Oh, that my people would listen to me! Oh, that Israel would follow me, walking in my paths!
(Psalm 81:13 NLT)
God’s ancient people wouldn’t listen to Him or pay attention to His warnings. So He let them be in order that they would learn to listen the hard way. “Listen to me, O my people, while I give you stern warnings. O Israel, if you would only listen to me! But no, my people wouldn’t listen. Israel did not want me around. So I let them follow their own stubborn desires, living according to their own ideas” (Psalm 81:8, 11-12). Like a parent who tries to spare their children the pain and sorrow that come from making mistakes but is still ignored, God allowed His children to go their own way so they would learn the lesson He was trying to teach them all along.
But God’s plea in Psalm 81 still rings true today. God’s people continue to tune Him out to follow their own stubborn ways. And after tripping and falling, they hear what every child eventually hears from a good parent, “I told you so.” Most people learn their life lessons the hard way and that’s okay. But if we would only learn to listen to God’s voice and follow Him, we would avoid the unnecessary misery and trouble that often come from going our own way.
I’d rather listen to God while He is still calling, than fall and hear Him say, “I told you so.”