7a Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God.
This is an exhortation that is intended to guard our hearts against wandering away from the divine truths which God has given to us through men who faithfully serve Him among His people. It would be tragic if we forget God’s faithful servants who give us His truth and instead follow after those who teach contrary to the truth of God’s Word. This is why the apostle Paul warned the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:29-32, “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”
Human nature is very unpredictable. How many congregations have forgotten and neglected the labour and teachings of the faithful pastors who had laboured among them. Such forgetfulness is akin to sinful ingratitude. It is very much like the situation mentioned in Ecclesiastes 9:15 – “Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city: yet no man remembered that same poor man.”
In order to protect Christians and churches from departing from faithful teachings of godly leaders, they are exhorted to “remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God”. The word “remember” denotes thankful recollection of the leaders and their preaching. It is an exhortation to treasure up their instructions in the heart, and call to mind their exhortations, counsels and warnings.
The leaders whom we ought to cherish are those “who have spoken unto you the word of God”. The men whom God has graciously called to rule the church are gifted by Him to expound and enforce the Scriptures. Every pastor must rule the church by carrying out the ministry of the Word with faithfulness and authority. The apostle Paul advised Titus, “These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee” (Titus 2:15). The tireless labour of faithful preachers must not only be appreciated, but also heeded.