Prophets Without Honour

Day 57

Prayer for the day

Our help is in the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth.

Scripture for the day

Numbers 15-16, Mark 6:1-29

It is a dangerous thing to speak for God. God sometimes asks those who speak for Him to do some fairly unpleasant things and say some fairly unpleasant words. There are rarely times when a prophet is popular, and this is clearly evidenced in our two passages today.

In Numbers, a group rises up against Moses, claiming he’s intent on doing them harm instead of good. They seem to claim, though they never say it, that Moses is the one leading them astray, insinuating that Moses does not speak for God, as he claims. This is extraordinarily audacious as these Israelites have already seen the power of God against their enemies and even against themselves.

Nevertheless, they attack Moses’ integrity and his design for them. And so he challenges them to a duel, before God. The repercussions are severe. Death, plague and destruction come from questioning the servant of God, and ultimately, questioning God himself.

In the Second Testament story of Jesus returning to his hometown, we have a very different outcome. In the first story, people disbelieved the power of God, and they saw it up close. In Jesus’ story, people wanted the power, but they disbelieved the messenger, and they didn’t get to see it up close. Jesus cannot perform miracles for them, cannot heal them, not because of a lack of power, but because of their disbelief. The repercussions are equally serious, though different in kind.

We should always view those bringing a message of God with discernment. I’m not trying to insinuate that we should not. However, we should do our best, unlike both the Israelites and Jesus’ hometown folk, to receive a message from God, and its messenger, with due attention and care. God still does speak. It is up to us how we treat the speakers, and up to God to determine the repercussions.

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