When people refuse to hear and obey the teaching of God presented by a faithful preacher 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.” There are 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.
This is of great concern to those who stand firmly for the faith, and they regret to see those who at one time stood for the truth, but now turn aside to something else. 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, you are old, and your sons walk not in your 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 you, 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 took it as a personal insult when Israel rejected his leadership, when in actuality it was God who had been rejected. Jesus said, “He that hears you hears me; and he that despises you despises me; and he that despises me despises him that sent me” (Lk 10:16), and, “He that receives you receives me, and he that receives me receives 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 do not reject him, lest we be lost eternally (Jn 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!