READ: Psalm 40, Jeremiah 13-15, Matthew 12, Acts 19
The cost of being God’s spokesperson is as high as the privilege is sweet. “Your words were found and I ate them,” says Jeremiah, “and your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart” (Jer. 15:16). But in the very next verse Jeremiah laments that he “sits alone because of God’s hand.” We tend to forget that heaven is the minority destination, the way is narrow, and few are they that find their way to life. Accordingly, when we faithfully speak the Word of God, we are going to find ourselves somewhat lonely. Speaking God’s Word compels us to say unsettling things–even to those that we love. Intimates applaud as long as we direct God’s exhortations towards “the other,” but being God’s mouth requires non-prejudicial speaking–even towards friends and family. God’s prophets tended to live lonely, misunderstood lives.
God requires His mouths to share His passions. We find this both a blessing and a burden. It is a privilege to feel what God feels. He does not just want us to be mechanical instruments of His message–God wants us to share in the emotion, not just the content of the message. Jeremiah is known as a weeping prophet, for his messages of judgment were not delivered callously. Jeremiah entered into the anguish of God. If we enjoy pronouncing judgment, we are in the flesh and know nothing of what it costs the Father to lovingly admonish His children. God’s mouthpieces do not tend to be composed, refined, and clinical. They tend to be ragged and raw–undone by the message they participate in.
God requires His mouths to have a ruthless purity: “If you take out the precious from the vile, you shall be my mouth” (Jer. 15:19). Because of the sacredness of the message, God demands a pure spokesperson. Human nature being what it is, no mouth of God is perfect. God thus relentlessly purifies those He speaks through. There is an unyielding, unrelenting process of God to make holy the one who would speak holiness. God does not entertain a dissonance between the content of His messages and the character of His messengers. There is an obvious gap between the two, but all those who would speak for God must realize that God will aggressively narrow that gap in a lifelong cycle of difficult sanctification. Those that submit to the refining processes will be given further messages to speak, those that resist will be released to follow an easier path–but without the painful joy of speaking authoritatively for God. Which leads us to one of the most terrifying passages in all of Scripture, Matthew 12:36-37: “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”