Luke #31 – The Voice
“And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; as it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight’” (Luke 3:3-4 – King James Version).
I once had an interim pastor who was “old school” in his preaching. For example, he might say, “We better obey the Lord-ah!” It was that “ah” on the end that messed me up! It took me a couple of weeks to get used to it. Now don’t get me wrong, there was NOTHING wrong with the way that man preached; I just wasn’t used to it. As a matter of fact, his name was Reverend Groff and he could flat shuck the corn! That brother was anointed of the Lord and delivered a word from God with authority and power every week. He was my pastor when I left my home church to begin full time gospel ministry. I hated to stop hearing his preaching. The point I was getting to was this; Rev. Groff’s speech pattern, his being older, his difference in style and delivery…NONE of that mattered…he was called by God to preach and it was the message that mattered, not the man.
I want to concentrate on two words today: “the voice.” The Scripture that Dr. Luke in 3:4-6 is quoting was a prophecy of Isaiah (Esaias) from 40:3-5. Those two little words, “the voice,” put the emphasis on the work instead of the worker. This is the lesson for today.
We could certainly write a biographical account of John the Baptist that would wow any Bible student or churchman. He was flamboyant, different, and had personality. In doing that we may lose sight of the most important thing, which was “the voice”; the message.
Our concentration should be spent upon the voice, not the man. To concentrate on the man would draw us into the world’s criteria for worth or success. Now, don’t get me wrong, John was a man worth noting; a man of faith worth emulating. Still, there is a “voice” that is more important. There is a message from God in that voice more important than the man. John’s message was to speak against the pride of the Pharisees, the indifference of other religious leaders like the Sadducees, and to speak against the apathy and falsehood of the people at large. To concentrate on the man may cause us to forget the message.
Too many times today we follow preachers. I have seen folks leave churches because the preacher left. That’s wrong. What in the world were they going to the church for anyway? To see a celebrity? To follow a man? To hear a slick presentation?
Too many times today we find fault in the speaker. He is too loud. He is too quiet. He doesn’t do this or he doesn’t do that. He dresses funny. He is not as flamboyant as the last preacher. He is too flamboyant. He is dry. He is boring. Boy howdy…I have heard them all! I believe if we concentrate on the message, instead of the speaker, we will hear a word from God.
The voice is what is important. If that voice speaks by the leading of the Holy Spirit and sticks faithfully to the truth found in Scripture, then that voice is simply God’s loudspeaker. It is, after all, God who we need to hear from. If God can use a donkey to speak His message (Numbers -35), then He can surely use a preacher whom we find fault with. God desires to speak to buildings full of people every week through all kinds of preachers. Do we desire to hear? On the same token, God desires to take faulty folks, like you and me, and speak His message through us. He desires to use a “voice”. Will you be one?