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WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, FEB. 01, 2021

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s passage is Deuteronomy 18:17-20, where the Bible recounts these words of God to Moses:   

17 The Lord said to me:…. 18 “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. 19 I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name. 20 But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.”

  


TO WHOM ARE YOU GOING TO LISTEN?

 

No one gets through life without listening to someone. When a person doesn’t know something, or know what to do about a problem, the first thing they should do is gather information. Yes, it’s a wise person who looks to the words, temperament, and actions of others who have come before them and who have successfully dealt with the issue at hand. I’m a big “YouTube” video watcher when it comes to doing things around the house. I love to see people confronting the same problem or task I’m facing to see how they resolved it. I’ll watch one a few times and, if I think that they’ve done a satisfactory job, I’ll try to do it myself. Most of the time, I’ve listened to the right people. But there were a few times when I should have watched a few more videos, if you know what I mean! But the question, “To whom are you going to listen?” is a universal question of the human experience. And if you are one of those who thinks that you can go it alone without listening to anyone else, you are already walking into defeat (even if you don’t realize it yet).

Why is it that we all have this propensity to see ourselves in the most “forgiving/excusing” light, while seeing others much less graciously? Remember how, as teenagers, we often thought that our parents didn’t know anything about anything, only to learn in just a few years that they actually knew a lot about a lot of things! Today, in this Old Testament passage, Moses is pointing believers to THE one to whom they should give their ear, the one to whom they should listen when it matters most in their lives, the one in whom they should put their ultimate hopes and dreams. Moses is still a respected prophet in many religious circles today, but, in our reading for today, he pointed forward to THE prophet, the who would tell God’s people “everything” that God commands (verse 18).

As you read the Bible, you begin to realize that Jesus is THE prophet who deserves our ultimate attention (see Acts 3:18-23). Why? Because He is even more than the ultimate prophet, the ultimate priest for humanity, and even the King of all creation. He is this world’s Savior. He is the one regarding whom God said through Moses, “I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name” (verse 19). Many centuries later, during an event called the Transfiguration of Jesus, His disciples heard the direct voice of the Father say of Jesus, “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” (Mark 9:7).

Today the real question is, “Have you given Jesus your ultimate attention?” Do you realize that when you read the words of the Scripture, you are hearing the voice of God in your life? Will you venture back to church on Sunday and give Jesus your undivided attention in the liturgy, songs, Scripture readings, and sermons? Do you give Jesus your ultimate attention during home devotions, or are you often just trying to get through them so you can get to bed or get on with dessert? Do you think even for a moment that, yes, God Himself is indeed listening to your prayers? So, to whom are you speaking? And to whom are listening? When it comes to your relationship with God, Jesus Christ is the answer to those very important questions.

So, let this “post-pandemic” moment be one where you focus more of your attention on the words of this Jesus, rather than the words of pietistic politicians or the vacuous words of entertainers, singers, and athletes, or even of the words of your own personal passions and common sense. Listen to Jesus. Take His words to heart, and then put them into practice. Receive Christ’s forgiveness, and, when He urges us to forgive, be forgiving. When he commands purity, it’s what we will strive for even though our friends may mock us for taking God’s Word so seriously. When Jesus promises to provide, we can show our trust in that promise by sharing our gifts with others. You can give Jesus your ultimate attention because He is more than a prophet. He is the Son of God and Your Savior. His very words are “spirit and are life” for you (John 6:63), words you can trust for all that really matters.

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, Your words shine like light amidst the darkness. Please diffuse the chattering voices that seem to draw my attention away from You, and give me a hunger for Your voice, Your Word in my life. AMEN.

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