Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s whose profanities have become a trademark of his political persona, claims God spoke directly to him and ordered him to quit cussing.
Since taking office at the end of June, Duterte has threatened to kill drug dealers, questioned the pope’s heritage with an expletive, and told President Obama where he could go. And it wasn’t heaven!
While flying home from Japan last week, Duterte claimed he was looking at the sky while everyone was sound asleep. Then he heard a voice that threatened “If you don’t stop epithets, I will bring this plane down now.”
And I asked, ‘Who is this?’
And, “of course,” Duterte said the voice answered, “It’s God.”
Upon his arrival home the President pledged, “So, I promise God to … not express slang, cuss words and everything. So you guys hear me right always because (a) promise to God is a promise to the Filipino people.”
Following this announcement Duterte’s vow was received with applause, but he cautioned: “Don’t clap too much or else this may get derailed.”
A couple of observations are in order.
In the 50+ years I’ve been a Christian I’ve never literally heard the voice of God. Never. It seems fashionable today for people to talk about hearing God speak. Or God speaking to their heart. Or some kind of visual and verbal communication from God.
The only thing I know about the will of God is through His revelation written and recorded by the apostles and the prophets. The apostle Paul affirmed: “How that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets” (Eph 3:3-5).
Subjective claims of God speaking directly to people would negate obvious statements from Scripture that we have God’s final and complete Word (Jude 3, 2 Tim. 3:16-17). It’s called the Bible.
Secondly, I have heard God speak to me through reading His Word. Since it’s all sufficient, it provides me with everything I need “for life and godliness.” Regarding the matter of swearing, cussing and corrupt communication, here’s what God says.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Eph 4:29)
“But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.” (Col. 3:8)
“But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” lest you fall into judgment. (Jas 5:12)
God is very clear about our language. It should encourage. Edify. Ennoble. Salty speech, “locker room language,” and obscene expressions are not compatible with our Christian walk.
This prohibition includes using God’s name in vain. Dating back to the Ten Commandments, Jehovah forbids a flippant and profane use of his name. Text messages, facebook post and other expressions of OMG are impertinent, impious and irreverent.
Finally, if you desire to know God, His will and His Word, don’t wait for an audible message from the sky. Open His book and read it. It will enlighten your understanding. Enliven your spirit. And encourage you to faithfully follow Jesus.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman