They pay me evil in exchange for good; …But when they were sick I…humbled myself by fasting. I prayed with my whole heart, as one would for a friend or a brother… Psalm 35:12-14, 28 There certainly are days when I struggle to hear God’s voice. It is the perfect opportunity for my thoughts to take a serious turn away God’s presence. In times like these I turn to the Psalms. This passage caught my eye because it reminded me of what it means to love enemies in spite of circumstance. As hard as it is on occasion, it is in fact possible and perhaps necessary (at least for me) when I really don’t want to. I understand that I can never really know who all of my enemies are. Of those I do know, I’ll start with letting the one I battle in my head be the first to go, by letting a spirit of praise takes over and unleash God’s Spirit on the rest as as well. And my tongue shall be talking your (God’s) righteousness and of your praise all the day long.
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” Hebrews 4:1-10 This is the third time in Paul’s letter to the Hebrews that he encourages them to listen to the voice that speaks the truth about God’s love and God’s mercy for those who believe. He encourages them not to be like their ancestors in the wilderness. Today we work so hard at building our relationship with our children because we want to spare them the struggles that we experienced. Yet there are times when they refuse to listen. There are things we say that simply go “in one ear and out the other.” So too, I believe that God has given us his Word through Christ that we may not struggle. Each day given is an opportunity to hear and respond to the Gospel. As I think of the numerous things my mother has shared with me to which I payed little attention, I am thankful that God has given me today, that I may listen. Today I seek to hear. Today my heart is open to respond.
Let us continue to pray and encourage our children and one another to hear and obey according to God’s truth and we too shall enter His rest.
I once had a five year old child tell me one day in Sunday School class that he did not like being compared to a sheep because sheep were stupid animals and he wasn’t stupid. No doubt this kid was beyond his years but I can’t help wondering if the Pharisees felt this way about Jesus’ sheep metaphors. One thing is for certain, the sheep were at least smart enough to know when they were being called by the Good Shepherd. Perhaps sheep aren’t the brightest of animals, but if we can achieve half as much wisdom to know the Savior’s voice when he calls us, we can all be just as smart. I believe if we can learn to always hear God’s voice, the following will get easier; perhaps as easily as sheep.
John 10: 19-30 Jesus answered, ‘I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.
Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want