Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Speaking for God

Moses. He wrote the first five books of the Bible. He confronted Pharaoh and led the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt. He spent forty days and nights on the mountain with God. He delivered the Ten Commandments to the people. He made great speeches to the people just before they entered into the Promised Land.

Yet he did not begin his prophetic career so highly exalted. He was a murderer living in exile and herding sheep. This man had been a son of royalty, no doubt trained in all ways like Pharaoh himself would have been trained. Extensively trained in the palace, yet walking through the wilderness with sheep.

Interestingly, Moses was trained by man in the palace to rule a kingdom, but God completed his training in the wilderness with the sheep. God was no doubt preparing him for another time of wilderness shepherding. Moses encountered God in the wilderness at the burning bush, and he received his commission reluctantly. This man who God used so mightily, both in written and spoken word, was so troubled by his speech that he nearly rejected God's call.

Many men who are called to speak the Word of the Lord can sympathize with Moses. "Who am I that I should go?" "Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, . . . but I am slow of speech and of tongue." God's reply? “Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak” (Ex 4:11-12).

This is a lesson for all who are called to speak on behalf of God. Moses spoke what God put in his mouth--the words of God. Preachers, too, are called to speak the Word of God. It is not the preacher's job to be an eloquent speaker as much as it is that he is faithful to the message contained in Scripture. Man cannot change hearts. "For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God" (1 Corinthians 1:18).

So, for those of us who speak for God, let us be faithful to the message of God's Word. When we do that, God will work miracles in the hearts of those who hear.

"Thank you, Father, for your Word!"


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