Preaching is many things I suppose, and there are many various metaphors that helpfully describe what happens during a Spirit-empowered proclamation of God’s message. This morning I’m struck by the following: Preaching is like a budding four-year old delivering his Dad’s message in childish words that nonetheless convey the truth of his Father’s proclamation.
Psalm 131 says this: O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore (English Standard Version).
Lately the Lord has pressed home on me, repeatedly, the need to come to him as a little child – truly enjoying his love, utterly depending on him, and delighting in the life he’s given to me. Funny enough, that’s actually quite difficult to do (at least it is for me)!
Preaching God’s Word is a high and lofty affair, as is any exercise of a spiritual gift for the edification of another person. It is something that can easily become about me – my pride, my ways, my desires – and not my God. It is the sort of “great and…marvelous” thing with which I could too easily occupy myself in a sinful manner. Yet, what if I sit before God like a weaned child, quieted, peaceful, and calm? And then what if, when he tells me to, I get down off his lap and run to deliver his message, albeit in my own broken and childish way, yet empowered by his Spirit? Suddenly then, preaching becomes the loving interaction of a Father and son…kind of like when you send your four-year old off with a message and chuckle in delight at hearing the manner of its delivery. The child delights in the trust of his Father and the chance to join in his Dad’s work. The Dad delights in the willing, excited, and childlike partnership of his son. It’s a beautiful symbiosis of love and glory.
Oh sovereign Lord, teach me to preach like a weaned child!