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April 6 Today’s Reading: 2 Samuel 13-14
What will it take for God to get your attention?
“Therefore Absalom sent for Joab, to have sent him to the king; but he would not come to him: and when he sent again the second time, he would not come. Therefore he said unto his servants, See, Joab's field is near mine, and he hath barley there; go and set it on fire. And Absalom's servants set the field on fire. Then Joab arose, and came to Absalom unto his house, and said unto him, Wherefore have thy servants set my field on fire?” (2 Samuel 14:29-31)
Today, I ask God to speak to you by his Word. The application of these two chapters and, particularly, of these verses to my own heart, by God the Holy Spirit, I will for now keep to myself for just one reason. — Today, I want each one who reads what I believe God has directed me to write as a personal word to you. May God the Holy Spirit make these thoughts effectual to your soul’s good for Christ’s sake.
Absalom tried in vain to get Joab’s attention. He sent for him and sent for him again; but Joab had no regard for or interest in Absalom. Finally, Absalom sent his servants out to set Joab’s fields on fire while they were full of barley. That got Joab’s attention.
Wicked as that deed was, it is a picture of God’s gracious actions toward chosen sinners. Knowing our obstinance, that we will not come to his gracious throne until he forces us and makes us willing to come, he sets our barley fields on fire. While judgment will never produce repentance by itself, God often sends his grace to us by means of providential judgments (Psalm 107).
As I write this article, I pray for you who will be caused by God the Holy Spirit to read it; the burden of your immortal soul is heavy upon my heart. It is no accident that you are now reading these lines. By what means has God brought you to read them? — What will it take for God to get your attention?
Are you yet without Christ, unconverted, lost, under the wrath of God? I pray that God will not let you die in that condition. Has God the Holy Spirit spoken to you by his Word? Is your heart moved by the preaching of the gospel? Certainly, you have had providential warnings enough to make you tremble, if you had sense enough to hear them. Yet, you harden your heart. If God has chosen you, he will get you. I know that. Yet, I cannot help wondering, “What will it take for God to get your attention?” What will it take for God to bring you to Christ, to bring you to yourself, and bring you to himself? Eventually, every poor, lost prodigal must and shall be brought home to the Father’s house of grace. But what will it take for God to get your attention?
I wonder the same thing about you who are saved by the grace of God, you who trust the Lord Jesus, you who are heirs of salvation, who have entangled yourselves too much with the cares of this world. Your business has just about choked out the Word of God. You willingly absent yourself from the worship of God and the fellowship of his saints. You neglect the regular reading of God’s Word and prayer. The world and the things of the world, “the care of this world” consume your life. At present, you think your neglect is necessary. If truly you are the Lord’s, he will not lose you. If he must set your barley fields on fire, if he must destroy your business, your health, your wife, your child, or anything else, he considers that a small thing for the salvation of your soul. For that he sacrificed his own dear Son! Your barley fields are nothing in comparison! — What will it take for God to get your attention? — I believe I would think about that, if I were you.