Called to account

If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account.

Deuteronomy 18:19

If there’s one thing that frustrates me in my job as a teacher, it’s students who think they know better than me. I’ve been teaching for seven years now, and in that time have led hundreds of students to exam success. I’ve studied the guidelines from the examination boards, been on courses and read probably thousands of essays. Consequently, when I give my students advice on how to achieve the best results in their exams, I think I know what I’m talking about. Every year, though, I teach a handful of students who think I’m talking rubbish, who ignore my advice and go their own way. Sometimes they still do well, but most of the time their performance is disastrous and they end up retaking.

There are times when, however stubborn we are, we have to concede that others know better than us. Just sometimes we find ourselves having to take on board what they say and acting on their words, even if we think we know best. One of the main stumbling blocks for many non-Christians, and even some Christians, is that we think that we know what is best, and ignore God’s word. It might be because of a lack of faith, a lack of trust or simply because we like to trust our own judgement. In Acts 3, Peter refers to Deuteronomy and quotes Moses telling the Israelites that God will send a prophet to his people and that they must obey everything he says, or he will be cut off from God’s people. In today’s verse, Moses quotes God who told him that anyone who does not listen to the words of the prophet, God himself will hold him to account. In this case, the prophet concerned is not an ordinary prophet, but is the Son of God himself, Jesus Christ. The warning echoes through time; we must do as Jesus commands or else, when the final day of judgement comes, we will find ourselves cut off from God, and will have to answer to him for our actions.

This is a warning for us all. When the day of judgement comes, will we be able to answer for our actions to God? Will we be able to say that the price for our sin has been covered by the death of Christ, or will we find ourselves on our own trying to account for our actions?

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