“If my people would but listen to me, if Israel would follow my ways, how quickly would I subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes!”
Have you ever heard of PEE? No, don’t snigger at the back there. I’m referring to Point, Evidence, Explanation. It’s a really good way of structuring paragraphs, and a formula that I teach all of my children at school. It really helps them to focus their writing, and leads to much better essays. Or, at least, it would if they actually listened to me! There are some children who no matter how many times I share with them the wisdom I have gleaned from eight years of teaching, they still think that they know best. It pains me to see them letting themselves down because they don’t follow advice, but that is exactly what they do.
In our current Mark Marathon passage, we see yet again the disciples lacking faith in Jesus. He tells his disciples that the people following him need to be feed, but they respond that it simply isn’t possible in the desolate place they find themselves in. This is despite the fact that they have seen him complete many miracles – including feeding the five thousand with just five loaves of bread and two fish. They do seem a little slow on the uptake; even the gentiles have started to wonder if Jesus is, in fact, the messiah!
In today’s reading, we see God lamenting the fact that people do not listen to him, and do not follow his ways. They choose to follow their own path, and trust not in God, but in themselves. If people followed God’s ways, then their enemies would be subdued, to quote the psalm. If only people listened to God and followed his ways, then he would be able to support his people much better. Instead, people reject God and think that they know best.
It takes tremendous trust to listen to God, yet the rewards are clear. Where do you stand on this? Do trust in him, and seek to follow his will for your life? Or do you trust in yourself to do the right thing. I know I fall into the latter camp most of the time. Perhaps together we can try and trust more in God.