Saturday, April 23, 2011

Great Eloquence Is Not Necessarily a Sign of a Righteous Heart!

Much of today’s world, throughout history, has been motivated and inspired by extremely articulate and eloquent men (and woman) to change the course of history. Adolf Hitler comes to mind. 
While other great orators have also influenced millions to do the right thing, such as Martin Luther King, Jr., and John F. Kennedy, for the most part, if their message does not emanate from God and His will for mankind, then it is mere puffery! But He who has faith and trust in God knows that He teaches the righteous man, regardless whether he has poor speaking abilities, and will use his mouth to bring forth the word of God. Moses is probably one of the best examples we have that proves this point, as we read in Exodus 4:10-16:
10And Moses said unto the LORD, O my LORD, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. 11And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? 12Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.13And he said, O my LORD, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send. 14And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart. 15And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do. 16And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God, (Exodus 4:10-16).

Moses, lacking eloquence, trusted in God to provide His word to impart His message to those who needed to hear it. Many have tried to speak on His behalf but have not been blessed with God’s wisdom. Albeit, many educated men with refined and clever speaking ability have tried to impart the wisdom of man, they have been upstaged by those whom God has chosen as His spokesperson.

God clearly makes this point again, through the mouth and writings of Solomon, who wrote the Proverbs, when he stated: 7 Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince, (Proverbs 17:7).

Many may claim to know God and through excellent speech believe they speak on His behalf. But, as it states in Psalms 50:16-17. God warns the haughty of eloquent speech, thusly:

16 But to the wicked person, God says:“What right have you to recite my laws, or take my covenant on your lips?17 You hate my instruction and cast my words behind you.

We are also told in the scripture that one of the main attributes of those who claim to know and follow the word of God, cause strife that goes against God’s will, many by using clever words and eloquent speeches:

17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple, (Romans 16:17-18).

We see in the New Testament another great individual like Moses who was not known for his eloquence, the Apostle Paul. Here we have probably two of the greatest men in Bible history, who were not blessed with great speaking abilities, but yet God used them in a mighty fashion, because they surrendered their will to the calling of God. Paul speaks of his lack of eloquence in 1 Corinthians 2:1-7:

1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. 2For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 4And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 6Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: 7But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory, (1 Corinthians 2:1-7).

Paul’s speaking abilities were not only bad, he was also criticized for not being necessarily an attractive man by many as we see 2 Corinthians 10:10: For his letters, say they, are weighty and in powerful; but his bodily presence is weak and his speech contemptible.

A.W. Tozer, a disciple of God who was blessed with much wisdom addressed this issue in his book, Tragedy in the Church: The Missing Gifts. He begins by quoting an all too often needed scripture that reminds the body of Christ that it should not be swayed by the eloquence of the messengers but of the message itself. For that matter, Tozer cites a verse that tells us that God actually uses people who are not only unsightly and poor of speech, but foolish people who are often called morons by the haughty and pious:

For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty, (1 Corinthians 1:26, 27).

Christian believers and Christian congregations must be thoroughly consecrated to Christ's glory alone. This means absolutely turning their backs on the contemporary insistence on human glory and recognition.

I have done everything I can to keep "performers" out of my pulpit. I was not called to recognize "performers." I am confident our Lord never meant for the Christian church to provide a kind of religious stage where performers proudly take their bows, seeking personal recognition. That is not God's way to an eternal work. He has never indicated that proclamation of the gospel is to be dependent on human performances.

Instead, it is important to note how much the Bible has to say about the common people--the plain people. The Word of God speaks with such appreciation of the common people that I am inclined to believe they are especially dear to Him. Jesus was always surrounded by the common people. He had a few "stars," but largely His helpers were from the common people--the good people and, surely, not always the most brilliant. Tragedy in the Church: The Missing Gifts, pg 5, By A.W. Tozer.

It is interesting to note that the word foolish in this verse that Tozer cites is the Greek word moros, from where we get the word we know today as moron. Can you imagine that? Moros means and identifies people who are considered to be dull, sluggish, and stupid, worthless and some who are also viewed as scoundrels.

But, as Tozer states, Jesus always surrounded Himself with common people, not with those who viewed themselves as being talented with great speaking abilities, educated nor with high positional status in their respective professional or religious communities.

When Jesus returns, and we look upon His dais in the Kingdom of God, many of us who believe we contributed much to enhance the church’s mission, will be surprised by those unknown soldiers of Christ, that will be seated closest to Him, who sought nothing else but that God would receive the Glory, instead of heaping upon ourselves the unmerited credit and recognition we seek in vain.

For information about the author and his books, The End Times Passover and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation, please click on Joe Ortiz

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