Fast, Furious...and Faulty

I'm working furiously on the course on the Book of Romans that I will be teaching in the fall. I don't mean to be sloppy but time constraints press upon me and I hurry to get as much done over the summer as I can. I read over my last chapter of work yesterday and wasn't entirely pleased about the flow of the material. Part of me whispered: "Let it go, you don't have time to go back and tweek." Another part of me delivered an entirely different message. I don't doubt the theology part, but how it's explained is a little rough. It'll do. So I quiet that other voice that says it won't do at all.

This morning as I was reading in Jeremiah I came to the passage where Jeremiah rebukes the prophets and priests for telling lies, for altering the truth to suit their fancy, for not delivering the message the people really needed to hear but "tickling their ears" with what they wanted to hear. God's prophet doesn't skimp on the details:

"Among the prophets of Samaria I saw a repulsive thing; They prophesied by Baal and led my people astray. And among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen something horrible. They commit adultery and live a lie. They strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns from his wickedness...They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. They keep saying to those who despise me, 'The Lord says: You will have peace.' And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, 'No harm will come to you.' But which of them has stood in the council of the Lord to see or to hear his word? Who has listened and heard his word?...I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied...every man's own word becomes his oracle and so you distort the words of the living God, the Lord Almighty, our God" –Jeremiah 23:9-40, NIV. The passage is a long and pointed one.

It would be easy to skip over these words since they don't apply to me. But still, there is a lesson to be learned from them. Jeremiah's words reminded me that I am not dealing with just any subject. Handling the Word of God is nothing to be taken lightly and while I don't doubt my theology or my lifestyle, I need to remember how important it is that what I say be what God has said, that I don't say "The Lord says..." when he hasn't. I need to be diligent so that I don't muddy the waters and provide any possibility for misunderstanding what the Lord has said by being careless in how I present the material, or by skimping on time spent to make things clear.

The words from James 3:1 (NIV) bang around in in my brain, driving me to pause in my hurry to get things done. James writes: "Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because we know that we who are teachers will be judged more strictly."

There are two things I don't ever want to do: 1. lead someone astray when it comes to spiritual things and, 2. misrepresent what God has said. Time to make sure that my fast and furious doesn't turn into faulty by slowing down to look and listen and take care. In the end less might be done, but it will be done better and somehow I suspect that God's concern is more with quality than quantity.

Comments

  1. Wonderful lesson to be deliberate about God's gifts and such. Great stuff, Lynda.

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