Summary: How Peter encourages us to listen to the Word of the Prophets very carefully - referring to the Transfiguration.
February 10, 2002 2 Peter 1:16-21
16 We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.
19 And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
Where would the following conversation take place? "What do you want to get? I don’t care! Let’s just pick one! I want this one. I don’t want to watch that - it’s too mushy! How about this? No way!" Every time that we go to watch a video - not every time - but quite often - we have a hard time agreeing on what we want to watch. Therefore, it’s the job of marketing specialists to get you to decide to watch THEIR product. Consider how one of the networks tried to steal the crowd at half time of the Super Bowl by trying to entice the men to watch Playboy models on Fear Factor. It didn’t work. Only 6% watched it. U2 stole the show, and so did the Patriots, just as I predicted. (Ok, maybe I was wrong.) Overall, almost half of American TV’s were tuned in to the Super Bowl, so FOX won that portion of the competition. And that’s not easy to do.
One of the neatest marketing strategies that I have seen was when a company introduced a product that was going to change and revolutionize the world. It was cleverly done. They only called it "it." By not saying what "it" was, I really wanted to find out what "it" was. And when it was revealed - it ended up being a scooter that you can stand on and go up to 15 miles an hour on. Pretty neat.
In today’s text, Peter tells us to "pay attention to it." And why should we pay attention to "it"? What is God’s "marketing strategy" for "it"? We’ll find out today as Peter tells us to -
Pay Attention to "IT"
When Peter tells us to pay attention to "it," meaning the word of the prophets, this might seem difficult, or it might even seem boring. Why? If you are reading through or listening to the Old Testament according to our Faith Comes By Hearing Program, you probably noticed that Genesis was easy to read. But once you got to Leviticus, it wasn’t so easy to pay attention. Why not? Listen to the first three verses -
1 The LORD called to Moses and spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting. He said, 2 "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: `When any of you brings an offering to the LORD, bring as your offering an animal from either the herd or the flock.
It doesn’t seem very exciting to many living in 2002 America to listen to what kind of meat an Israelite was eating thousands of years ago or what kind of animals to slaughter. Whereas Genesis is a book of action packed stories, Leviticus is a book of commands and regulations, which makes it more difficult to pay attention to.
In order to offset this lack of attention, Peter reminded the Christians that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. But is that good enough for us to know that even the words of Leviticus are inspired by the Holy Spirit? Be honest about it. If it isn’t what we consider "pertinent" or "riveting", we say, "I’ve got better things to do." It’s sad, but true how disrespectful we are to God’s Word. Imagine taking the time to carefully write a letter to someone you loved, just to have them tell you your letter is boring and throw it out!
Now, the devil knows that we like to listen to stories. So what would the devil use to get us to stray from the faith? When Peter wrote this letter, he made a point of saying that he and the apostles did not follow cleverly invented stories. Later on Peter even predicted that teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. That word for "clever" can also be translated "concocted subtly" or "slyly." When you exploit someone you are using someone’s strengths or their interests or fears for your own benefit . This was happening during Peter’s time - and it has happened throughout the ages.