“Hear ye, hear ye!”
Long before Facebook, before Google, before cable news, and before newspapers was the Town Crier. Dating back to the 18th century, Town Criers were elaborately dressed men who would deliver the news to the town. Often carrying a large bell to gain the attention of the townsfolk, they would then declare out, “hear ye!” When the crowd had gathered, they would deliver the important news. Back in those days, if you wanted to “share” a story, you actually had to tell someone.
The Town Crier was an important part of society, keeping the people apprised of current events. But long before the Town Crier, David instituted his own version of it: the Town Prophesier. This person had an even more important job than keeping the town up to date on the current events or town scandals. His job was to announce the Word of the Lord.
1 Chronicles 25:1 David, together with the commanders of the army, set apart some of the sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun for the ministry of prophesying, accompanied by harps, lyres and cymbals.
Can you imagine this job? The job description might have looked like this: hear from the Lord and declare it to the people. What a cool job! They even had their own band that followed them around. I’ve always thought it would be cool to live life with a soundtrack, but these guys literally had that. Set apart for the ministry of prophesying… how about that?
As I reflect on this verse this morning, what strikes me is how important it is to hear from the Lord and declare it out. It has always been important. But we don’t need Town Criers; we don’t need professional prophesiers. WE can hear from the Lord. The prophet Joel said that God would pour out His Spirit on all people and it happened in Acts 2. Now YOU can hear from the Lord. YOU can prophesy. YOU can declare out what God is saying.
You just have to take the time to ask and to listen.
2 Kings 23:3 Next, the king stood by the pillar and made a covenant in the presence of the LORD to follow the LORD and to keep His commands, His decrees, and His statutes with all his mind and with all his heart, and to carry out the words of this covenant that were written in this book; all the people agreed to the covenant.
I bet you’ve made a quiet commitment to God before. We’ve all done it – asked for His forgiveness and promised to live for Him. We whisper out our prayers in the privacy of our own living rooms. We dedicate our lives to Him in the midst of worship. It comes from our heart and is as sincere as the day is long. The words pour through our head and our spirit, affirming our desire for His ways. But does it ever come out of our mouths? Have you ever made a public declaration?
Josiah did. He stood in the presence of the Lord and in the presence of the people. He stood by the pillar and told the Lord that he would follow Him. He said he would follow the laws, the commands, the decrees with everything he had. And all the people agreed. I don’t know exactly how it went down, but I imagine the people watching and listening to their king pour his heart out to the Lord and joining in with a loud, “amen!” They said, “me too!”
There’s something special about a public declaration. The Bible tells us that we are to confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord. We ought to say it out loud for others to hear. Or how about baptism? It is a public declaration of what Christ is doing in your life. It is taking your faith public! What’s the state of your faith? Have you “gone public” with it like Josiah did? Because it is in the going public that your world will be changed. It is the going public that will bring hope, peace, and salvation to your neighbors, friends, family… and maybe even enemies. I dare you today – go public! You weren’t called to be an undercover Christian but one who lives out loud for the glory of the Lord!