1 Corinthians 14:7–8
“DON’T GARBLE THE MESSAGE!”
If I heard that once during Marine boot camp, I must’ve heard it four dozen times. Again and again, our outfit was warned against hearing one thing, then passing on a slightly different version. You know, changing the message by altering the meaning just a tad. It’s so easy to do, isn’t it? Especially when it’s filtered through several minds then pushed through each mouth, it is amazing how the original story, report, or command appears after it has gone through its verbal metamorphosis.
But what about the messages God has spoken?
He seems to feel terribly strong and unbendingly firm. He doesn’t leave much margin for generalities. He told more than one prophet to say it painfully straight and to make it obviously clear. He gave Moses precisely ten commandments, not “a dozen or so.” He told Jonah to go directly to Nineveh, not “whichever city seems fair to you, pal.” He mentions His interest in every jot and tittle of His Word, not just the part that’s easy to read and fun to do. No way, Jose. The God who expects His children to behave doesn’t leave for the weekend with a note on the door that says, “Whatever turns you on . . .”
Do you remember what Paul wrote to the Corinthians who had begun to scramble the Scripture with weird and senseless sounds? Drawing upon the analogy of music, he asks:
Even lifeless instruments like the flute or the harp must play the notes clearly, or no one will recognize the melody. And if the bugler doesn’t sound a clear call, how will the soldiers know they are being called to battle?
1 CORINTHIANS 14:7–8
The battle is raging. And we have clear instructions from our heavenly Commander. If ever we needed “a clear call” from the bugler, it is now. Are you responsible for passing on information? Think before you speak! Tighten your lips! Hit the right note! Don’t garble that message!