Tuesday, April 24, 2012

“Tempered Testimonies”

    God often receives blame regarding things for which He is not responsible.

     “Your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me.  If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstraked shall be thy hire; then bare all the cattle ringstraked.  Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me” (Genesis 31:7-9).

     Jacob’s declaration to Rachel that “God hath taken away the cattle of your father and given them to me,” conveniently ignores the breeding scheme Jacob used to make the cattle ringstraked (Genesis 30:27-43).  In so doing, Jacob implied that the Lord had led him to act in a manipulating, dishonest manner.  Certainly, we might expect such disingenuousness from a man who lived much of his life as a schemer.  We must be careful, however, that we ourselves do not assign to God that which He has not said or done.

     Such caution will lead to a tempering of our testimonies, as it were.  While we may be eager to honor the Lord by speaking of accomplishments we believe to be His doing, we must also recognize that we misrepresent God if we misstate or overstate His actions.  Good intentions do not negate the seriousness of a false representation of our Lord.  “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain” (Deuteronomy 5:11).  The wise believer thus exercises much caution and deliberation before he bears witness to works he believes to be of Divine origin.
    Everything the believer says or does reflects on his or her Lord.  Certainly He is worthy of credit where credit is due, and much opportunity will present itself to “tell of all Thy wondrous works” (Psalm 26:7).  At the same time, we do well to avoid at all costs misrepresentation of our God.  His doings require no hyperbole, and deliberate, thoughtful, truthful testimony always bears the best and most bountiful fruit.

“I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.”
(I Timothy 2:7)

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