If Only

O that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways. Psalm 81:13 NRSV

MP900399410[1]If only they would listen to me and do what I told them to do.” That’s something I’ve said repeatedly over years of raising children. I’ve found that one of the hardest parts of parenting is letting children go, and allowing them the freedom to make their own decisions as they grow up. It is painful to watch those you love stumble and fall.

If only they would listen!

Of course, the experience parents have is but a small glimpse into what God must experience. In Psalm 81, the writer makes it clear that God wants God’s people to have a single-minded devotion. God longs for them to listen to God’s words and to follow in God’s ways. The Lord longs for those who claim their place in his family to submit to his will. God simply desires the full devotion and obedience of God’s people.

If only God’s children would submit to God’s will.

If only that was what God got. Statues of strange idols dotted the landscape of the nation. God’s people bowed down and gave their worship to foreign gods. But like a patient parent, God continually admonished those who strayed, and encouraged them to change their ways. The Lord made it clear that if they would turn from their stubborn ways, then they would be blessed in ways that went beyond anything they could have asked for or imagined. God would put down their enemies and bring them victory. God would provide them with the finest of blessings and satisfy their longings.

MP900399407[1]I believe God is no different today. Each of us has a place as a child in God’s family, but we also have to choose whether we will listen and follow God’s ways.

Listening and following are a choice.

There are so many other voices today calling for our attention. There are so many other roads we could follow. But the psalmist’s plea is as fresh today as it was when it was written. God wants us to submit daily to the truth of God’s word. God wants us to walk in whole- hearted devotion to Jesus Christ. The Lord wants our worship and our full obedience.

MP900399412[1]If we listen and respond to God’s call, then God will be able to lead us, use us and bless us. If we are willing to put away our stubborn and selfish ways, then God can do for us everything God wants to do and give us everything God wants to give.

So why not love God with your whole heart, soul and mind, and then enjoy God’s  blessings today!

Walk in the Way of the Lord!


Patient God, your call is clear and consistent. My response is not always what you ask for. Forgive my tendency to go my own way. Help me to conform my will to yours, and to do all you ask me to do!



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