Wednesday, April 21, 2010
"Not Unto Us!"
"And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker. Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people. Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein" (Acts 14:12-15).
The godly preacher and teacher finds horrific the drawing of people to himself rather than the Lord Jesus Christ whom he represents, and seeks to glorify.
Paul and Barnabas tore their clothes in anguish when the people sought to worship them, and vehemently proclaimed as vain the honoring of anyone other than the living God. All who represent the Lord Jesus must aggressively seek to exalt Him and direct attention away from themselves. "Not unto us, o Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy Name give glory!" prayed David. Furthermore, those who seek for genuine preachers and teachers must aggressively seek the ministry of those who confess "like passions with you," and thus the turning to the living God who alone is worthy of trust and devotion (Psalm 115:1).
We live in a generation wherein such truth is often forgotten, neglected, or even rejected. It is not easy to find men like Paul and Barnabas who understand how easily the trust of people is directed toward the messenger rather than the Savior. However, we must prayerfully make the effort to listen only to those who aggressively deemphasize their own names, faces, and merits as they spotlight the Lord Jesus. We will be held accountable for the choices we make concerning those spiritual influences to whom we expose ourselves, and the self-important, self-serving and self-exalting will inevitably mislead us (even if their message is reasonably faithful to Scripture). There are few more important issues in our walk with God, and may He lead us to those who join Paul, Barnabas, and David in the sincere and passionate determination, "Not unto us, o Lord, not unto us!"
"Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? For Thou only art holy."