Honoring the Office; July 2, 2017


1 Kings 8:23 “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way.”

I think even Solomon was a bit taken aback by the cloud that filled the temple. (vv. 10-11) What he says here shows the generally polytheistic mindset of everyone in those days, specifying that Yahweh had no rivals. This prayer is actually ironic in the extreme, because Solomon himself later stooped to idolatry to appease his various foreign wives. That irony is heightened by his acknowledging that God’s promises are conditional on wholehearted obedience, which he obviously lacked. I feel sure the Holy Spirit guided his mouth, so that he actually spoke judgment on his later self. He said numbers of things in this dedication ceremony that were and are obviously from God, showing that God often honors the office, even in spite of the person occupying it. That was evident in Eli giving God’s instructions to young Samuel (1 Samuel 3) as well as in Caiaphas speaking out God’s plan of salvation through the cross of Christ. (John 11:49-52) This can sometimes bring about a jarring disconnect for those who are spiritually sensitive, when God’s words come through the mouth of someone who is manifestly not living as an obedient servant of God. As an extreme example, there is not only Caiaphas, but also the people who were jeering at Jesus on the cross, with no idea that they were quoting Psalm 22:8. (Matthew 27:41-43) God uses even those who are in rebellion against Him to fulfill His purposes, but they get no benefit from it themselves. That’s all the more reason for humility when we realize that God is using us. I have always liked the line from Don Francisco’s son about Balaam that says, “So if the Lord starts using you, don’t you pay it any mind. He could have used the dog next door, if He’d been so inclined.” Right now God seems to be using a deeply flawed President to accomplish some things that are very much on His agenda. Rather than focus on the flaws, God’s children need to be focused on what God wants to do, and provide prayer support. The intensity of the spiritual warfare involved is evident to anyone with spiritual perception, but we must remember that the One who is in us is greater than the one who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

This is an important point for me, because I occupy the office of pastor/teacher, and God has used me many times to speak His Word and do other things as His agent. I must not let that devolve into personal pride. I am to be deeply grateful that He would choose to use me, but not think that being used in itself gives me special status. At the same time, I am not to doubt that He does use me, and so hesitate to make myself available to Him. The moment I think, “How could He use me?” I have taken my eyes off of Him and fixed them on my own weaknesses and failures. I am to honor His call and commission on my life, without honoring myself in the process. That can get tricky! It’s clear, both from my track record and from logical analysis, that I can’t get it right consistently on my own. That’s all the more reason for me to depend on Him. He is more than able to do whatever He likes through me, and I am to keep myself available at all times.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Looking back, I can see that many times You have used me even when I wasn’t aware of what was going on. Help me not try to figure You out, but just listen obediently to whatever You say, so that You will may be done on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

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About jgarrott

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