Know Your Bible

VOL. 13                                                                                                                         August 10, 2014                                                                                                                            NO. 23



There was a worship crisis in Malachi’s day. People were unenthused. “What a weariness this is,” was a common complaint. So the prophet Malachi took a survey of the dissatisfied worshippers to determine what they were unhappy with and what they desired in worship. It was determined that the temple worship was very outdated. Even though the facility itself was relatively new, the worship was still functioning according to centuries-old rules and forms. So Malachi determined that changes were needed in order to reengage the faithful and reinvigorate their assemblies.


That’s not what happened.

The people did indeed say, “What a weariness this is.” But God replied, “I wish one of you would just shut the doors.” They were tired of worship? Well God was tired of them! “I have no pleasure in you,” said the Lord.

The solution to their problem was not to find out what the people wanted. It was to be reminded of WHO they were worshipping: “from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts. … For I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations.”

If we ever begin to feel that worship is a weariness, we would do well to refocus our thoughts on WHOM we are worshipping—lest he wish someone would close our doors. Malachi 1 (ESV)

—From Eric Reynold’s Facebook Page

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The basis for this question is found in John 9:31, "Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshiper of God, and doeth His will, him He heareth." Actually, the answer is also found in the same verse: "...but if any man be a worshiper of God, and doeth His will, him He heareth.". God does not hear sinners because they do not worship Him nor do they do His will.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO “HEAR"? Normally, the word "hear" means to "be endowed with the faculty of hearing" or "not deaf". The word "hear" in John 9:31 means "to yield to, hear and obey" (Thayer, P.22). Thus, in regards to prayer, God is under no obligation to answer the prayer of a sinner. God is not deaf but He does not yield to the sinner's prayer nor does He hear in order that He might obey. It is in this way that "God heareth not sinners".


1. God has already shown His love to sinners by giving His Son to die. "For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16). "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8). God showed His love first, now we ought to love Him. "We love Him, because He first loved us." (1 John 4:19).

2. What makes a sinner? A sinner is one who trangresses the law of God for that is what sin is. "Whosoever committeth sin trangresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law."(1 John 3:4). A person "that committeth sin is of the devil" (1 John 3:8) and yet, God sent Christ "to take away our sins" (1 John 3:5). Now it is our turn to commend our love to God. How do we do that? Keep His commandments (John 14:15, 21; 15:10) and keep His word (Luke 11:28: John 14:23).

3. What is the sinner's attitude and action toward God's word and God's commandments? A sinner hears but does not do according to Jesus in Matthew 7:26. Jesus pronounces such a person to be "foolish". Neither does the sinner truly love God. "He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings:..." (John 14:24).

4. What happens when we sin? We become separated from God, our sin causes Him to hide His face from us, and sin causes Him to not hear. We learn all this from Isaiah 59:1, 2 “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. 2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.

5. Why should anyone remain a sinner when God has provided the means of redemption? "In whom (Christ, ERH) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace." (Ephesians 1:7). What reason is there for anyone to be in sin? God's grace is for all (Titus 2:11,12). God wants "all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth"(1 Timothy 2:4). God is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).

6. Also, in answering the question of why should God hear a sinner's prayer, we must not forget the nature of God. Deuteronomy 32:4 says: "He is the rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he." The book of Job in chapter 34 and verse 10 records: "Far be it from God, that he should do wickedness; and from the Almighty, that he should commit iniquity." David records in Psalms 92:15: "To shew that the Lord is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him." James 1:13 says, "God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man." "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all."(1 John 1:5). In view of His nature, is there any wonder that God will not hear sinners?

7. Indeed, why should God hear the sinner when He has made every provision for his sins to be forgiven and, yet, he still remains in sin. "The face of the Lord is against them that do evil,..." (Psalms 34:16). "Then shall they cry unto the Lord, but he will not hear them: he will even hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings." (Micah 3:4).

8. Jeremiah 7:24 "But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward." (11:8) "Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart: therefore I will bring upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do; but they did them not." (17:23) "But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck still, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction." (25:4)"And the Lord hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened nor inclined your ear to hear.

How can anyone who does not let his ear hear what God says, expect God to hear him?

——E.R. Hall, Jr.

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Know Your Bible" is e-mailed weekly by the church of Christ which meets at 112 Roberts Avenue in Wise, Virginia. If you know of others who might benefit from the articles contained in this bulletin, we would be glad to have you submit their e-mail addresses and we will include them in next week's mailing. If you are receiving this bulletin and do not wish to continue to do so, please e-mail us with your desire to be removed from the mailing list and we will remove your address promptly. Continue to the bottom of this page and further instructions will be given as to how you may contact us.

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