“When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen.
Surely at times it seems like God is deaf and cannot or will not hear my prayer; that He is blind and does not see my situation and come quickly to my rescue. There are those who have sought God in “foxhole circumstances or in less dire need out of mere spiritual curiosity, and have soon abandoned their quest for lack of an “answer. While yet others have pursued Him, for what seems like forever, seeking a specific response to their need and have finally determined He just will not hear, or He is not there. Whatever the Divine purpose for God’s inaccessibility at your moment in time, He has not been silent in telling His children why and when we are responsible for plugging His ears!
In Malachi 2 it is the condition of our marriage relationship that becomes the barrier to the throne of God. Even though we weep and wail, flooding our prayers with tears, God will not hear when we have broken faith with the partner of our marriage covenant. We have not guarded our spirit in the sacred relationship we have with our spouse in the presence of the One before whom we gave our vows. Our prayers are hindered when a husband is not considerate of his wife, respecting how God made her, and seeing her as a joint heir with him of the gracious gift of life(1 Peter 3:7). In Malachi 1 it is our unacceptable worship of God which in reality is so paltry that we give little more than the leftovers of ourselves, even though we call Him Lord. The words of our mouths do not portray the feelings and actions of our hearts. The Lord hears the one who is humble in spirit, and contrite in heart, and who trembles at His word (Isaiah 66); who does not choose his own way and relish his abominations. He is deaf to those who will not answer the phone when He calls (66:4), and show no desire to listen to Him.
I have twin nine year old grandsons who in somewhat typical fashion for their age can shut out your voice even though you are standing right next to them when you speak. You have to get a hold of their face, turn it toward you, make eye contact, and then speak….read my lips. You know what I am talking about. This is just how we are before our Father God. We do not hear Him even though He is shouting in our ear. Our deafness to God plugs His ears to us (Proverbs 1:28). When we hang on to secret sin in our life and are unwilling to repent and let it go, He tells us He will not hear our prayers (Psalm 66:18). When we show no mercy or compassion to the needs of those around us, He tells us He will not hear us (Proverbs 21:13). Stubborn refusal to hear Him, results in His own deaf ear to you (Zechariah 7:13). The Bible is saturated with God’s patient and persistent instruction on how we choose to close or open His ears. But in reality it is not His deafness; it is ours! One day the courts of heaven will be flung open and some will with dread behold the tragedy of their skeptical attitude toward prayer; while others will stand amazed in wonder that the prayers they persistently brought to the mercy seat were never unheard, forgotten, or discarded; but recorded and treasured forever. As Jesus commanded, “Pray, and don’t give up!
“O may my hand forget her skill, My tongue be silent, cold, and still, This bounding heart forget to beat, If I forget the mercy seat!
(6th verse of Hugh Stowell’s hymn, “From Every Stormy Wind that Blows, 1828)
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