“A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a faithful ambassador brings health” (Proverbs 13:17).
As Christians, we sense our calling and purpose as messengers of Jesus’ salvation and love in a lost world. Perhaps you have known the wonderful presence of God as you have communicated His truth. Yet, there is much more the Lord desires to do in us. I believe it is no mistake that the Holy Spirit chose two different Hebrew words for “messenger” and for “ambassador” in this verse. The word for the wicked “messenger” (malak) simply means “messenger.” However, the word for faithful “ambassador” (tsiyr) is a word characterized by the concept of pressure. It contains the sense of being under the constraint of the one who sends. An ambassador is not merely a messenger but is to be a faithful reflection of the character and will of the party he represents.
A messenger may feel no responsibility or pressure to conform to the will of the one sending him. We even use the phrase in our culture, “Don’t shoot the messenger.” Think about the implications of this saying. The messenger says, “I’m telling you the message, but I’m only a communicator. If you don’t like the content of the message, please don’t be mad at me; I do not necessarily share the same sentiments as the one who sent me.” Perhaps this flagrant disregard for the will of the sender can make even a successful messenger “wicked,” because their behavior misrepresents the sender.
An ambassador, on the other hand, has much more responsibility. There is an inward pressure in every circumstance not just to communicate, but to behave and interact from the right spirit. Since the one who sent the ambassador is not present, this pressure must be felt internally. And it will only be felt internally if there is a real relationship with the represented party. When countries send ambassadors, they choose someone trusted and faithful, who shares the desires and mission of that country. If the nation is friendly, the ambassador invests in good relationships; if the nation is stern, the ambassador exhibits that seriousness. He is constantly aware that, if he acts like a coward, he is saying “My country is cowardly,” or if he lacks manners, he is saying, “My country is uncouth and impolite.” There is a unity of heart between the sender and the one sent as well as a constant awareness of that link.
The Lord Jesus desires this for every single one of His sons and daughters. In fact, He insists on it. Do we have such loyalty to Christ that we see our every attitude and action as a personal reflection on Him? If not, are we willing to grow into taking this stance? When an ambassador of Jesus Christ is faithful, the result is always “health” or “healing.” It may not mean that everyone responds or each situation ends well. But the Lord is “a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). When you and I choose faithfulness, God brings healing, sometimes immediately, often later, and always in eternity.
Don’t limit your calling to being merely a messenger by refusing to turn from wickedness. Don’t give up your birth right as a child of God just to hang on to one measly sin! Take time to read each proverb in chapter thirteen. With each verse, ask the Lord, “Are you calling me to repent here?” If so, go ahead; confess your sin, ask the Lord for help to walk in His ways. Offer your body as a living sacrifice, and then expect Him to send the fire.
The Rock Church