At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Ps. 16: 11)
“He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.”Proverbs 28:9
The great Puritan Richard Sibbes once addressed the question of why God at times does not hear our prayers. The answer is straightforward. Why should God listen to us when we refuse to listen to Him?
That is the import of this proverb. If a man turns away from listening to what God has revealed to us in His law, then why on earth would God heed that man’s prayers. The relationship between man and God must be a reciprocal one—a mutual relationship between persons. Otherwise the word “God” simply represents a warehouse where a sinner wants to come and get things when he wants them.
In the first chapter of Proverbs, Wisdom cries out at the gates of the city. She says that if simpletons and fools accept her reproof, then she will pour out her spirit on them. She will make her words known to them (Prov. 1:23).
“Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:” (Proverbs 1:24–25). So why should Wisdom listen to us when we refuse to listen to wisdom?
The men in Malachi wondered why God refused to accept their sacrifices and offerings. They covered the altar of the Lord with tears, wondering why He no longer regarded their offering (Mal. 2:13). Why? Because the Lord was a witness to how they had treated their wives, clean contrary to what the Lord required of them. “If you don’t listen to me,” God in effect says, “why should I listen to you?”
The standard is straightforward, and not that hard to understand. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18).