"A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a faithful envoy brings healing."
During the US-Mexican war, the future Confederate general Robert E Lee had an important message that was to be given to his general. He traveled over mountainous terrain covered with sharp, volcanic rocks during a storm in the night. When he reached the general's camp, he was told the general had moved on. So he re-crossed the awful terrain to where he was told the general had moved to. Yet again on arrival he was told the general was not there. So he again had to re-cross the difficult ground. This time he found the general and gave him the important message which helped the army gain victory. For his trouble Lee had cuts, bruises and weariness, but also the praise of his general who said of Lee's trek, " the greatest feat of physical strength and moral courage performed by any individual, to my knowledge, pending the campaign." This is an example and illustration of the proverb we are looking at today.
A messenger is someone who had great responsibility. His task is to go to whom he is sent and faithfully and accurately give the message entrusted to him regardless of what the reaction would be. His was not always a easy task, especially if the message was not a positive one. Often people take out their anger concerning the message on the messenger. Or, as in the case of David's messengers in 2 Samuel 10, the messengers could be mistreated because the message is misunderstood. The messenger's task was important. Failing in his task could have grave consequences. A messenger who changed the message or failed to deliver it could do much damage. A wicked messenger would surely be found out by the one who sent him. You can be sure that the messenger would lose his job or his life. Whatever would happen, trouble would come to him as the proverb says. There are great consequences for betraying someone's confidence in you. On the other hand a faithful messenger would find favour from the one who sent him. His faithful work would bring blessings to those who employed him. One who faithfully discharges his duties and responsibilities will bring a positive and healthy atmosphere, free from distrust.
The applications of this proverb can be two-fold. 1) It is important when we are given responsibilities to faithfully and honestly carry them out without regard for self. The greater the trust given to us, the greater our diligence to keep that trust. It is well that employees should learn this as it will benefit them much in the workplace. 2) This is a principle that can be applied to all Christians and then specifically to preachers, teachers and evangelists. All Christians are called to be ambassadors for Christ. We are given a message by God for this world. We have the responsibility to tell others of this gospel message. We must get the message right without changing it in the slightest. We must give the message regardless of the consequences. This is not only applicable for evangelism, but also for the teaching of God's word. God has given us what He want us to know. We simply need to take that message and bring it to people. We can't pick which parts of the message we like or dislike--no, the whole counsel of God must be proclaimed. And when it is, then there is healing. Our hearts are sanctified by the truth of God's word. Lives, families, and churches are healed through the Holy Spirit working through His word. Souls find new life as the gospel is preached. But to the one who misrepresents, mistreats, abuses, or neglects God's truth, there can only be trouble ahead of him. God will deal with them as He sees fit. God has made us messengers and gave us His message, let us be faithful unto death to discharge our duties and we will receive a crown of life and a rich reward.