Are You Listening?

August 18, 2021

Exodus 9.1-7

1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: “Let my people go, so that they may worship me.” If you refuse to let them go and continue to hold them back, the hand of the Lord will bring a terrible plague on your livestock in the field—on your horses, donkeys and camels and on your cattle, sheep and goats. But the Lord will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and that of Egypt, so that no animal belonging to the Israelites will die.’”

The Lord set a time and said, “Tomorrow the Lord will do this in the land.” And the next day the Lord did it: All the livestock of the Egyptians died, but not one animal belonging to the Israelites died. Pharaoh investigated and found that not even one of the animals of the Israelites had died. Yet his heart was unyielding and he would not let the people go.

No longer do we see pests coming to make life unpleasant.  Now we see God go after the livelihood of the nation of Egypt.  The animals that are for work, the ones that produce for clothing and for food.  And again the distinction.  Only the animals of the Egyptians.  Pharaoh even investigates to be sure of what took place.  And after seeing this to be true he will not believe and he will not do what God has asked him to do.

God has already told Moses what it will take to get Pharaoh to listen.  But each step of the way it seems so obvious, with over 3,500 years of time between, that Pharaoh should have listened much earlier.  It takes time for people to get the point.  Starting gently and getting more forceful, God will get through to Pharaoh.

Instead of trying to wonder what it takes for people in power to listen to God, what does it take for us to listen?  We have no control over what any others do, but we have something to say about what we do as people.  Does it take God using a big stick to get our attention, or do we respond to that gentle nudge?  I hope nudges work, but also know that sometimes we need the stick.  But how does that change?

It changes when we start trying to hear God, when we look for his leading, when we are trying to hear him and listen to him.  Not waiting for him to grab us for our attention, but hearing him as often as we are able.  We spend time in his word where he has spoken to us all already.  We spend time in prayer, listening, as well as speaking.  We speak of our faith and life with others and in that we hear God speaking to us all, and to us as a person.  God still calls and leads.  Do we want to hear?

SongHere I Am Lord

Prayer

God of Jesus Christ, give us a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Christ, so that the eyes of our hearts might be enlightened.  Help us to know the hope to which you have called us, the riches of the glorious inheritance in the saints, and the immeasurable greatness of your power at work in us.  Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

—based on Ephesians 1:17-19, NRSV

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