Prayer for the day
When I called, you answered me; you increased my strength within me.
Scripture for the day
It seems too common a claim these days (and all days). Someone comes along with “a message from the LORD.” They speak, and we’re left wondering whether we’ve just heard the voice of God or something a little less heavenly. We debate, discern, pray, and seek God’s wisdom. Or we just write them off as “crazy.”
In the story from Deuteronomy today, Moses clearly states that there is only one way the Israelites are going to hear from God: it will not be through divination, through child sacrifice, through magic, or any other means. It will be through the voice of the prophet. The Israelites are warned against believing a prophet too quickly, lest he (or she) be a false prophet, and lead them astray. They are to watch the prophet and ascertain by historical account whether what he or she has said comes from YHWH.
Interestingly, Jesus speaks of the disciples having a similar experience. They will undergo horrific hardship and tribulation (this certainly comes to pass) and they will speak when arrested. They are not to worry, says Jesus, because what they speak will not come from them, but will be the words of the Holy Spirit.
Both of these passages talk about God’s ability to communicate. And God uses the strangest means of communication we can think of: fallible humans.
It’s incredible when you think about it. God entrusts messages that are vital to the survival and flourishing of the entire species, or at least entire nations, to people. And we are responsible for discerning, with God’s help and the help of the scriptures, whether or not God truly is speaking through someone.
This should give us considerable pause. Whether we are the one speaking, or the ones hearing, we have an enormous responsibility to be faithful to God. Let us not take it lightly.