Isaiah 52:7 expands on what Paul is writing about here, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!” In both Scriptures we find no specific group addressed…no one explicitly charged with carrying out the mission. That’s because it’s every Believer’s duty to tell others about Jesus. “But I’m not a Preacher!” you counter. I would then direct you to Matthew 28: 19-20 where Jesus gives the Great Commission to His disciples who were just like you. They held no Titles or Higher Education, yet changed the world. Finally, I would urge you to read Ephesians 6:10-18, the Armor of God…and focus on verse 15, “And your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of Peace.” We have all been sent forth to share with the world the Message of Salvation through Jesus Christ. All it takes is being ready, willing and able to do so.
Whatever you’re thinking about God today…He has not changed. Nor has His intentions been altered or diminished by man in anyway. “I am the Lord Who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, Who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense.” (Isaiah 44:25) God’s plans and purposes are eternal and everlasting – regardless of what man thinks he can do…”The Lord will carry out His purpose.” (Jeremiah 51:12) So today, take your eyes off the world and lift your face upward to the unchangeable God Who is still in control. For, “He thwarts the plans of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success.” (Job 5:12) And remember to pray for our nation – Because, “Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord.” (Psalm 144:15)
At that final judgment day, we will all give a reckoning of everything we’ve ever spoken. Our own words will either vindicate or pass sentence on us. Every reckless slip of the tongue with no concern for the consequences or who we’re hurting will be examined. Every off-hand remark spoken in anger will be duly noted. But like-wise, every expression of faith and trust in Jesus Christ as evidenced in a ongoing personal relationship with Him will exonerate us. Careless words, spoken in haste, have always been the downfall of mankind. Proverbs 10:19 warns us, “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.” Our careless words can never be taken back once they have left our mouth… and one day, we will have to give an account for them.
The notion of this verse is very sobering . For we assume God listens to our prayers and hears us when we call to Him…but this verse shows it can be otherwise. And it’s not the only place in the Bible we read of God repeatedly calling to His people, “Reform your ways and your actions”…calling again and again with the intention of eliciting a very specific response…the response of His people returning back to Him. We find this notion again in Micah 3:4, “They will cry out to the Lord, but He will not answer them. At that time He will hide His face from them because of the evil they have done.” The bottom line is…God is not obligated to listen to His people when they are habitually rebellious, disobedient, and corrupt… and refuse to listen to Him.
Mankind has always been a stiff necked and stubborn lot…while in contrast, our Lord has always been the One to try again and again to patiently bring us back. But as Jeremiah 11:7 sadly tells us, “I warned them again and again, saying, ‘Obey Me.’ But they didn’t listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubbornness of their evil hearts.” But make no mistake, God’s longsuffering has limits…His tolerance for disobedience only to a certain point. And as we see above, when that fateful point is reached, God’s anger will flare without remedy.
Today would be a good time for all of us to examine our actions and conduct under the unyielding light of God’s truth. It starts with a sober assessment of our motives, followed by a solemn soul-searching of where we are faith-wise. It means asking ourselves questions like, “Am I listening to God or man?” or “Am I going along with men’s teachings without reading it for myself in the Bible?” So much deception is swirling around us now a days…we need to be careful, for “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” (I Corinthians 8:2) This spirit of deception will cause you to think of yourself more highly than you ought…in other words, that you are beyond being deceived.
You don’t hear the word backsliding used much anymore. Backsliding is a moral lapse of judgment and disobedience…a wayward decision, not always openly rebellious, but still falling short of God’s standard. Backsliding can be filled with arrogance such as Isaiah wrote, “The look on their faces testifies against them: they parade their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it.” But regardless of how subtle or brash the backsliding is…it’s still sin, and all misdeeds have consequences. But it’s at that point that we must repent and ask God for forgiveness…and pray, “Help us, O God our Savior, for the glory of Your Name; deliver us and forgive our sins for Your Name sake.” (Psalm 79:9)
What Jesus is promising here to His disciples is the Holy Spirit…the Spirit of Truth. (John 14:16) And as Believers, we also have been endowed with the Holy Spirit. (II Corinthians 1:22) Armed with this same Spirit of Truth we must then, as Jesus commanded His disciples, “Preach repentance and forgiveness of sins in His Name to all nations.” Now is the time to take our eyes off the temporal to the eternal, and to heed the higher calling Jesus spoke of here. For Jesus told His disciples in John 15:26-27, “When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth who goes out from the Father, He will testify about Me. And you also must testify, for you have been with Me from the beginning.” Lift up your eyes today to this higher calling…for you have been more than equipped with the Holy Spirit who bears witness and glorifies Jesus Christ with the redemptive and saving truth of the Gospel.
These verses are part of the Prayer of Dedication for the Temple Solomon built for the Lord. But I want to apply this prayer to another Temple…that Temple is you and the Body of Believers – the Church universal. I Corinthians 3:16 says, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s Temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” And then I Corinthians 6:19 tells us, “Do you not know that your body is a Temple of the Holy Spirit, Who is in you, whom you have received from God?” Finally in II Corinthians 6:16 we read, “We are the Temple of the living God.” We are the dwelling place of the Lord…both individually, and collectively as the Body of Believers. And despite what we may see around us…God has not abdicated, or relinquished His Temple, Throne, power, or authority to anyone or thing. Remember, you have been chosen as a dwelling place for His Name…and as part of the Church Body, you all have been joined together to become a holy Temple in the Lord. (Ephesians 2:21-22)
Think about this for a moment…to the world, as a Believer in Christ, you are either a good or bad example. You are either imitating Christ-like behaviors, or acting like the rest of the unsaved world. You are either allowing yourself to be crushed by the weight of trouble and affliction, or embracing with heart and mind the Good News of the Gospel Message. We are to be imitators of Christ and model Him to all we come in contact with…Believers and unbelievers alike, or as Paul exhorted Timothy, “Set an example for the Believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.” (I Timothy 4:12) The world is watching you and how you react to tribulation. Is your conduct worthy of the Gospel?