When Listening Goes Wrong

Life is never as bad as it is when you’re talking to someone in private. Then weird emotions come forth, evil things are said, problems are exaggerated, rumors are started, bad attitudes are fed.

This is even worse when you are in private with a person who feeds this disposition. Sometimes listeners are the worst thing in the world. Listeners should stop sometimes.

Following God’s Word is not all that hard. it’s straight-forward stuff, it’s not hard to figure out what to do. The problem is when we talk about it. Soon, what seemed so easy, becomes difficult, maybe even impossible and stupid.

Wilderness Israel was to listen to God. He told them what to do, lead them with a pillar of fire. Easy.

Until they got home at night.

“they believed not his word: But murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the LORD.”

It was the talk in the tent that ruined their walk in public and brought them all down. O for discretion in what to hear and what to say.

4 thoughts on “When Listening Goes Wrong”

  1. A gentleman asked our pastor this morning, how could Israel not learn after God had performed some many amazing miracles?

    The answer is total depravity, there is no good in any of us outside of God imparting His faith, by grace, into us.

  2. Isn’t part of the problem found in our disposition to imagine or desire something that the Lord hasn’t really promised? In other words, we hear the promise, but then have in our minds already formed a way in which we expect that promise to be fulfilled, or maybe we were actually taught a wrong expectation by some other well-meaning person.

    Then we put faith in “our understanding” of the promise. When the promise doesn’t go the way we thought it should, then we lose “our faith”, and murmur. All Israel, and even the disciples, stumbled over that problem when Jesus lived among them. I don’t think it’s any different today.

    **********
    Paul, your answer still leaves the question. If the answer is that there’s nothing good in us outside of God, then the question still remains: how could Israel not appropriate the grace of God by faith, when they saw so many miracles?

    One explanation can be found in 1 Cor. 13:2: “if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” The “all faith” that can work miracles is only a certain type of faith. There is a greater faith that puts love in the heart.

    The Israelites had a certain amount of faith…after all, they followed Moses out of Egypt, leaving everything behind. But the type of faith that appropriates external blessings is Old Covenant faith. It is not the faith that takes hold of the power of God to change the heart and put love where there is hatred. That’s New Covenant faith. As long as I only have Old Covenant faith, then the murmuring, complaining, self-exalting evil heart remains to bring forth it’s poisonous stream. And, as Jeff showed, it often reveals itself in private…in my tent, or in the company of those whom I think will flatter me with their sympathy.

  3. 1 Peter 5: 6
    God opposes the proud
    but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

    God’s power is moving towards each of us, either to give us grace, or to oppose us. That is a very powerful statement that Peter shares with us. Think about the hand of God literally hovering over your life, ready to oppose you or to extend you His amazing grace. Now that should cause us to want to practice humility. On top of God’s promise to showering His grace upon you, He will exalt us at the proper time.
    The Israelites by complaining were being proud and stiffed necked people, they were opposing God and thus received the due justice of their actions. They didn’t have saving faith, only human faith that is fickle.

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