Joshua went to the regular Wednesday night Bible Study at the church he attended since coming to know Jesus Christ as his Savior when he was a teenager. Now in his mid twenties, he earnestly desired a stronger knowledge of God’s will for his life. Pastor Aaron spoke that evening about listening to God speak and obeying the Lord’s voice as Gideon had done in Judges chapter 6. Joshua couldn’t help but wonder, does God still speak to His people today as He did in the days of the prophets? He had to admit to himself, he’d never experienced God speaking to him personally.
After the service, Joshua and some of his close friends went out for coffee . They discussed the message and several of them talked about how God had led them, or spoken to them, in different ways. He listened intently and believed them, but he still had questions.
When Joshua left the coffee shop and started driving home, he began to pray, “God if you still speak to people, please speak to me. I will listen. I will do my best to obey.” His prayer was an earnest, heartfelt request.
As he drove down the main street of town, he had a strange thought from within to stop and buy a gallon of milk. He shook his head and said out loud, “God is that you?” Of course he didn’t get an audible reply so he headed kept on driving. Again, the thought returned, ‘buy a gallon of milk’.
Joshua remembered the story of young Samuel when he didn’t recognize the voice of God at first. Samuel ran to Eli thinking that it was he who was calling him. Three times God spoke to Samuel before he finally realized it was the LORD God of Israel and not Eli. (1 Samuel 3)
“Okay God, in case this is you speaking to me, I will buy the milk.” It didn’t seem like a difficult test of obedience. He could always use milk. Joshua stopped and bought a gallon of milk, got back in his car and headed home. As he passed 7th Street, he had a strong sense… ‘turn down that street’. “This is crazy he thought”, so he drove on past the intersection. Again, he felt that sense to turn down 7th Street . Half jokingly, Joshua said out loud, “Okay, God, I will.”
At the next intersection, he turned around, went back and drove down 7th Street. He drove several blocks, when suddenly, he felt like he should stop. So he pulled over to the curb, turned off his car and looked around. He was in a semi-commercial area, not one of the better parts of town, but not the worst neighborhood either. All the businesses were closed. Since it was already after 11:00 pm, most of the houses were dark and he supposed most folks were in bed sleeping.
Again, he sensed something, “Go and give the milk to the people in the house across the street.” Joshua looked at the house. It was dark, curtains drawn and it looked like the people were either gone or already asleep. Joshua opened the door of his car and was getting ready to get out when he stopped and closed the door. “Dear God, this is insane. Those people are asleep and if I wake them up, they’re going to be mad, plus I’ll look stupid.” Again, he felt like he should go to that house and give the milk to whoever lived there.
After several minutes of questioning himself, he got out of his car and said, “Okay God, if this is you, I will go to the door and I will give them the milk. If you want me to look like a crazy person, okay. I want to be obedient. I guess that will count for something, but if they don’t answer right away, I’m leaving.”
He walked across the street, quietly walked up to the door and rang the bell. He could hear voices inside. A man’s voice yelled out, “Who is it? What do you want?” Before Joshua could even answer, the door opened. A man about Joshua’s age stood there in jeans and a tee-shirt. He looked like he just got out of bed. There was a weary look on the guy’s face and he didn’t seem too happy to have some stranger standing on his doorstep. He stood there looking at Joshua and finally said “So…what do you want?”
“Here, I brought this to you” he said. He handed the gallon of milk to the man. Joshua stood there and watched as the man took the milk and literally ran down a hallway. From down the hall came a woman carrying the milk heading towards the kitchen followed by the man carrying a crying baby. The man’s face was soaked with tears as he told Joshua, “My hours at work were cut, we had some big bills this month and we ran out of money. We didn’t have any milk for our 2 month old son. I prayed and asked God to show me what to do; how to get some milk.” From the kitchen the man’s wife yelled out, “I asked God to send us an angel with some milk. Are you an Angel?”
“No ma’am I am not an angel”, Joshua spoke softly as his eyes filled with tears, then he continued, “I was just listening to God and being obedient.” Before he left, Joshua took out his wallet and put some money into the man’s hand. The couple thanked him over and over again. He was so humbled by what had just happened. “Thank God”, he said “not me. It was the Lord who listened to your prayer of need and answered it”.
As Joshua walked to his car, tears streaming down his face, he understood the Pastor’s message from earlier that evening. He paused and said “Thank you Heavenly Father, now I know You still speak to people, listen to their needs and perform miracles”. Joshua praised God that He would use someone like himself, a questioning doubter like Gideon, to answer a prayer of someone in need. (Judges 6:11-40)
From that night on Joshua listened more honestly to God’s speaking and whenever he heard someone question if God still speaks to His children, Joshua told them about ‘the gallon of milk’ and what God did that Wednesday night.
Jesus said several times to His disciples and the people around him, “And he said unto them, he that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:9; Luke 8:8; Matthew 11:15). I pray we, as the Body of Christ, will open up the “ears of our heart” and hear what God is telling us to do. Now more than ever, we need to!