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Speech, Divine Assistance During Persecution


SPEECH, DIVINE ASSISTANCE DURING PERSECUTION

God had given assurances to his representatives of his guidance in times of leadership and trial:

When God called Moses to approach Pharoah for the liberation of His chosen people, the Israelites, Moses responded, “But I am slow of speech and tongue” (Ex 4:10). God replied, “I will assist you in speaking and teach you what you are to say” (Ex 4:12).

Towards the end of David’s life, he said, “The spirit of the LORD spoke through me; his word was on my tongue” (2 Sam 23:2).

When God selected Jeremiah as His prophet, Jeremiah replied, “I do not know how to speak. I am too young!” (Jer 1:6) God’s response was: “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ To whomever I send you, you shall go; whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you” (Jer 1:7-8).

Jesus assured his disciples that, like the prophets of the past, they will have the guidance and providence of God. Thus, we see Peter, Stephen, Paul, and others defending themselves well with the teachings of Jesus, referring to the Old Testament scriptures. When the Sanhedrin questioned Peter and John, “Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, answered them” (Acts 4:8). “Observing the boldness of Peter and John and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men, they were amazed, and they recognized them as the companions of Jesus” (Acts 4:13). “Certain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen, Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and people from Cilicia and Asia, came forward and debated with Stephen, but they could not withstand the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke” (Acts 6:9-10).

Jesus affirmed that his speech was not his own and promised similar divine support to his disciples. “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works” (Jn 14:10). Jesus promised his apostles, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you” (Jn 14:15-17). “The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name— he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you” (Jn 14:26).

After the tongues as of fire rested on the Apostles on the day of Pentecost, “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim” (Acts 2:3). Paul wrote, “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the things freely given us by God. And we speak about them not with words taught by human wisdom, but with words taught by the Spirit, describing spiritual realities in spiritual terms” (1 Cor 2:12-13). That was the fulfilment of Joel’s prophecy. “It shall come to pass that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even upon your male and female servants, in those days, I will pour out my spirit” (Joel 3:1-2; Acts 2:17-18).

 


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