Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues God will speak to this people,
to whom he said, “This is the resting place, let the weary rest”; and, “This is the place of repose”—
but they would not listen.
So then, the word of the Lord to them will become:
Do this, do that, a rule for this, a rule for that; a little here, a little there—
so that as they go they will fall backward; they will be injured and snared and captured. – Isa. 28:11-13
Communication is one of the hardest parts of any relationship. This is why it is the first thing we teach in pre-marital counseling. It is so hard to understand each other even when communication is perfect, that when it is not, understanding is virtually impossible. We have an exercise called “active listening” where one person speaks and the other simply restated what they have heard. This assures each of them that they are hearing correctly. But more often than not, even this simple exercise is terribly difficult. “I would like you to pick up your laundry instead of leaving it on the chair,” is heard as, “You think I’m a slob!” And so the exercise goes on until we can be sure we hear correctly, no more and no less than they are saying.
God speaks to His people and offers them rest and repose, but rather than hearing Him clearly, all His people hear is rules, rules, rules. And rules do little more than push us backward, forcing us to work at following them instead of the God who gives them.
When you hear God’s voice in scripture, prayer, solid Christian mentoring, or the Holy Spirit, which do you hear? Do you hear God’s offer of rest and repose, peace and comfort, or do you just hear rules, rules, rules? If you are listening well, you will hear the former.