, “Well, that’s just his idea, and mine is as good as his, and after all I know a preacher who doesn’t agree with that anyway.” Such a conclusion is reached, not by a thorough investigation of what he has taught in light of the inspired record, but by what “seems” to the person to be good. There is, in the world today, too many who reach their conclusions about religious matters by what their “favorite” preacher says about it, or what they “think” is all right, or they can see no “wrong” in. While this is not the proper way to reach the scriptural and, thus,, right conclusion, some in the church seem perfectly content to “follow suit.”
This is of great concern to those who stand firmly for the faith, and they regret to see those who one time stood for the truth (or apparently did) turn aside to something else. But, we need to remember that it is not us that they have rejected and refuse to follow. The record of Israel, when Samuel became old and his sons did not rule honestly and righteously in Israel, illustrates this quite well. The people came to Samuel and said, “Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy 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. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord. And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not rule over them” (1 Sam. 8:5-7). The same principle is true today when people refuse to hear the word of God and follow Him. Samuel thought that it was he who-Was-being rejected, when actually it was God. Jesus said, “He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me” (Luke 10:16), and, “He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me” (Matt. 10:40).
People need to realize that it is not simply a matter of taking what someone, preacher or whoever, says about it, but being certain that they take what the Lord says about it. They need to realize that when they refuse to hear the truth, even reject God’s word, it is not simply a matter of refusing to hear the preacher, for he is just a messenger of the word. On the other hand, when one accepts the teaching, he needs to realize it is not the message of the preacher (if he is faithfully proclaiming the word) but it is the will of God, and obey it as such. For after all, our obedience is to be from the heart (Rom. 6:17, 18), and unto God (Matt. 4:10) to be accepted. We need to study diligently the word of God so that we not reject him, lest we be lost eternally (John 12:48).
God’s word is true regardless of who preaches it or fails to preach it, and regardless of who believes it, or fails to believe it. We will be judged by it in the last great day (Rev. 20:10-12). Let us be certain that we rely more upon God’s word, and not upon men (1 Cor. 4:6), and understand that when we fail to listen to His word that we reject Him!!
Truth Magazine XXIV: 13, p. 209
March 27, 1980