“Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah…saying…” Commentaries on Jonah clearly emphasize Jonah’s disobedience to God’s command in this first verse. Before we are quick to reprimand Jonah however, perhaps we ought to notice this book starts with a man who is listening, who actually hears God’s voice. Our day and age is not one that encourages listening much to anyone, let alone God. Are you listening for God’s voice? Are there other voices that guide your life? How can you move away from distractions so you can hear God’s voice? Give us grace to hear O Lord!
“Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Jesus’ early learning at the temple was characterized by sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. Seeking God among his people and those who reflected deeply on God and his ways caused Jesus to amaze people with his understanding. As Christians people could we learn more by sitting, listening and asking questions? Who do I sit with? To whom do I listen? What kinds of questions am I asking these days? – May we grow in wisdom and statue with both God and man, O Lord.
The Voice of Angels. “The angel of the Lord appeared…” Angels are all over the Christmas story. They appear in dreams, they appear in temples, they appear in fields, to both individuals and groups of people. They speak on God’s behalf and bring direction, guidance, and understanding for people to respond to God in faith. Would I be one who would have followed the voice of the angels back then? Why or Why not? – Lord, there are things we do not fully understand, help us to listen to you, in when you speak in ways that we cannot totally understand. Amen.
“Forgive us our debts…” Prayer for forgiveness reveals our understanding that relationships are central to life. It also recognizes our human condition in which we fall
short in our faithfulness to the obligations of our relationships toward God, others and all of creation as well. When I fall short or sin, do I deny my sin, blame others or flee in fear of God’s judgments? Jesus gives us another way; trust God’s mercy and love. Forgive me for my sins and shortcoming Lord, both the wrongs I commit and the things I leave undone.
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites…” Before teaching how to pray, Jesus teaches how “not to pray.” Prayer that draws attention to self is not true prayer, it is self-promotion. What motivates my prayer? Does Jesus correction eliminate praying together altogether? How do we direct corporate prayer in ways that foster true prayer? May our prayers be true listening and honest speaking with you, O God. Amen
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger.” How would the world be different if Christians lived this out? What if Christian leaders and pastors listened better? What if I listened more than I spoke? What is the relationship between speaking, listening and anger? – “Grow my heart and capacity to listen Lord; bring control to my angry outbursts.”
“Speak, for your servant is listening.” Growing up I envisioned Samuel as a young boy. Though fostering a listening ear at a young age greatly aids a life of faith, the older I get, I wonder if we need reminders throughout life, throughout our prideful ideas that we know all, to listen again. Do I listen to God speaking? Do I listen to others? – Speak Lord, I am trying to listen. Help me to discern your voice in the midst of the competing sounds and voices all around me. Amen
|“Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Jesus’ early learning at the temple was characterized by sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. Seeking God among his people and those who reflected deeply on God and his ways caused Jesus to amaze people with his understanding. As Christian leaders, could we learn more by sitting, listening and asking questions? Who do I sit with? To whom do I listen? What kinds of questions am I asking these days? – May we grow in wisdom and statue with both God and man, O Lord.|