Recently, I've found myself in a bit of a predicament and with a bit of a problem. The weight of affliction has caused me to have a few "holes" punched in and about me. I've shared with my husband and with a good friend that I've felt a bit like a colander or a leaky pot recently. What I receive from the Word - both read and preached seems to slip away far too quickly. God has been pleased to speak directly to my circumstances in providentially profound ways through His Word over the past few months. I'm a cracked pot (some of you already knew that) and don't always hold living water very well .
In reading these three verses I was reminded that I need to "pay much closer attention to what [I] have heard, lest [I] drift away from it." God has been pleased to show me in the past few months just how incredibly weak I am left to myself. He has revealed to me that I am still most assuredly "prone to wander" apart from the steadfast and certain preserving grace of His hand. I am not an anchored vessel in and of myself (nor are you). Christ alone is the anchor that will keep us afloat to the end.
That said, Matthew Henry spanked me this morning - hard! Thankfully, he spanked me and then he bound up the wounds he'd inflicted by pointing me to Christ my Savior. It was particularly astounding that this old Puritan used the phrase "leaky vessels" in his commentary. Wow! The God of omniscient wisdom knew that Lori would find herself as a leaky vessel in 2009 and was pleased to have my long dead and departed friend, Matthew Henry, pen that very phrase in the early 1700's - knowing that I'd run across it on the very day I needed it. Folks - our God knows, sees and cares. Pay attention to what you've heard from His word, lest you drift away from it.
Henry writes: "It is the great concern of everyone under the gospel to give the most earnest heed to all gospel discoveries and directions. We must embrace them in our hearts and affections, retain them in our memories, and finally regulate our words and actions according to them.
"He adds strong motives to enforce the exhortations. First, from the great loss we shall sustain if we do not take this earnest heed to the things which we have heard: we shall let them slip. Our minds and memories are like a leaky vessel, they do not without much care retain what is poured into them. Those meet with an inconceivable loss who let gospel truths slip out of their minds. All is lost, if the gospel be lost. If we do not well attend, we shall not long retain the word of God; inattentive hearers will soon be forgetful hearers.
"Secondly, another argument is taken from the dreadful punishment we shall incur if we do not do this duty. This law, spoken by angels, is unalterable and steadfast. It is like the promise, "yea and amen," it is truth and faithfulness, and it will abide and have its force whether men obey it or not, for every transgression and disobedience will receive a just recompence of reward. If men trifle with the Law of God, the Law will not trifle with them. Punishments are as just, and as much due to sin as rewards are to obedience.
"This salvation, is a great salvation. So great that none can fully express, no, nor yet conceive, how great it is. It shows how we may be saved from so great a sin and so great misery, and be restored to so great holiness and so great happiness.
"Sinning against the gospel is described as a neglect of this great salvation. It is a contempt put upon the saving grace of God in Christ, making light of it, not caring for it. Let us all take heed that we be not found among those wicked wretched sinners who neglect the grace of the gospel.
"The misery of those sinners is described as unavoidable. "How shall we escape?" The despoilers of this salvation are condemned already, under arrest and in the hands of justice already. There is no escaping out of this condemned state, but by accepting the great salvation offered in the gospel. As for those who neglect it, the wrath of God is upon them, and it abides upon them. There is no door of mercy left open for them, there will be no more sacrifice for sin."
As the prophet of old has said: "Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts."
Personally, I am trusting the Potter to patch the holes in this leaky vessel and make me to retain that which He has granted that I might be firmly anchored in all the storms of life. The gospel is great - the Word is glorious - may we be attentive, holding hearers.