Bruce Collins, Evangelist

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Bearing Bad News

Meditation for the week of June 6, 2010

2 Chronicles 16:10 Then Asa was angry with the seer, and put him in prison, for he was enraged at him because of this. And Asa oppressed some of the people at that time.

Being the bearer of bad news can get you killed in some cultures.  I have read that In China, the emperors of old just might chop your head off if you brought them bad news.  But in King Asa’s case, we have a man that had been known as godly turning against the messenger of God who was bringing Him the word of God.  Asa had won battles that he should have lost by depending on the Lord, but then when he should have been completely confident of the Lord’s protection and provision, he turned to Syria for protection.  Syria was normally an enemy of both Israel and Judah.  Asa forgot that walking by faith doesn’t always make sense, but it is always the best way.

Why did Asa think that imprisoning the prophet would make his message ineffective?   All it did was to make sure that all his counselors would tell him what he wanted to hear.  Likely from this point on no one would have been willing to be honest with him.   

When Asa was young, he did what was right.  When he got older and established, he apparently also got stubborn and was filled with pride.  Not only did he imprison the prophet, he oppressed some of the people under his authority.  Age does not always make us wiser.

Why do we tend to think that the “bearer of bad news” is the trouble maker?  This was true in Elijah’s case when Ahab was serving Baal.  It had not rained for three years according to the word of Lord as spoken by Elijah because of the sins of Ahab and his pagan wife Jezebel.  Elijah was considered to be the troubler in Israel by King Ahab (1 Kings 18:18).  Ahab seemed to think that if we “hear no evil and see no evil, then there is no evil,” and he wasn’t happy when Elijah pointed out his sin.  

How often we see this situation today.  If only the whistle blowers in the government would mind their own business, everything would be fine.  If only people who commit gross sin against the Lord in the church were left alone and shown “love”, everything would be fine.  If only we didn’t criticize other people’s children when they are rebelling against their parents and against society and against the Lord, everything would be fine.   But when these things are brought into the open, the one who bears the message also often bears the blame for not “fitting in.”  Instead of appreciating the person who cares enough to bring the situation to light, we often tell that person to “mind their own business.” 

Even the preacher of the Gospel faces this problem.  We know that the Gospel is both good news and bad news.  The good news is that Christ died for our sins, was buried and was raised again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).  The bad news is that He did this for sinners.  Now we know that in our relationship with one another it is wise to look for the good in people, but when we preach the Gospel we have to face the fact that there is bad in people.  That “bad” is represented by a self-willed nature that wants to believe that everything is going to be all right if we just do the best we can.  But nobody has ever done the best that they can.  We have to point that out if we are going to be faithful to the Gospel message.  We also have to point out that God judges sin and unbelievers will suffer eternal conscious punishment when they die.  When we preach this, some people think we are trying to give them and their children nightmares.  Some people assume that we are trying to tear down their self-esteem.  Who wants to be told that they are SINNERS!  That is bad news and the bearer of it is not always well received. 

Thank God, there is good news, but it is only good news to those who believe the bad news.  When we believe the good news, we are thankful that someone told us the bad news so that we could be saved.

Acts 13:38-39 says,  "Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.”

Let us not blame the messenger when he points out our sin.  He is not the problem, we are.

Bruce Collins

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