Today we continue our series on Words.
Yesterday in Words that encourage myself, I shared three verses of scripture that encourage me. The Bible is filled with many others, a quick Google search will give you dozens. I also shared the most encouraging words are not straight out of the Bible, but rather spoken from the mouth of a friend.
Today I want to cover being that friend.
Part 2 Words That Encourage Others…
“Moreover He said to me: “Son of man, receive into your heart all My words that I speak to you, and hear with your ears. And go, get to the captives, to the children of your people, and speak to them and tell them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,’ whether they hear, or whether they refuse…Then I came to the captives at Tel Abib, who dwelt by the River Chebar; and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days.” Ezekiel 3:10-11, 15
Israel had been taken in captivity. The nation was devastated, the people depressed. It was their own fault, they had rebelled against God for decades and now a foreign nation came to take them away.
But God did not forget His people. He prepared a Prophet with His Word. Words meant to encourage. Words designed for this period of purification.
Ezekiel rushed to Preach to them, but upon arrival he just sat with them.
Can you see this picture clearly. He was given Word from God. He was armed. He rushed to the scene to tell them what was on God’s mind…with attitude. This was not going to be pretty.
But when he got there he just “sat where they sat” for seven days, and did not utter a word.
It was a glorious day as Jesus prepared to teach. All the people were present to hear the great Rabbi. He was eloquent, he was persuasive. He taught in reality and not in tradition. He was relevant.
Suddenly there was a commotion. A woman, barely clothed, was thrown at Jesus’ feet. She was disheveled and shamed. Fear consumed her as her eyes darted from one accuser to the next. She looked out in the crowd and saw people she knew. Her accomplice was not with her, she was alone.
They said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” John 8:4-5
She glanced at Jesus. She did not know what to expect. She heard of Him and His miracles. He was said to be of God. The same God who’s law was condemning her.
But Jesus said nothing. He just stooped down besides her and started writing in the dirt. What was this about? Why does He remain quiet?
The crowd started to murmur, people were confused. Seemed pretty simple, adultery means death. But He just kept writing in the dirt.
The question was offered again, and again. Jesus looked briefly at the woman, then addressed her accusers, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” John 8:7
There was Silence. Not a word spoken. A thud was heard. The sound of a rock dropping, and another and another. People started to leave, leaving their rocks behind with Jesus and the accused.
Alone with her he asked, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”
She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”” John 8:10-11
Before Jesus spoke, He stooped.
That is the most profound picture of Christ’s character. Think of it. He stooped down from heaven and lived among us. He stepped out of Glory, and was born in a backwater town called Bethlehem.
He did not come out of the womb preaching. He sat where we sit. He walked among us and saw our suffering and dealt with our delimmas, and then when He fully realized our condition, He started the most powerful movement in the History of the World. It all started with Him stooping.
…“who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:6-8
Apply Stooping Before Speaking…
Any words you use to encourage another must start with stooping.
Stooping is connecting.
Each week I attend a Men’s Small Group. It’s where I connect with other men. We all have issues and some are not pretty. Some are self inflicted, others are life having its way.
We sit, we listen, and we advise. We hear what others are going through, and often it’s familiar territory. But most important is we get to know each other. We become familiar, and with that comes trust and compassion. Mix that in with the Holy Spirit and you have a powerful ministry.
Tomorrow we close with Words That Encourage God.