We’re studying “Ordering Your Private World” by Gordon MacDonald in our Bible group. It’s been an interesting book, but many times a few of us have balked at the lessons it’s tried to teach us. Although the basic gist is to get closer to God and you will get a better ordered life, there are a few things that miss the mark.
Take for instance, Chapter 11. In this section, the author begins to talk about finding that peace and solitude needed to truly communicate with God in a personal way. I totally agree and, oftentimes, I neglect my quiet time with the Lord in pursuit of other goals (making money, spending time with friends, etc.) Mr. MacDonald says, “It’s all in the listening.” I also agree with this statement… IF he had not used the analogy of Moses vs. Aaron to illustrate it.
You see, the author is saying that both Moses and Aaron could have gotten the same message if only they would have listened in the same way. I don’t agree. 1) Moses was personally called up to the mountain and spoke directly with the Lord. 2) Aaron was left behind to deal with the ever discontent people of Israel. To say that Aaron had the same opportunity to listen to God is a little preposterous. God spoke directly to Moses. Like you would speak with your husband or best friend. Moses was summoned to the mountain to listen. He really had no choice… well, okay, he did: listen or be smited.
BUT if the author is trying to say (which, in my opinion, if so, he did not do very well…) that Moses took the time to listen and Aaron did not (well, he’d still be wrong, but I kind of get where he was going) then it relates in a way to our lives today.
I often hear God calling to me (not in a weird way – just an internal longing kind of thing) and I choose to ignore Him. Mainly because I feel so drawn, instead, to “git ur done” which has become our mentality as Americans. So even though God may be saying, “Hey Sue, come up here to this mountain top/quiet meadow/back porch and let’s chat.” – I don’t often do it. One reason for me, and not like Moses, is that I can decide to not do it. (Moses really didn’t have that choice.)
Instead, I relate more to Aaron really. He is Moses successor and is told all that has happened from Moses – NOT God. (Like I hear what has happened, mostly, from my pastor.) Moses had similar issues that Aaron did – the Israelites complained to both of them. BUT Moses had a direct relationship with the Lord that Aaron really did not, which helped him order his private world more easily. He had it direct from the source that it would all work out. Aaron did not.
Have you ever tried to watch a TV show with your dog barking, your kids yelling or your husband/wife trying to talk to you at the same time? How much of the program did you really hear? Now imagine watching that same show all by yourself. You’d get more from it wouldn’t you? It’s not really that you aren’t listening, but you’re being distracted.
How often do we do the same thing to God? We just try to multi-task Him into our lives and then wonder why we aren’t getting anything from the relationship. He wants to be heard above all the noise. We need that solitude and peace in order to hear Him properly.
When’s the last time you looked at the Ten Commandments? Let me give you a refresher. The FIRST COMMANDMENT is “You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3 NIV) No other Gods. Now I don’t have any other Gods… except maybe the TV… or my money… or that next job I need to get done… or the laundry that needs to be done…
Gods can come in all shapes and easily distract us from listening to the one true God. I know I’m guilty of this. Horribly guilty. I’ve avoided God pretty hard core lately just due to all the other STUFF I “have” to do. But we’re sinful creatures and it happens.
I did like this sentence from this chapter: “Most Christians learned at an early age how to talk to God, but they did not learn to listen well.” We need to start listening well… even when we’re inundated like Aaron was with complaints, discontent, too much work and everything else.
Today, I’m vowing to start listening instead of avoiding. How about you?