The first job my oldest son had after graduating from college was with OSHA. When I told people that he worked for OSHA, their replies were generally two fold. First, they would say that a government job was a good job to have. Second, they would say they bet no one liked to see him coming. They were right on both counts, especially the second one. During the years he worked with OSHA, he learned that no one looked forward to his coming and few had kind words for him, when he arrived. He was often subjected to verbal insults, most of which were mumbled and not spoken out loud. While he didn’t make the rules he was hired to enforce them, making him the focus of people’s dissatisfaction
As I have reflected upon my son’s job as an OSHA compliance officer, I couldn’t help but think that it was not unlike the job of the Old Testament prophets and modern day preachers. They were and are God’s compliance officers. Today, they still don’t make the rules but they remind the people when they disobey them. When they speak words that reveal sin in their lives, people rebel and speak harshly about them.
Through the centuries the heart of man has changed very little. He is still is reluctant to hear the truth of God’s Word. He would rather hear words that make him feel good than words that bring conviction to his soul. Paul wrote to the young pastor Timothy about a time when people would refuse to hear sound doctrine. He wrote: “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths” (II timothy 4:3, 4 NIV). There have been individuals who fit this description in every generation. In response God’s prophets have been called upon to continue to preach the truth of his Word regardless of their angry responses.
I read that John Wesley asked young preachers who he was training two questions when they would return from a Sunday of preaching. He would ask, “Did anyone get angry?” and “Did anyone get convicted?” If a young man answered no to both questions, Wesley would discontinue theirs training. This may sound harsh but it isn’t a bad test to render. Those who God calls to speak His Word are called to speak the words of comfort and encouragement but they are also called upon to speak words of truth that bring conviction. We need more individuals who are willing to stand for the truth of God’s word, regardless of the cost. God may use their faithfulness to bring the revival that we need in our nation today.