Reflections: Tuesday of the Eighth Week after Trinity

Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 23:16-29
Daily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 12:1-25; Acts 22:30-23:11

“Am I a God at hand,” declares the LORD, “and not a God far away?” (Jeremiah 23:23)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. There are preachers who aren’t sent by God. The word for them is “false.” Preachers who are sent don’t just tell you about God. Anyone can do that. Preachers speak for Him. They speak from the mouth of the Lord. He has words He wants you to hear. He doesn’t want them lost to people who claim to speak for Him. He doesn’t want to be known by words that aren’t His. He doesn’t want to be spoken for. He wants to speak. It’s no less ridiculous than the God who speaks out of the sky, but it might be harder to believe. There aren’t a lot of voices speaking from the sky claiming to be God. There are lots of preachers, though. Determining the real ones from the false ones seems important.

Jeremiah seems to leave us with a simple test. False preachers preach to itching ears. Itching ears want to be affirmed, not repented. If your preacher never says anything to make you feel like a sinner, he’s false, or you need to listen more closely. If you’re a preacher and can do this stuff without offending anyone, you’re doing it wrong. The Word breaks rocks into pieces.

Sent preachers speak for God, so the words they speak agree with the rest of Scripture. True preaching does not build up those who despise the Word of the Lord, but it saves those lost to their sins. Simply put, real preachers preach the Cross for sinners.

Don’t worry about false preachers. God seems to be plenty focused on them. He’ll handle them. Pray you’re not one of them. Don’t listen to them. Listen to your sent one. Cling to the Word. It promises a God close at hand. He is not just a God who the false preachers can’t escape from. He’s a God who will be near to you. He’s a God who insists you hear His Word and promise. He insists on being the one who cares for you. He insists on being near to you in this way, to comfort, to forgive, and to save. Where your preacher speaks, God is near to help you. The Word breaks the rock into pieces. It breaks down sinners, but it does more. It crucifies the Rock, which is Christ. It forgives sinners. God has words that forgive you, and He sends you a preacher so He can tell them to you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

The sower sows; his reckless love Scatters abroad the goodly seed, Intent alone that all may have The wholesome loaves that all men need. (“Preach You the Word” LSB 586, st.3)

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch