Each week ministers of the Word stand before their people, a local body of believers entrusted to their care–to shepherd, to lead. It is, in my humble opinion, the greatest of callings (2 Tim. 4:1). Therefore ministers of the Word should take the greatest care to prepare themselves, to stand before those entrusted to their care, for whom they will have to give an account (Heb. 13:17). Now let’s look at how ministers of the Word may prepare themselves for such a calling:
I. Present Ourselves to God. Like Moses, before we stand before the people of God, to speak on his behalf, to his people, we must present ourselves to God–to receive from him. This is the Lord’s instruction to Moses: “Be ready in the morning, and then come up on Mount Sinai. Present yourself to me there on top of the mountain” (Exod. 34:2). However in presenting ourselves to God, we must prepare to do so (vv. 3-4).
II. Be Ready to Receive. Moses was now present before the Lord–to receive from him. “The Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord” (v. 5).
III. Worship the Lord. After being minister to, from the Lord, Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped (v.8). According to J.I. Packer, “Worship in the Bible is the due response of rational creatures to the self-revelation of their Creator.” You see, Moses was compelled, moved, if you will, by the self-revelation of the Lord as compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, and so on (vv. 6-7).
IV. Listen to the Lord. From vv. 10-26, we find Moses listening to the Lord, with the intent to stand before the Lord’s people, to speak on the Lord’s behalf. Moses was to write down what he received from the Lord while in a listening posture (v. 27).
Today, as ministers of the Word, while we are not able to ascend Mount Sinai to receive specific instructions from the Lord, we must however enter our study, and prayerfully, as we study the Word of God, listen to what the Lord has to say to his people through us.
Only when we have attended to these things are we truly ready to stand before our people–actually, the Lord’s people–to speak to them, on his behalf (vv. 29-35)–for we are simply messengers and servants.