Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit.
In this passage, the Apostle Paul encourages believers to follow the way of love which is the way of;
Absence of envy
While cultivating these attitudes of love, Paul tells us to eagerly desire the gifts of the Spirit. We have and should exercise the gift of tongues but this gift is mainly for communication between us and God and is not decipherable to others because things that are deliberately kept as mysteries are transmitted through these languages.
However, the other gifts of the Spirit, when used with love, are gifts that can bring tremendous edification to the body of Christ and to individuals.
These gifts of the Spirit that Paul calls us to eagerly desire are;
The word of wisdom
The word of knowledge
The Distinguishing or discerning of spirits
The Interpretation of tongues
The manifestation of these gifts among congregations stir up reverence and gratitude towards the Lord. In the case of the gift of the interpretation of tongues, the listeners may be blessed by having the mysteries of things uttered in tongues being made plain to understand.
Let us actively desire and seek these gifts from the Lord so that we may bring honor to Him through their power.
OUR FATHER WHO IS DRAWING BACK HIS PRODIGAL CHILDREN
Isaiah chapter 57 verse 14 says this;
And it will be said: “Build up, build up, prepare the road! Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people.”
This verse is speaking of the prodigal children of God who went their own way and pursued their own lives and purposes and engaged in sinful actions.
The Lord commands that building be done for them. Roads must be prepared for them and obstacles removed from their paths as they return home.
Those returning with contrite hearts and are lowly in spirit will be invited to live with the Lord on His holy mountain as it says in verse 15;
“I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
The Lord said that even though He was angry at His people for leaving Him to chase their sinful greed, He would not stay angry at them forever.
Even though the Lord punished them and hid His face from them, He resolved to heal His people and to guide them. He promised to create praise on their lips and He offered them real peace however far they were returning from.
As Isaiah chapter 56 verse 18 and 19 says;
I have seen their ways, but I will heal them; I will guide them and restore comfort to Israel’s mourners, creating praise on their lips. Peace, peace, to those far and near,” says the Lord. “And I will heal them.”
The Lord is bringing back His prodigal children who are contrite before Him.
Let roads be prepared and obstacles be removed from their paths.
OUR FATHER WHO IS STRONGER THAN ANY WHO OPPRESS HIS PEOPLE
Isaiah chapter 51 verse 13 adjures God's people not to fear their human oppressors to such a degree;
that you forget the Lord your Maker, who stretches out the heavens and who lays the foundations of the earth, that you live in constant terror every day because of the wrath of the oppressor, who is bent on destruction?
For where is the wrath of the oppressor?
The terror of mere humans who torment them causes God's people to forget the might and power of their God who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth.
Verse 14 speaks of the desperation of the captives as they rush around so that they might appease the wrath of their captors so that they may be loosed from their chains or so that they won't be thrown into a pit to die or so that they won't be deprived of food.
They live in terror of these things but as verse 16 and 17 tell us;
But I am the Lord your God, Who divided the sea whose waves roared—The Lord of hosts is His name.
And I have put My words in your mouth; I have covered you with the shadow of My hand, That I may plant the heavens, Lay the foundations of the earth, And say to Zion, ‘You are My people.’ ”
The Lord takes His people into His care and covers them in the shadow of His hand.
My heart, O God, is steadfast; I will sing and make music with all my soul.
Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn.
I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.
Save us and help us with your right hand, that those you love may be delivered.
Here, David, the author of this Psalm, proclaims the steadfastness of his heart and indicates that the evidence of this is that he sings and makes music with all his soul and rises early in the morning to sing and play musical instruments in honor of the Lord.
David broadcasts praise among the nations and to the people to tell of the Lord's great love and his faithfulness.
David exalts the Lord and asks the Lord to let the earth be filled with His glory and he then asks the Lord to save his people and deliver them by His right hand.
David then hears a word from the Lord in verse 7 saying;
God has spoken from his sanctuary:
“In triumph I will parcel out Shechem and measure off the Valley of Sukkoth.
Gilead is mine, Manasseh is mine;
Ephraim is my helmet, Judah is my scepter.
Moab is my washbasin, on Edom I toss my sandal; over Philistia I shout in triumph.”
This enigmatic passage records the Lord pronouncing his intention to do four things when He is triumphant;
Parcel out Schechem
Measure off the Valley of Sukkoth
Toss His sandal on Edom
Shout over Philistia
The Lord then claims ownership over five places;
Ephraim (as His helmet)
Judah (as His scepter)
Moab (as His washbasin)
The psalmist, in verse 11 - 13, says to the Lord that these places can't be accessed because the Lord has declined to go out with the armies of His people.
Who will bring me to the fortified city? Who will lead me to Edom?
Is it not you, God, you who have rejected us and no longer go out with our armies?
Give us aid against the enemy, for human help is worthless.
With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies.
David asks the Lord for help in fighting their foes because any help they receive from human allies fails.
If the Lord helps them, they will vanquish their enemies and capture territory.
“Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,” says the Lord.
“Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities.
“Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.
For your Maker is your husband—the Lord Almighty is his name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.
In the narrative of this passage, the Lord tells His bride that even though she considered herself barren, her time of rejoicing is coming and she will need to prepare by enlarging her tent to fit all her children.
She is advised to stretch the fabric of her tent, to lengthen her tent cords, and to strengthen her tent pegs because those that are her's will overflow her capacity to house them.
Her descendants will be numerous and powerful and they will disperse in all directions. They will displace nations and inhabit their abandoned cities.
The Lord's bride will not be ashamed nor will she be disgraced. She will forget the shame and reproach of her widowhood.
The One to whom she is betrothed is the Lord Almighty who made her and redeemed her from a distant country.
OUR FATHER TOWARDS WHOM WE SHOULD BE SINCERELY GRATEFUL
Psalm 107 verses 3 - 5, speaking of the redeemed of the Lord, says this;
those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south.
Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle.
They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away.
This passage speaks of some of those that the Lord had saved who wandered in the wilderness unable to connect to a civilization into which they could settle.
In this wandering state, the redeemed were malnourished and their lives faded as their spirits weakened.
This was when they cried out to God in their trouble and the Lord heard them and relieved their anguish as Psalm 107 verses 6 - 9 says;
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.
He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.
The Lord, hearing the cries of His redeemed in the wilderness, led them to His civilization where they were revived and sustained and they became a people full of gratitude towards the Lord having seen His lovingkindness intervene in their lives.
This story is mirrored in the story of the ten lepers whom Jesus healed in Luke chapter 17 verses 12 - 19 which reads this way;
As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
The lepers cried out to the Lord and he healed them and told them to go to the priests to show themselves and they were cleansed from leprosy as they went.
One of the ten men, seeing that he was cleansed, returned praising God and fell down before Jesus because he recognized the profound importance of what Jesus had done for him.
Jesus asked, "Where are the other nine?"
This question brings home the point that ingratitude for the Lord's salvation will keep us from finding our way to God and we will miss His call to us to rise and go forward on our journey of faith.
Without that, we may wander in the wilderness till we finally cry out to the Lord to deliver us.
Let us always be sincerely thankful towards our Lord who is our redeemer and who paid so great a price to save us.