Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but followed the counsels and the dictates of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward. Jeremiah 7:24 (NKJV)
A number of cars come with automatic transmissions. My car is manual but inside my mother’s car, an automatic, you will see the letters P, D, N and R – Park, Drive (forward), Neutral and Reverse. ‘Park’ mechanically locks the transmission, restricting the car from moving in any direction. ‘Drive’ is the proper setting for those wanting to make efficient progress and accelerate through the gears. ‘Neutral’ means that we aren’t active or moving. ‘Reverse’ means that we are backing up or going backward.
Look at what God says in this amazing scripture:
But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the way which I command you, that it may be well with you.’ Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in their own counsels and in the stubbornness of their evil heart, and went backward and not forward. Jeremiah 7:23-24 (NASB)
How much clearer can God be? When we list to His voice, we will go forward, make progress and grow. When we don’t listen, we will go backward, lose progress and fail. For the believer who desires to grow, there is absolutely nothing more important in this life than to hear His voice and heed it. The Amplified Bible phrases it:
But this thing I did command them: Listen to and obey My voice, and I will be your God and you will be My people; and walk in the whole way that I command you, that it may be well with you. But they would not listen to and obey Me or bend their ear (to Me), but followed the counsels and the stubborn promptings of their own evil hearts and minds, and they turned their backs and went in reverse instead of forward. Jeremiah 7:23-24 (AMP)
They went in Reverse, but Drive (forward) is the appropriate setting for those wanting to make progress. Moses was instructed by the Lord:
Tell the people of Israel to go forward. Exodus 14:15 (ESV)
To go forward we must listen to the voice of God and walk in the way He instructs. God said:
But My people would not heed My voice,
And Israel would have none of Me.
So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart,
To walk in their own counsels.
“Oh, that My people would listen to Me,
that Israel would walk in My ways!” Psalm 81:11-13 (NKJV)
When you listen to His voice, you will go forward, make progress, prosper and grow. God has great things in store for you. Do not settle for where you are but get ready for the next level. It is time to shift gears and see some growth and transformation. You have a destiny to take hold of. Paul said:
Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14 (NASB)
In Deuteronomy God says:
You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Break camp and advance… Deuteronomy 1:6-7 (NIV)
To go forward and advance you too must listen to the voice of God and walk in the way He instructs. Only then will you ever experience the greater things that God has planned for you.