READ: Psalm 105, Micah 3, John 9, Ephesians 5
Followers of Jesus need not envy any mythical figure, past or present; neither Ulysses or Superman has anything on those who are filled and controlled by the Spirit. Micah 3:8 reminds us that we can be filled with power, justice, and might towards the priority of proclaiming (verbally) God’s Word. A priority on verbal proclamation does not diminish the importance and necessity of complementary ministry, even as a minister’s priority on his or her relationship with God and family does not diminish the importance of his or her vocational activity.
In our obedience to verbally proclaim the gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth, there is going to be great resistance and suffering. The Bible interestingly refers to Joseph’s assignment in reference to “his word coming to pass” (Psalm 105:19). On the way to the fulfillment of Joseph’s destiny his “feet were hurt with fetters, [he was] laid in irons, and the word of the Lord tested him” (vv. 18-19). All this is in the context of “making known His deeds among the peoples” (v. 1). It is clear that the advance of the gospel not only includes but requires suffering. Which makes God’s promises all the more intriguing. God promises that He will not allow anyone to touch His anointed spokespeople, even that they will not suffer harm (vv. 14-15). This seeming dissonance (untouchable and destined to suffer) is reconciled simply by this: We are indestructible until our time. Both promises of God are true–God will both keep us and deliver us from trouble, and He will allow us to hurt, sometimes even to endure unimaginable horrors. Both promises are comforts.
The promises of immunity are comforting. We can obey God’s repeated order “not to fear,” because we have superpower shields around our mind, body, and spirit. We are indestructible! We can live in the most chaotic countries, the most dangerous inner cities, among the most violent peoples, through civil war, disaster, and upheaval. We can charge the giants with a giggle because none of them can touch us! What assurance immunity is to the messenger, burdened with an unpopular message. We can go to the hardest places with the most inflammatory message because God has guaranteed safe passage.
The promises of suffering are comforting. Even as God promises protection, He promises suffering. If at any time our immunity is lifted, we can endure the resulting agony with the assurance that God has allowed it to happen. We can be unshakable under duress knowing that it has been allowed and purposed by a loving Father. He will take us through or take us to His heavenly home, either way He will bring “out His people with joy” (v. 43).