Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 28:9
"He who turns away his ear from listening to the Law, even his prayer is an abomination."
This verse is fascinating and revealing on a number of levels. One, for what it states and, second, for the thought connection to the preceding Proverb.
he who turns away from listening to the Law
The person who is described in this Proverb is the one who no longer respects the goals and boundaries of God. These are most easily summarized in the two great commandments and the Ten Commandments. The goal of the godly person is to love God and to love his fellow man as he loves himself.
God has written the owner’s manual for life on this planet; and when we ignore what he said was the purpose for our creation, then even the attempts at spiritual things is an abomination.
God gave us this creation we call a universe, solar system, planet, and life. He says: Enjoy this life My way and it will work so much better. Do not think to invent your own way of living independent of Me or using different methods, measures, or manuals. Those kinds of life will not work.
Lots of people want to be spiritual these days. Many people want to talk about prayer, fasting, listening to the voice of God, meditation, etc., suggesting that they are doing homage to God. They want to harness spiritual power as our western culture has harnessed water, electrical, nuclear power. But spiritual power cannot be abused like that without a high cost – even higher than the pollution that our western culture generates from harnessing these other powers. God is God and He should be worshipped and obeyed as God.
When we seek to access and adapt and use spiritual power for personal use or selfish advantage, we are like those who Jesus said were robbers and thieves who climbed over the fences into the kingdom of heaven.
There are many ways that humans have sought to gain access to spiritual power – from false religions to witchcraft to parapsychology and clairvoyance. The attempt to gain control over spiritual power for personal gain or personal goals, rather than God's goals, renders even the religious practices an abomination.
This verse is also a testimony to the truth that you cannot divorce your life from your words. You cannot truly say that you love God if your life does not show it. There is no power behind that kind of statement. God is keeping track of whether your life tracks selfish or godly.
There are many men and women who have sought to cover over their wicked lives with an outward show of religious ritual. God is not impressed with these attempts. If the life is radioactive, then the religious actions are also toxic. Painting over a radioactive life with a little religious paint does not change the impact of the life.
If you ignore the impulses that He is sending to love and worship Him; and if you ignore the promptings that He is sending to love your fellowman in tangible ways, then even the most pious prayers are an abomination to the Lord. They do not count nor bring any level of influence in the courts of heaven. Even more damaging to your life is that this kind of prayer from a selfish person or a wicked person is treated as an abomination – a deeply negative and despicable thing.
Think this through: If you lie, cheat, steal, scheme to do harm to those you know and you rebel, lust, and blaspheme, then it doesn't do any good to try and make up for it with a little prayer here and there. You must have a heart change in order to get your prayers back to the working side of the equation.
We have talked a lot in this devotional series through the Proverbs about how the boundary of wickedness is the Ten Commandments. This boundary is in play again in this Proverb. If you ignore the impulse to refrain from being so selfish that you must invent or create a new god that you want to serve rather than God, don't expect your prayers to be answered. If you must reduce your understanding of God down to a three-dimensional representation of God so that you can understand and embrace God, then your prayers are impotent. If you are so selfish that you must blaspheme God if things don't go your way, then asking God for other things is not a worthwhile enterprise. If you are so profit-driven that you will not stop and worship corporately at least once a week and daily recommit to God's rulership of your life, then your request from God will be circular filed. If you dishonor God's appropriate authorities so you can do more of what you want, then do not expect your submissions to God to go very far. If you use anger, intimidation, violence, and even death to get your way, then don't expect your prayers to influence God. If you are lustfully selfish to such an extent that you violate your sacred vows to God and your spouse, then don't expect your prayers in other areas to do much good.
This is why the Christian way is so wonderful; why it is called good news. God knows that if you have set out on a course of selfishness and have developed wonderfully efficient habits of selfishness that have become very effective to you, it is impossible for you change. You cannot even approach God in prayer and have Him accept even an introduction to you. Therefore God sent His Son to the earth to become a human being and live a perfect life and then voluntarily give up that life so that you and I could be forgiven of our turning away the ear from listening to the Law of God. Our prayers will only be heard when they are sent in the name of the perfect One, Jesus the Christ. If we were praying in our own name, they would be considered an abomination in the halls of heaven.
But God has pledged Himself to listening to the prayers of those who are offered in the name of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Come to Him and repent of your sins and insults. Come to Him and accept His mandate to love Him and love others. Accept His boundaries for love and offer prayers in the name of His perfect Son and begin the process of moving the halls of heaven through prayers.
It is the most amazing thing to engage with God and see Him answer prayers that you prayed because you got on His wavelength through connection with His Son.