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
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 obstinacy, 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. That is what Psalm 107 is all about. As I pray for you and try to preach the gospel to you, as I plead with God for you and plead with you in God’s stead, trying to persuade you to come to Christ, I often wonder about you – “What will it take for God to get your attention?” You are of great, constant concern to me. The burden of your immortal soul is heavy upon my heart.
Many of you are yet without Christ, unconverted, lost, under the wrath of God. I pray that God will not let you die in that condition. I am certain that he has spoken to some of you. You are deeply 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 hearts. 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?”
I wonder the same thing about you who are, I hope, my brothers and sisters in Christ, 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. 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. I would think very seriously about it. I do pray that the Lord God will not leave you to yourself. If he does you are dead sure going to hell. Whatever it takes, I pray that the Lord God will get your attention and graciously force you to flee to Christ, that he will make you willing in the day of his power to come to Christ.