Listening is such a key part of life. We listen to each other. We listen for God. We listen to our own bodies. I remember back when my sister Heather was pregnant with Luke, and 3 days past her due date. Talk about listening to her body in profound ways!
Often, in the Bible, we have stories of listening, In Exodus Moses and Aaron begin their display of tricks. Pharaoh does not listen because his heart is hard.
The Lord tells Moses and Aaron to go before Pharaoh, and Aaron is told to throw down his staff. It becomes a snake. So everyone throws down his staff. They all become snakes! Aaron’s snake eats all the others.
Pharaoh does not listen. He refuses to let the people go. We learn of the disaster life can be when we do not listen to God.
And so we begin the Ten Plagues. The first is the water turning to blood, reminiscent of Pharaoh throwing each Hebrew boy into the Nile. Now the tide has turned. The very life-blood of the community, the Nile, has ironically turned into life – into blood, which makes it useless for human sustenance.
I often talk with people about prayer, and how to listen to God. Just yesterday I spoke of about way of listening for God – our listening to scripture. Often God can speak in profound and new ways – enriching ways – through that same ol’ scripture. Be ready for God’s surprise if you start reading scripture. It can be surprisingly fresh.
Some people take the Bible literally. That’s not what I’m talking about. I think it cheapens the text and gives us an easy way out. I am talking about deeply listening for God through scripture, revelation, and the Holy Spirit.
I am much more interested in what the Bible principally teaches. What do these words mean for my heart to do? Just like Pharaoh, I believe we have hardened ourselves to God’s word at times, more intent with fighting with each other than having its word permeate deep into our souls. Lost in the “literalist arguments” are the impact of scripture.
I invite our world to open itself up to the reading and hearing of scripture once again. To put down our Bibles and stop looking so intently – looking for ways to disagree with our neighbors. Ironically, this is how you take scripture MORE seriously. I invite the world to stop and LISTEN to scripture, and hear the story each in our different ways. (When I was 15 and heard these stories, they meant a lot different things than they do today. I hope when I am 45 I hear yet different things.)
So listen with fresh new ears today. And ask yourself, “What is God telling me this time?” Your imagination may wander from the text altogether. That’s OK. Now that’s serious business!
What is God up to in your life today?