““But they refused to heed, shrugged their shoulders, and stopped their ears so that they could not hear.”” Zechariah 7:11 (NKJV) Conviction is like a gentle warning to those who listen for God’s correction and obey; it triggers a swift response of remorse followed by repentance; to those who turn a deaf ear to God’s whisper it is a reproach to even speak of it. They; although having heard the Spirit’s warning; have refused to listen to His correction, and are convinced of their innocence rather than convicted of their guilt. Hearing and heeding God’s conviction is a decision we must make; it is not something that just happens, but our continued refusal to hear will bring about God’s wrath (vs 11).
In Old Testament times the Law was given to cause those who transgressed to experience conviction, and an appropriate sacrifice was then required as penance. Conviction today is the work of God the Holy Spirit, according to Jesus’ words in John 16:8. We need only to listen for and comply with the Holy Spirit’s nudge that comes instantaneously as we sin, repent from our sin and move on. It is entirely another matter when we refuse to listen to the Spirit’s correction and continue on in our sin as though we were never aware of our wrongdoing. We easily convince ourselves of our innocence by equating our refusal to hear with the idea that God did not speak; if God did not convict then I am not under conviction. The great danger in this “stopping” our ears is that they become so dulled from not being used that we are no longer able to hear that “still small voice” of conviction. It is a small step then to a life of uncontrolled sin because we do not hear God’s corrective whisper. From this lifestyle there is little hope of repentance except a major tragedy interrupt our self-centered-ness and cause us to realize our own sinfulness and our need for God’s corrective influence.
On the other hand; those who are in tune to the Holy Spirit’s guidance experience conviction as a shout rather than a whisper. Much like a piano tuner, we’re listening for that small sound that doesn’t belong, and having heard it we take steps of correction so that our lives will be in harmony with the leading of the Holy Spirit.
“I can almost hear the Trumpet”