So the question comes back to you: would you be willing to speak a bold word for God? Would you still be willing to speak it if you knew that it applied to you, too?
What about that judgmental word you want to speak to someone else? That word where you're so sure that you're right about it? Would you speak that one if you knew that it applied to you, too?
Most of us think that being a prophet is a tough job; and it is. It's difficult to be the one sent out into the world with a word of truth, especially when that word of truth is a hard truth or in today's age, when the world is hostile to real truth. We think that being a prophet, speaking truth, requires a kind of courage that we just don't have. That we're not sure we could muster, even for God. That we're not sure we would even want to have, if it means that God would ask us to do things like stand in front of the king and announce God's judgment on Israel.
And being a prophet does require some courage. It does require being bold. But it also requires humility.
I think that's what the world is missing from our witness. I think that's why the world gets all up in a bunch about what the church is trying to say. We talked about this a little bit a couple of days ago, how the world calls us hypocrites, but even the world knows this is not the right term for it; it's arrogance, and the world sees it louder than they see any truth we're trying to speak.
Being a prophet requires being humble. It requires always remembering that when no rain falls, your fields don't grow, either. That when the earth shakes, your knees tremble, too. That when God speaks, you fall on your face just the same as everyone else. It requires remembering that when God so loved the world, He loved you, yes, but that when Christ died for sinners, that also means you.
You have to know that, but you also have to be able to push all of that aside and trust in the goodness and the grace of the God who sent you - as well as His power. You have to speak His word in such a way that He gets the glory, but you recognize what it means to be a people, too. It's a tough balance; it's hard to do.
For what it's worth, Elijah nails it. In dramatic fashion. He boldly says exactly what God sent him to say, and you can just imagine him unafraid to make eye contact with King Ahab. And then, suddenly, he seems to just spin on his heels and walk confidently out of the king's throne room, walks confidently right into the drought. Right out under a cloudless sky, right out onto a parched land. Elijah speaks, and then steps boldly into the very truth he's proclaimed.
I want to say I could do it. And on my best day, I might be able to. Bold, but still humble. Confident, but not cocky. A woman of God, but one of the people of God. But if we're being honest, I think as soon as I know that the King's not looking any more, I can't help but look up at the cloudless sky or look down onto the parched land and have my own set of questions. Maybe Elijah did, too. Who knows?
What about you? Could you do it? Could you speak a bold word with confident assurance and humble acceptance? Could you look the king in the eye and pronounce a drought that you knew would parch your land, too? What would it take for you to have the faith of Elijah? What do you need to do today to start building that?