In Isaiah 55:8, God says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways.” This is clearly endorsed in the compilation of Holy Scripture. In Ecclesiastes 1:12, Solomon, guided by the Holy Spirit, said, “I, the preacher, was king in Jerusalem.” In the minds of men, a king is greater than a preacher in Jerusalem. But in the mind of our Great God, the preacher has a paramount place in His divine program, superior to that of a king.
How fitting to find a preacher with kingly power, royal perogatives and regal dignity! There appeared such a man, the Lord Jesus Christ, who was the Prince of Preachers (Mt. 4:17; 9:35), and Prince of the kings of the earth (Rev. 1:5).
The Preacher — His Ordination.
His ordination is not of men, but of God. In the religious systems of men, there are many ordained in ceremonial splendour and ritual, appealing to the carnal instinct, and yet, they are estranged and alienated from God; they are still in nature’s darkness. God never intended a man to preach His Word who was not saved by His sovereign grace and who has not the moral requirement for such distinguished service. This is corroborated by the Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 2:5-7, “For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus; who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle.”
The Preacher — His Ministry of Edification (Eccl. 12:9).
This verse indicates that the first essential requisite of a preacher is wisdom. The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 10:16, “Behold I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves, be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Wisdom is available from an inexhaustible source, “In Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3), and He is willing to impart the same to all who approach Him in faith, and whose deportment and demeanour meet with His approval (James 1:5-8). The injunction of a wise preacher is most appropriate here for all God’s people, “Be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing” (Col. 1:9-10). In Ecclesiastes 12:9, the preacher gave good heed and sought out and set in order many proverbs. It is demanded therefore of all God’s people and particularly preachers, “Take heed unto thyself and unto the doctrine, continue in them, for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee” (1 Tim. 4:16 and 2 Tim. 2:15).
The Preacher — His Ministry of Exhortation (Eccl. 12:10).
According to 1st Corinthians 14:3, ministry is of threefold character; edification, exhortation, and comfort. Edification and comfort ministry is most attractive, but exhortation is not so popular amongst God’s people. Yet, this type of ministry is included in that which is profitable, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). In the Book of Ezekiel, chapter 33, God commends the faithful watchman who blows the trumpet and warns the people of God, but He is strong in His denunciation of those who do not warn God’s people. “Suffer the word of exhortation” (Heb. 13:22).
The Preacher and His Congregation.
In the Book of Nehemiah, chapter 8, we have one of the most productive and prodigious convocations recorded in the Word of God. The conduct of the congregation, the respect for the preacher, and the response to God’s word are a pattern and a challenge to any gathering of God’s people today. In verse 1 the congregation was complete, united and searching for the Word of the living God. As we scrutinize verse 3, we observe there was no restlessness or agitation at the prolonged meeting, but their appetite was insatiable as they were attentive to the word spoken by the preacher. Verse 4 indicates they were an active congregation constructing a pulpit of wood for Ezra, and an analysis of verses 5 and 6 reveals they were reverent in their approach to the Word of God and worshipful at the mention of the name of the Lord, the great God. The dignity of Ezra and the Levites, the persuasive and distinct reading of God’s Word was memorable and most productive as the congregation realized the sense of the ministry and understood the things that were read.
It is inevitable that we must lament the conditions that prevail today in contradistinction to the congregation in the days of Ezra the scribe. Lethargy and apathy seem to characterize the attendance at our meetings.