We're talking about prophets and truth because I've had a few verses jump out at me lately in my own devotional reading, and in world that doesn't care for either (prophets or truth), this is an extremely important concept.
We have established that a prophet is someone who speaks truth, not necessarily someone who tells the future. There is something else that we need to add to the tongue of a prophet, and that is this:
A prophet speaks for the glory of God.
I thought I wrote down where I read this recently, but I can't find it, which means it is one of those things that struck me in the moment as so profound that I was certain I would remember it. (Much like when you have a desperate need for something like toilet paper, so you don't even bother writing it on the grocery list...then you come home from the grocery with everything but toilet paper.) But given the time frame, it's somewhere between the latter part of Ezekiel and Joel.
The verse struck me because I immediately realized how very few of us actually speak truth for the glory of God.
When we speak truth, we usually speak it because we want to be right. We want to show our moral or intellectual high ground and put someone else in their place. We want to demonstrate our mastery of a topic or our authority over something or someone. We speak truth as power, as our means of gaining power.
Sometimes, we speak truth in judgment. We want to show how wrong someone else is. We want to make it clear to them and to anyone else who might be watching that they are wrong somehow, fundamentally wrong.
Sometimes, we speak truth because we want to inspire change. We use truth as manipulation to get what we want or to get others to do what we want them to do. We want someone to act in a certain way or we want something to be true, so we speak truth as though it already is so that the world will get on board with what we're doing or what we want to do.
Sometimes, we speak truth as the vengeance of God. We speak truth to tear down sin and sinners. We speak truth to destroy things that we know God doesn't like (even though we often fail to admit that God also does not like destroying things).
But how often do we speak truth for the glory of God?
To speak truth for the glory of God is to reveal first His love. To talk about His grace. To tell the world about mercy. To speak truth for the glory of God is to erase the line between creation and Creator, to draw the world closer to the heart of God. To stop putting barriers between us and Him, or even between us and "them." Truth builds up toward the heavens, toward the only One who is Truth Himself.
How often are we doing that?
That verse, whatever it was, jumped out at me because the answer is, "Painfully, not often enough." We use truth for all kinds of things in our world, but the glory of God is sadly not often one of them.
But what if it was?