When I was younger there was a song that was sung by the Stylistics and also recorded by Marvin Gaye & Diana Ross. It was entitled "Stop, Look, Listen (To your heart). Maybe you know the lyrics "Stop, Look, Listen to your heart, hear what it's saying".
Well my friends, maybe it is time to Stop, Look and Listen to what is going on around us and to what the word of God has to say about it. From an external viewpoint the news is full of stories about natural disasters, wars, suicide bombings, parents killing their children, wrong doing by leaders in high places of authority and responsibility (including our government and places of worship). Every day it seems as if there is something new and sensational to grab our attention. It seems as if we are surrounded by doom and gloom. Maybe we should Stop, Look and Listen to what God is trying to tell us.
From an internal viewpoint, what is it that is going on in our lives that should be raising a red flag to get our attention? Are we controlled by our addictions (sex, drugs, alcohol, money, gossiping, pride, power, etc.)? What is going on in our lives that we do not want other people to know about? What is it that is keeping us separated from God? It seems as if our attention is always being directed from one thing to another. Either we are having a problem with our mate (or lack of one), our children, with the cost of food and gas, our health or that of a loved one, our job, etc. What can we do in order not to be negatively affected by these things?
I am reminded of when the Israelites were in the wilderness and complained that their path to the Promised Land was too difficult. They spoke against (i.e. "dissed") God and Moses in chapter 21 of the Biblical book of Numbers. They also complained about the nourishing food (manna) that God had been providing them daily since they left Egypt. Rather than complain, the Israelites should have Stopped, Looked & Listened to what God had to say. Maybe He would have said "I know that the road is difficult, but remember that I am with you and am protecting you from all evil (i.e. stuff going on around you) as long as you trust me".
Does this ring a bell? Are we complaining about life? Are we now starting to doubt that God can take care of our needs as He has done in the past? Do the obstacles in our lives seem insurmountable?
Maybe what we are going through will equip us to help someone in the future. Let’s take inventory of ourselves. Do we have a fair portion of health and strength? Do we have a place to live and clothes upon your back? Can we contact and talk with loved ones? Let’s count our blessings. Then maybe we can thank God for what we have and Stop, Look & Listen to the rest of the story told us in Numbers chapter 21.
As a result of the Israelites complaints and lack of trust God sent poisonous snakes among them and many died. God then told Moses to set a fiery serpent upon a pole and anyone bit by those poisonous snakes would live if they look towards the pole and not down at the snakes in their midst.
My conclusion is that even though there are poisonous snakes (wars, suicide bombings, personal problems and addictions) all around us and some of us may have already gotten bit or have been affected by them, let us not become agitated, angry or depressed but let us call upon God to help us. Then we shall live.
Some of you may say, “That is the Old Testament and was written in ancient times for the Israelites.” I would answer that comment by saying this particular narrative shows us what God expects of His people and how He responds to those that trust Him. Additionally in John 3:14 it says:
"As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up”.
This New Testament passage states that we should now place our focus and trust in the crucified Christ and remember “those who look to Him by faith recover spiritual/mental health, even as all that looked at that serpent recovered physical health.”
If we do this, we shall live peacefully and confidently in the midst of all that is going on around us. It is time to Stop, Look & Listen to what the word of God has to tell us.