November 22, 2015

2 Chronicles 20:20 “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.”

I chose this verse reading the English, but then I noticed the difference in the Japanese. Where the NIV says, “you will be upheld,” the Japanese says, “and display faithfulness/loyalty.” Where the NIV says, “you will be successful,” the Japanese says, “gain victory.” Not knowing Hebrew I can’t say definitively which is more accurate, but past experience indicates the Japanese is a very faithful translation. In any case, the differences are something to think about. However it’s translated, this exhortation by the king is very significant. It puts the focus on God, and it shows a willingness to hear from God through someone who was not previously known as a prophet. I hope the Levite who was used by God at this time didn’t develop a swelled head and think he was somebody big after this! Jehoshaphat’s words here are good advice for all the ages. Faith in God is the foundation of genuine success in every area, and faith in His messengers can help us get specific instructions as we need them. In a sense, this whole incident has a rather “New Testament” feel about it, because God spoke through a rather ordinary person. As Paul tells us, we are to examine prophecies, and not swallow them whole just because somebody says “Thus sayeth the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 14:29) Likewise, personality cults are very dangerous, especially in the Church. However, when we have the confirmation of the Holy Spirit in us that someone has spoken the Word of the Lord to us, we need to accept that and act on it. Ego should not be allowed to get in the way, either on the part of someone speaking a prophecy or on the part of those hearing it. If our hearts are tuned obediently to God and to those who faithfully speak His Word, we will indeed have success/victory.

I am often in a position of speaking the Word of the Lord to people, though it is seldom in a “prophetic” setting. I must never let that go to my head, but at the same time I must not draw back from it or think God isn’t using me. It breaks my heart sometimes when people decline to receive the Word and fail to come into God’s salvation, and it is frustrating, even if not necessarily heartbreaking, when those who are saved decline to walk out of the devil’s traps, even when the Lord speaks the way clearly to them through me. I am not to take it personally, but continue to speak the truth in love, extending to others the grace that has been poured out on me. And I must be very careful that I don’t for a moment think that I am exempt from anything the Lord speaks through me, just because I’m the one whose mouth is moving!

Father, You are remarkably faithful to speak through me, even at times when I’m not personally aware of it. I pray that Your Word would have its full work in and through me, accomplishing that for which You send it, (Isaiah 55:10-11) for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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