The voice of the truth: We have all grown up hearing that we should always tell the truth. Tell the truth and the truth will set you free.
A while back in our Sunday School class, we got into a discussion about what is truth. The question was asked the question, and of course. We all jumped on the same band wagon and said, it is not telling a lie. Being honest, Being forthright, or as I have noticed most Native Northern Neckers like to say, telling it like it is. No matter how ill said it may be.
But Rom got us all. He said no, the truth is referring to Jesus, who is the Word of God. For the word of God is truth. For what does the word of God do, it sets us free. It frees us from sin and death. Furthermore it gives life; it breathes into us the spirit of hope and renewal. That is the voice of truth.
Case in point. The passage from I Kings this morning is about Elijah going to Zerephath at the instruction of the Lord, where he meets a widow with a son who is about to ready to end their life and their misery.
But when Elijah arrives he asks for water and a morsel of bread and ensures the woman that if she will prepare this for him that God will take care of her and her son. That God would provide the sustenance they would need during the famine.
But as we get to the part that was read this morning, we learn that the son dies of a severe illness. The woman is devastated and pleads with Elijah, “What have you against me, O man of God, you have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance and to cause the death of my son.”
How often, have well meaning Christians believed fully that this is what telling the truth was all about? Pointing out the flaws, the sins, the bad decisions that others have made and making them pay for it. Casting people out of churches because those people somehow didn’t measure up to someone else’s standard. How many people have grown up in the church fearing yet believing that God is the wrathful God who is ready to strike someone down dead with grave illness or injury: All because you didn’t do what you were suppose to.
The woman is the one who brought up the fact that at some point in her life she had sinned against God, no doubt the son was most likely the result of the sin she is referring to. It is the guilt that she feels that holds her as a slave to that sin.
She goes to Elijah and cries out to him, “What have you against me? You have come to bring my sin to remembrance. Meaning at some point she was going to have to pay.
Isn’t that what we think? We pay for the sins we commit. That is – God, sooner or later demands retribution, payment. After all, it’s his law we broke.
But is that what truth is all about? Is it remembering someone’s past mistakes is it reminding them of it for the rest of their lives, someone who has tried so hard to put the past behind them, and move on with their lives with lessons learned, a little wiser, a little more compassionate?
People do need to hear the truth, but the purpose of the truth is not to hold it over someone, but to help them grow into a better person, it is to give them another chance at life, and just like the woman in today’s passage, it is to help them have a little more faith in God, than just being a grim reaper.
Elijah probably had no idea what the woman was talking about when she came to him. In fact I am convinced of it, because he very calmly tells the woman to bring her son to him and then takes him and goes up into an upper chamber alone with the boy, and there he more or less says to God, Well that was egg on my face, and challenges God, taking the woman’s argument to God. “Are you so vengeful that you would even take the life of this woman’s son whom you have sent me to stay with?”
And what does the text say? It says that God listened to the voice of Elijah, and the life of the child came into him again.
The point is that the truth is that this is not who God is. God does not look for retribution or payment for every sin we commit. But God does seek truthfulness. That is not to say that there are no consequences to our actions. If you jump off a 100 foot building to a concrete sidewalk below and expect to live, you are going to be disappointed.
If you commit a crime and expect that everyone else is going to be ok with that you will have another thing coming. But it is not God who has sent you to jail, it is the society that has sent you there. God will hold you accountable, but only for the purpose of helping you to see the error of your ways.
The real truth here is God is more concerned about justice, and righteousness that brings about peace, than he is about retribution,( tit for tat. Eye for and eye and tooth for a tooth.)
When Elijah brings the boy back down to his mother and she sees her living son. She exclaims with great joy, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth!
She says this because this woman, who had let her guilt run her life for-ever how many years finally understood who God really is and what truth is really all about.
IN the truth of God, the word of God, she found not death, not punishment, but new life, and freedom. Know the truth and the truth will set you free.
Do you know the truth? Do you still live in the shadows of your sins committed years ago? Do you hang on to the memory of your sins or the sins of others, and remind them of them like an alarm clock that can never be shut off?
Then I would suggest that you really don’t know the truth, and I simply invite you to hear again the word of God.
This is taken from Luke’s gospel, the 7th chapter verses 11 – 13.
“Soon afterwards he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went with him. As he approached the gate of the town, a man who had died was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow, and with her was a large crowd from the town. When the Lord saw her he had compassion for her and said to her, do not weep. And he said to the young man, I say to you rise! The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.”
The truth is the Word of God is in our midst not to take life, but to offer it; it is offered to you. I invite you to take it this morning.