February 14, 2020
Welcome to 2020. I trust you had a refreshing break. It is a real gift to be able to holiday over the summer, to stop and spend a bit more time with family and friends and to get to do some of those things which tend to evade us in the normal business of life. For me, that’s a bit more reading.
I came across a poem in my reading this summer. It was a poem about the awesomeness of storms. It struck a chord because of the extreme weather conditions we were enduring at the time with bushfires, rain and even dust storms. The poem consisted of three stanzas. Each stanza was led by the words: Listen, Watch, Wait.
As I thought about those words it struck me that they are key biblical concepts. They are poetically presented in Proverbs 8.34 as the fount of all blessing:
Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway.
I led staff in a reflection of these three words prior to the commencement of School. I thought I would share something of that with you this term, commencing this week with ‘listen’.
The God we encounter in the pages of the Bible is a communicating God. He speaks and in this way fosters relationships which is central to his purpose in creating.
He is also Lord. He rules all things because he made all things and loves all things. His rule is good. The primary means by which God rules is through his word. We encounter God’s word in the Bible. In the Bible, God tells us who he is, what his plans are for the world, and what his intentions are for us. He does this as a display of his glory and as a guide to lead us to abundant living.
While it’s a simple enough formula – God speaks, we listen – the story of the Bible is a sad tale of our reluctance to listen to God. We don’t trust him; we don’t believe that what he tells us to do is in our best interests; we don’t believe that to listen to him is the pathway to abundant life.
Jesus tells a parable which highlights the problem. It has come to be known as the Parable of the Sower (Mark 4.14-20). In the parable, Jesus says there are basically four types of listeners: the first doesn’t really listen at all; the second listens until life with God becomes an inconvenience; the third listens until the competing pleasures of life take over; the fourth is the one who truly listens and relegates everything to that which is heard.
Jesus’ parables are diagnostic. We are meant to listen to them and find where we are in relation to God’s rule. He clearly wants us to be the fourth listener who hears, accepts and acts on God’s word. Those who do this enjoy God’s blessing and are channels of his blessing.