Pastoral Exhortation

When God Does Not Hear

Written by Andrew Koh Sunday, 05 November 2017

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Introduction

Do not I fill heaven and earth?” (Jeremiah 23:24b) – the omnipresent God asked. There is neither nook nor corner where God is not there. God’s presence fills the vast entire universe. Because of God’s omnipresence, we can be sure that He hears us when we pray. When we pray to Him in the quiet of the night at our bedside, He hears. Out in the field, when a little boy walks and whispers his silent prayer to Him, He hears. Up in the mountain, when a lone hiker cries out to God in his heart, He hears. We pray because He hears us. The psalmist in Psalm 145 expressed this confidence when he sang, “The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him” (Psalm 145:18).

However, there are times when God shuts His ears towards those who pray. Regardless how loudly we shout out our prayers to God or how earnestly we pray, He does not hear. Our prayers, no matter how doctrinally sound or beautifully worded, will be uttered in vain. This is especially so when we regard iniquity in our hearts. Psalm 66:18 says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me”. If we are unwilling to forsake any sin, having the purpose to commit transgressions again, God will not acknowledge our prayers. God will turn away from our prayers. John 9:31a says, “God heareth not sinners”. God has no regard for the prayers of habitual sinners who have no repentance for their transgressions. Even though unremorseful sinners may be in fervent prayer, their prayers matter nothing to God.

Why is it that God does not hear sinners? The Bible gives us the reasons. As Christians, the fact that God hears our prayers comforts us. We must therefore be very concerned with the reasons why He shuts His ears to prayers.

God is against sinners

1 Peter 3:12 says, “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” The omnipresent God sets His eyes upon those who do His will with favour and is ever willing to listen to their prayers. On the other hand, God is against those who do evil even though they may pray unto Him. Habitual sinners face an angry God who is determined to punish them. Not only will their prayers not be answered, the wrath of God awaits them.

People who regard iniquity in their hearts must not think that their many prayers will in any way alleviate their situation. In fact, their “prayer shall be abomination” (Proverbs 28:9) to Him. An abomination is something that God utterly hates. Prayers from a sinful person furthermore incur the wrath of God. The prayers of an evildoer “add oil” to the fire of God’s anger. Proverbs 28:9 says, “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” The prayers from anyone who has no regard for the commandments of God are abominable to God. God has no delight in these “sacrificial” prayers of the wicked (cf. Proverbs 15:8).

God is far from them

God does not hear the prayers of evildoers because their sins have separated them from their God. The prophet Isaiah cried out to Judah, “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2). Judah was praying fervently to God to deliver them from national calamity while they refused to repent from steep idolatry. The prophet Isaiah warned them that it was not because God was not able to deliver but because the sins of Judah acted like a vast expanse that separated them far away from their God. God chose not to be close or favourable to them anymore. He deliberately remained remote from Judah even though they might pray to Him.

The distress of wicked Judah did not move the hand of God to help them even though they prayed. Despite the desperate situation they were in, God would be far from hearing their cries and helping them. Proverbs 15:29a says, “The LORD is far from the wicked”.

Conclusion

Let us therefore put away our every hidden desire to sin against God. If we do so, God has promised that He will not “turn away” from our prayer (cf. Psalm 66:20). Truly, “if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth” (John 9:31b). ■

 

Provision of a vehicle for Pr Donald dela Cruz’s ministry in Pangasinan

Pr Donald testifies with thanksgiving to God:

We praise the Lord for the provision of the church MPV. Yesterday, Se Jin, Jesher and I, together with one mechanic, test-drove the MPV. We travelled with the seller for a total of more than 8 hours, with occasional stops as we secured the necessary papers for the procurement of the car. We also went to the seller’s house. Our mechanic likewise inspected the vehicle and drove it on the expressway and on rough roads. He gave his approval, and we closed the deal. We chose this MPV because it has the lowest odometer reading at less than 50k km. The interior and exterior are also well-kept and in brand new condition. The engine condition is also good and without leaks. The air-con is also cold even under the heat of the sun and with five adults inside.

On the 4th week of October, we have a Bible study in San Fernando. Likewise, I will coordinate a home visitation and Bible study at Tactac, Sta Fe, which we can schedule on the second week of November. Praise God for the provision of the MPV, which makes Bible study in faraway places possible and the travelling convenient.

I praise the Lord also for giving a bountiful harvest to the brethren. I asked Bro Mario regarding their harvest and he joyfully replied that it was better than last year. This was surprising to me because the farm of my brother, along with those of others in the vicinity, was affected by pests and their harvest was significantly lower. Praise God for preserving the livelihood of the brethren.”