John McDonald raises a lot of his own food on his farm but sometimes he still needs to go to town to do some grocery shopping. That's where he was when he turned his cart to head down the breakfast aisle and ran smack dab into someone almost knocking them over. “Sorry sir.” John said, “Are you okay?” “I think I'll be alright, John.” he said as he stood back up.
“You know who I am?” John asked a bit puzzled. “Do I know you?” “Five months in a monastery and nobody knows who you are.” came the reply. “What's happened around here?” “Monastery?” John said thinking out loud, “Wait a minute. Is that you Harold? I thought you looked sort of familiar.”
“Yeah.... It's me.” Harold replied. “WOW!” John said, “Welcome back.” “Thank you.” Harold said sounding a little depressed, “That’s the first welcome I’ve received all week.” “WOW!” John said again, “You’ve been back for a whole week already....” “What’s happened to this town?” Harold said not wanting to talk about the monastery again. “It’s like its falling apart.”
“You mean you don’t know!” John said, “Haven’t you heard of the great conspiracy and rebellion going on? Oh wait, you've been gone for the past five months.” “Oh that.” Harold said, “Yeah, I know about it.” “You’re suppose to be the answer to the problem.” John said. “WHAT!” Harold exclaimed when he heard that, “Says who?”
“Well,” John decided to explain, “The church was praying for God to send them a hero and He sent you.” “So,” Harold said after a long pause, “That's why God sent me back.” “Yeah,” John said, “You could say God surprised all of us.” “Well,” Harold said shaking his head, “There could be a problem with me being the hero.”
“What’s that?” John asked. “No one will listen to me.” Harold said, “ It’s as if I have become to good for them.” “I suppose that could make it a little difficult.” John said, But then again, I’m sure God knows what He is doing.” “I'm sure He does.” Harold said in agreement, “But I'm not sure I do. Besides, I've got a bigger problem at hand.”
“What could be bigger than the town falling apart?” John asked. “I can’t find any oatmeal.” Harold said, “And I'm starving.” “I tell you what.” John said, “Since your saving us, I'll save you. Come out to the farm, I have an entire silo filled with oats. You can eat oatmeal till it's running out your ears.” “Sounds good to me.” Harold said, “I'll head right over.”
And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, and the people of Israel said to them, "Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger."
Exodus 16:2-3 (ESV)
Israel constantly suffered from a short memory, a memory of who they were suppose to be following and what He could do for them. God had a plan to take care of His people in the wilderness as we will see, but along with Israel's short memory, it appears some couldn't hear so well either.
And the LORD said to Moses, "I have heard the grumbling of the people of Israel. Say to them, 'At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God.' " In the evening quail came up and covered the camp, and in the morning dew lay around the camp. And when the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as frost on the ground. When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, "What is it?" For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, "It is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat. This is what the LORD has commanded: 'Gather of it, each one of you, as much as he can eat. You shall each take an omer, according to the number of the persons that each of you has in his tent.' " And the people of Israel did so. They gathered, some more, some less. But when they measured it with an omer, whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack. Each of them gathered as much as he could eat. And Moses said to them, "Let no one leave any of it over till the morning." But they did not listen to Moses. Some left part of it till the morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them. Morning by morning they gathered it, each as much as he could eat; but when the sun grew hot, it melted. On the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers each. And when all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses, he said to them, "This is what the LORD has commanded: 'Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD; bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over lay aside to be kept till the morning.' " So they laid it aside till the morning, as Moses commanded them, and it did not stink, and there were no worms in it. Moses said, "Eat it today, for today is a Sabbath to the LORD; today you will not find it in the field. Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, which is a Sabbath, there will be none." On the seventh day some of the people went out to gather, but they found none.
Exodus 16:11-27 (ESV)
Do you do a better job of listening than the Israelites did? The Bible talks of listening in several places and while the Bible reminds us that God listens as in - Psalm 116:1-2 I love the LORD, because He has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. Because He inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on Him as long as I live. (ESV) it also reminds us that we need to be listeners.
- James 1:19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; (ESV)
- Ecclesiastes 5:1-2 Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. (ESV)
- Proverbs 8:34 Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors. (ESV)
- Deuteronomy 6:3 Listen closely, Israel, to everything I say. Be careful to obey. Then all will go well with you, and you will have many children in the land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, promised you. (NLT)
There is an old saying that goes something like this – God gave us two ears and only one mouth, therefore we should listen twice as much as we talk. Are you taking the time to listen? Here's Something To Ponder
- In what way do you take the time to listen to God and others?
- How do you appreciate others when they listen to you?