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Do Not Despise the Messenger

“[Josiah]…did not heed the words of Necho from the mouth of God.” 2 Chronicles 35:24

Sometimes God speaks to us through the most unlikely means. He allows his truth to flow through broken vessels and cracked pots. If we do not pay attention, we might miss it or ignore it. Even a donkey can preach a sermon with the Lord’s help. God’s truth is neither marred nor stained when passing through an unholy pipe. Unclean lips can speak the pure word of the Lord.

Such appears to be the case when Necho, king of Egypt, told Josiah to go home and mind his own business. He told Josiah not to meddle in a war that had nothing to do with Judah. But Josiah, though a good king, failed to hear God’s voice in the counsel of Necho, and it cost him his life. “And the archers shot King Josiah…so he died (2 Chron 35:23,34).

Sometimes we also fail to hear God’s word because we look down upon the instrument. Maybe it is a preacher, teacher, or speaker that doesn’t fit quite into our theological camp. Or maybe it is another believer who has some obvious flaws or gaps in their life. Or maybe it is an unbelieving neighbor, co-worker, boss or family member that gives us some truth that we don’t like, and we reject it outright because they are not Christians. Could it be that we are despising God’s messenger? And if we are, what sort of discipline might we expect to follow?

Beware. God’s truth is truth, regardless of who it comes from. If it is consistent with the Bible, don’t ignore it just because the messenger is poorly dressed, or weak, or young, or uneducated, or even godless. Weigh the words upon the scales of Scripture, and not by the outward appearance of tool God may be choosing to use. Do you look down upon your preacher or pastor because he isn’t an author, conference speaker, or professor? I would prefer a tasty, healthy meal on a paper plate to spoiled meat on fine china.

King Josiah learned the hard way. I’m afraid we often do the same.

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