Saturday, July 24, 2010

How to Speak for God

Today's reading: Jeremiah 20-25

See, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, says the Lord, and who tell them, and who lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness, when I did not send them or appoint them; so they do not profit this people at all, says the Lord. Jeremiah 23: 32 NRSV

This scripture tells me that it is a very fine line between speaking for God and speaking your mind as if you are speaking for God. Believe me, as a pastor I am very aware of this fine line! Sometimes I have said things in the midst of my sermons that I wish I could take back. At other times, I catch myself about to share something in a sermon that I know is not of God but of me. And often I have to be content with what God wants me to say when I want to share my own opinions.

How often do you speak for God? How often do others assume what you are saying comes from the Lord? Have you ever found yourself teaching, preaching or sharing with others and feel as though it is simply your own viewpoint rather than God's?

The other prophets in Jeremiah's day kept telling the people that nothing bad would happen to them. They claimed they had had good dreams from God and were speaking God's words to the people. God assures Jeremiah, who is preaching nothing but doom, that these other priests and prophets are not speaking on God's behalf. Instead, they are trying to get the people's good will and monetary support. What they are doing does not help the people as they are not trying to get the people to turn to God. Instead, they are making the people feel self-satisfied and content. Certainly, Jeremiah's words are anything but making the people happy or content!

God, how do we know when you have a message you want us to share? Please guide us in our words and actions today and all days. In Jesus' holy name we pray. Amen.

Copyright 2010 Amelia G. Sims

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