Most of us have heard the expression, “Mark my words!” It was probably uttered by a parent, teacher, coach or friend to focus our attention on being alert to coming events. Mark in the sense of: Pay attention; Heed; Remember; Consider; Take notice; or Beware. It may have had the idea of a warning of acts to avoid in order to escape painful consequences. Many of us, however, ended up wide of the mark and thus far from the right target or goal.
Right from the beginning of mankind the first people did not mark the words of God, (Gen 2:16-17) but rather chose their own path and paid the price of sin with death. God told His people, the Israelites, to choose between obedience with great blessings or disobedience and horrible results. (Lev 26:3,14) He instructed them through Moses to declare this from two mountains. (Deut 11:26 -29) In the prayer of Ezra we find the stiff penalties of their willful disobedience. (Ez 9:7)
Things had not changed much during the time of King Solomon. He urged people through proverbs to obey God’s wisdom and warnings. “… it is better to heed a wise man’s rebuke, than to listen to the song of fools.” (Ecc 7:5) “…a wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke.” (Pv 13:1) “Whoever heeds correction shows prudence.” (Pv 15:5)
During Jesus’ earthly ministry he said over and over, “Behold, I tell you the truth” and then gave commandments either through parables or direct language. The 4 Gospels are full of his teachings which were a version of, Mark my words. “Do not judge…” (Mt 7:1) “Watch out for false prophets…” (Mt 7:15) The example of consequences of wise versus foolish builders on either sand or solid rock. (Mt 7:24-27) Jesus knew these truths because He was God in the flesh and yet experienced things from a human’s viewpoint. (Heb 2:17) (Heb 5:8) He might even say to us today, “Obey my words and be blessed, ignore them and suffer later.” (Mt 25:32-46)