THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2014
EMPOWERED TO WITNESS - 8
2 Kings 17:5-18
We are called to holiness, to witness, and to mission. In
order to be able to respond well to the call, things need
to happen, that is, the Lord’s will in our lives. On
the other hand, if we reject the Lord’s call, dire things
God raised a people from Hebrew slaves in Egypt. He entered
into covenant with them, that He would be their God and they
would be His people. He gave them the promised land. They
were to be set apart, to be holy, unlike all the other nations.
Unfortunately, the Israelites “followed the surrounding
nations whom the Lord had commanded them not to imitate.”
(2 Kgs 17:15c). “They rejected his statutes, the covenant
he had made with their ancestors, and the warnings he had
given them.” (2 Kgs 17:15a). Israel under God had grown
to be a mighty and prosperous nation. But now “they
surrendered themselves to doing what was evil in the Lord’s
sight, and provoked him.” (2 Kgs 17:17c). The results
were tragic. “The Lord became enraged, and removed them
from his presence.” (2 Kgs 17:18a).
God’s holy people, we are to “give up (our) evil
ways and keep (God’s) commandments and statutes, in
accordance with the entire law” (2 Kgs 17:13b). We are
called to be saints. In God is our protection. In God is our
guidance to do what is right. If we are not walking on the
path of holiness, then we are regressing along the path of
darkness. If we are not going deeper into the bosom of God,
then we are endangering ourselves with more of the world’s
Now as God’s people we are also called to be witnesses.
We witness by the testimony of our holy lives and by the word
we proclaim. The word we proclaim would be ineffective if
we lived lives not in accordance with God’s will. We
would be hard put to call people to repentance if they see
that we have not repented ourselves. We would be hard put
to encourage people to live Christ if they do not see Christ
in our own lives.
says, “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s
eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?
How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that
splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in
your eye?” (Mt 7:3-4). You would be a “hypocrite”
(Mt 7:5a). And others will see that hypocrisy. Thus you would
not be an effective witness. You would in fact be denigrating
the name of Jesus.
we work on our own walk to holiness. It does not mean we need
to be perfectly holy before we can proclaim the gospel. But
at the very least, what should be in our eye, compared to
the one we are evangelizing, is the splinter and not the wooden
beam. And if there is to be any wooden beam at all, let it
not be on our eye, but let it be that on which we are crucified,
as a martyr.
Now if we are not growing in holiness, and thus most probably
regressing in our Christian life, if we are not removing the
wooden beam from our eye or the dark stains from our lives,
we will not only be ineffective in our efforts at witnessing,
but we will be easy prey to the enemy, which we are engaging
in spiritual warfare. We are called to mission, and in responding
to this call, we become warriors for our God. It is God who
empowers us, and the only one who can assure the ultimate
victory. But if God is not with us, because we are unholy
warriors, then we are in deep trouble. As we suffer defeats,
we will have to face the stark reality and ask, “Was
it not you who rejected us, God? Do you no longer march with
our armies?” (Ps 60:12).
face intense spiritual warfare. The enemy is powerful. On
our own we are weak and powerless. We can only survive and
be victorious if God is with us. And indeed, if we are growing
in holiness, and if we are doing effective witnessing, then
we can call upon our God. “Raise up a banner for those
who revere you, a refuge for them out of bow shot. Help with
your right hand .... Give us aid against the foe” (Ps
60:6-7a,13a). We fight under the Lord’s banner, and
He protects and empowers us. Then we can be assured: “I
will triumph over Philistia.” (Ps 60:10c).
God has shown us the way to being empowered to witness.