He Expects Us to Listen and to Act…
For what cause do we have prophets and scriptures? For all the deference they are given by so many it is a wonder that we are blessed with these gifts at all. As I have quoted Elder Tad R. Callister before, “The atonement is the burden of all scripture,” and therefore the burden of God’s prophets, nevertheless, that is not their only purpose. The voices of prophets, and subsequently scriptures, are raised to expound God’s word, His law, a warning voice of trials to come and consequences of disobedience, and glorious proclamations of God’s love for His children, of which the gift of His Only Begotten is the greatest measure. God gives us prophets and scriptures that we might hear His voice, hearken unto it, and follow in His ways.
Of His own word and law, the Savior Jesus Christ taught in His last week of mortal ministry, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35). God’s words and laws are eternal, timeless and without end of validity. God’s words do not change with the times, nor do His laws become outmoded with the cultural practices or fads of the day. They must be heeded or consequences will be dire.
A hearkening proclamation came by way of the prophetic pen of Isaiah, words that would be declared of and by John the Baptist in preparation for the coming of the Lord. “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it” (Isaiah 40:3-5). John the Baptist was no crazy man in the wilderness speaking to the breeze of the air. He was a prophet of God declaring the coming of the Lord. Men and women who would become disciples of Christ heard his sayings, hearkened unto them, and followed the Lord at His coming.
This is why prophets lift their voices, to expound God’s word, warnings, and loving guidance, that we might be prepared and return to His warm presence, saved from our own folly. But there is something that we need to remember, He expects us to listen and to act.
When we listen and we act upon God’s word, He blesses us with more of His guidance and counsel, thus, we are drawn ever closer to Him and His safety, eventually knowing all God’s mysteries. This doctrine was taught by an ancient prophet Alma to a man named Zeezrom. “It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of His word which He doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto Him. And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full” (Alma 12:9-10). When we honor what God has given us by keeping His commandments He gives us greater understanding and capacity in the building of His kingdom.
In Doctrine and Covenants 1:2-5 we read that the word of the Lord is not exclusive to a single people or creed, but it is for all people, and all will be held accountable to listen, heed and follow. “For verily the voice of the Lord is unto all men, and there is none to escape; and there is no eye that shall not see, neither ear that shall not hear, neither heart that shall not be penetrated. And the rebellious shall be pierced with much sorrow; for their iniquities shall be spoken upon the housetops, and their secret acts shall be revealed. And the voice of warning shall be unto all people, by the mouths of my disciples, whom I have chosen in these last days. And they shall go forth and none shall stay them, for I the Lord have commanded them.” God’s word was spoken and written to go forth, and we, all of us, will be held accountable.
It is not sufficient to think that we can do things our own way and not hold any accountability to He who has given ourselves to us. While we may rejoice in our individuality and our own self-awareness, the only self-awareness that we should really indulge in is knowing that we are sons and daughters of the Most High God and accountable to Him for what we do with His gifts. The Lord declared of those who put their will and self-worship above Him, “They seek not the Lord to establish His righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall” (D&C 1:16).
We live in a marvelous time when greater access to God’s word or law has never been known to any people upon the entire face of the planet. No person reaching accountability has ever walked the earth without being responsible to the God who made him, and our day is no different. Where much is given much is expected, and we have been given much. “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same” (D&C 1:38).
Indeed, He does expect us to listen and to act. May we heed the voice of the prophets. May we harken unto the scriptures. May we listen to and follow the words of the Lord, whether by His voice, or by the voice of His servants, even back home to His presence, yesterday, today, or forever, it is the same. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.