11 Minute Read

Today’s Bible Reading:

2 Kings 9
1 Timothy 6
Hosea 1
Psalms 119:73-96

Today’s Bible Verse(s):

1 Timothy 6:11 (CSB): “But you, man of God, flee from these things, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.”

Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):

A title that appears often in the Old Testament is “man of God.” This title was limited to those men who were prophets, men who spoke on God’s behalf to God’s people. In the Christian Standard Bible, “man of God” is used 80 times in the Old Testament. Here are just a few of those instances.

Deuteronomy 33:1 (CSB): “This is the blessing that Moses, the man of God, gave the Israelites before his death.”

1 Kings 17:18 (CSB): “She said to Elijah, ‘Man of God, why are you here? Have you come to call attention to my iniquity so that my son is put to death?’”

2 Kings 5:8 (CSB): “When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king, ‘Why have you torn your clothes? Have him come to me, and he will know there is a prophet in Israel.’”

Just to restate, the phrase, “man of God,” is used 80 times in the Old Testament and it always refers to the men who spoke to God’s people on God’s behalf.

What are some of the key characteristics of those Old Testament “men of God?”

  • Old Testament prophets were generally men of integrity.
  • Old Testament prophets prayed for and spoke God’s Word to people.
  • Old Testament prophets were hated because they confronted people with their sin and called for repentance.

Now, let’s look in the New Testament. Does the phrase, “man of God,” appear after the age of the prophets had come to an end?

Listen to how the Apostle Paul refers to Timothy, the pastor of the church in Ephesus.

1 Timothy 6:11 (CSB): “But you, man of God, flee from these things, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (CSB): “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

Clearly, the Old Testament prophets are akin to New Testament preachers.

How so?

  • Old Testament prophets and New Testament preachers are called to live lives of integrity. It gives their message credibility.
  • Old Testament prophets and New Testament preachers are to pray for the people God has entrusted to them and speak God’s Word to them (see also Acts 6:4).
  • As pastors point the way to obedience, confront people with their sin, and call for repentance, those who are godless will resist and hate the messenger just as they did the Old Testament prophets.

All of this is simply truth on a page. But it might be hard to visualize. So, let me give you a real-life example of someone who is a “man of God.”

Last year, I received a text from a pastor. My heart broke for him as we texted back and forth. I know him to be a faithful man of integrity and a man who faithfully preaches God’s Word and leads well. But, he happened to be in a church that was filled with people who wanted none of it. They didn’t want to hear the Word of God because it convicted them. They also resisted his leadership on just about every front. As a result of this years-long animosity toward the things of God, his church went through an ugly split a few years prior.

He told me in one of his texts, in a moment of utter transparency, that he was scared. The only thing he had done for well over a decade was pastor. But, he was presently, completely drained. He was tired and empty. He no longer had joy in preparing sermons and delivering them to his people. And that was not at all normal for my friend. He is a godly man who loves the Lord and His Word. But, the church had worn him out. He’s a good man but I suspect he’s thinking about getting out of the ministry.

In one of my texts back to him, I said:

“Churches are supposed to behave in such a way that their pastors can do their jobs with happiness (Hebrews 13:17). Difficult church members will answer to Jesus for treating His servants so terribly.

Also, realize that not all churches are the same. Revelation 2-3 makes that clear. It may be time for you to move on.”

Eventually, he did move on. He left the full-time ministry and took a full-time job in another industry. The last I heard, his stress level and frustration was greatly reduced.

Fortunately, I have never experienced the magnitude of what my friend went through. I’ve never experienced a church split. I’ve never had a member who was a bully that publicly, militantly tried to push me out.

But, there are plenty of my brothers in the ministry who have experienced that. And it breaks my heart. And those who mistreated “the man of God” so poorly will face Jesus on judgment day.

If you don’t think that it’s right for pastors (or any other believer) to look forward to Jesus making things on the Day of Judgment, just listen to the Apostle Paul. He was clearly looking forward to God’s judgment upon someone who brought him intense grief.

2 Timothy 4:14-15 (CSB): “Alexander the coppersmith did great harm to me. The Lord will repay him according to his works. Watch out for him yourself because he strongly opposed our words.”

Friend, if you are a member of a church and you observe that the people are mistreating your pastor, please step in to stop it. If the pastor is harmed, the church will be harmed, too. The church can only be as healthy as the pastor.

Essentially, work for your pastor’s happiness. Work with him so that he can do the job that God has called him to do. Because if he’s not able to do his job with happiness, the church won’t fair well, either.

Hebrews 13:17 (CSB): “Obey your leaders and submit to them, since they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account, so that they can do this with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”

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Lord Jesus, the church is the organization that You started and left behind for the incredible purpose of glorifying You and benefiting our world. The church is to be the communal salt and light that holds back moral decay and shines the light of Your presence and truth into a dark world. Satan would love to pick off one church at a time and his efforts are made much easier if he can harm or discourage the pastor. So, I pray for my pastor. I pray that You would enable him to continue to pursue personal holiness and call others to do the same. May he lead us to ever more increasingly push back the darkness and shine the light of Your glory in our community and world. Amen.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash