May 29, 2014.
“My anger is hot against the shepherds, and I will punish the leaders; for the Lord of hosts cares for his flock, the house of Judah, and will make them like his majestic steed in battle.”
Are you a leader in the church? Do you teach? Before I start into this topic, I want to make it clear that I think teaching and leading are very good things, things that are necessary for the church. But, when you stop to think about the responsibility of it, it can be intimidating. I am reading though Zechariah right now and I came across this verse. It reminded me who Jesus rebuked when he came to the earth.
“The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.
(Matthew 23:2-7, 13, 15)
When Jesus came down, he called out to the world. He went out to the sinners. He gave seven woes to the Pharisees. The people who were supposed to have it right. Those who spent their lives studying the law. Teachers and leaders. “Woe,” He said. “Woe to you.” We who have chosen to teach need to realize that what we are doing is not trivial. It is not something that you can just do half heartedly, and if we mess up just say, “Oh well, no big deal.” It is a big deal.
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.
It is a responsibility, but a good one. We just have to know what we are talking about. Usually, I let the bible teach. My sermons or talks are riddled with scripture. I want His word to come out, not mine. I often pray that prayer before I speak. We are searching for truth, and I believe the bible lays out the truth. It is the best teacher.
Going back to the opening verse, the leaders of the flock of Israel had been leading the sheep astray, and The Lord was angry about it. They were still worshiping him, at least in word, but they were not obeying him. This was a serious grievous in the eyes of The Lord. I think it is still important to remember that today. Many Christians say “Well, God is not going to really punish people for that,” or “I feel like God won’t mind this too much.” “As long as I love and worship him, I’ll be good.” Is this the truth? There is a cool story in Samuel 15 that I think illistrates how this is not so. The Lord says this to King Saul, who had not obeyed his command:
And Samuel said,“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,as in obeying the voice of the Lord?Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,and to listen than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination,and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry.Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,he has also rejected you from being king.”
(1 Samuel 15:22-23)
To obey is better than to sacrifice. God wants us to have a knoledge of his word and to follow him. Let us follow Christ, glorifying him in everything we do.
Suggested Daily Reading: I Samuel 15, Zechariah 10, Matthew 23, James 3.
The Lord give you strength.