This morning I was reading in Hebrews chapter 12, and verses 25-29 really stood out to me:
See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”
The words "see to it" (or "take heed" in the KJV) mean I look, see, perceive, discern; to see, be observant (watchful). It suggests "to see something physical with spiritual results (perception)." That is, it carries what is seen into the non-physical (immaterial) realm so a person can take the needed action (respond, beware, be alert).
The word "refuse" means, I make excuse, refuse, reject, I beg off, deprecate, decline, shun, avoid, have nothing to do with.
The words "turn away" mean I turn away, pervert, remove; i.e. depart (separate) from the previous point; incites rebellion
The writer of Hebrews is making it painfully clear that those who are children of God are to make certain (see to it) that we obey Him when He speaks to us! Again, let me remind you that this is something we choose to do or not. God is not going to force us to obey. He will discipline us, as any loving father would do (read Hebrews 12:6-8), but ultimately our decisions are ours. We will always, without fail, live with the consequences of our decisions, however. So it is extremely important to obey God's voice if we want to live a life of peace (inner peace) and rest (spiritual rest). I differentiate peace as "inner peace" and rest as "spiritual rest" because we are not promised life here on earth to be easy breezy.
While reading these verses, I was reminded of times in my past when I refused to listen to God, making excuse after excuse. Those were without fail the times when I struggled the most. I wish I could say that I quickly learned my lesson, but that wasn't the case. I still wrestle with doing things my way. Although, I do think that I'm much closer to "getting it" than I have ever been. The only way I will truly and fully understand what pleases God, is to be in the Word on a consistent basis, and to be in prayer continually. Prayer is probably THE biggest thing that God is teaching me right now. I will try to talk more about it in the future.
I also want to point out how we are to "worship God with reverence and fear". This is something else that God is helping me to better understand. I used to think that worship was merely singing songs about God to God. That is simply too simple! My LIFE is to be a life of worship. In other words, everything I say and do should be perceived by God as a deliberate act of worship of Him (see Romans 12). You know, I think this subject deserves a post of it's own!