1 Corinthians 14 is an unusually important section, because it gives a clear picture of what the gift of tongues was designed to do and therefore gives another basic criterion for judging whether or not that gift is valid today. Beginning in verse 20 Paul begins to explain the true purpose of tongues, and quotes from Isaiah 28:11-12, where hundreds of years before Christ, the Lord told Israel that one day He would speak to this people by strange tongues from the lips of strangers. despite this miraculous sign, however, Israel would not listen to God. The heart of chapter 14 and the most important truth about this phenomenon is that it was given as a sign to unbelieving Israel. This gift was a three-fold sign, one of curse, blessing and authority. A curse, because it proclaimed that God was setting Israel aside for a time, to work through another people group (today that is the church – cf. Romans 9-11). A blessing, in that God was still offering salvation to mankind, but in a new and more complete way. And authority, because it demonstrated to the early church that God sanctioned the message of the Apostles. Yet through it all, Paul reminds us that the power of the church is not through the gift of tongues, but through the clear teaching of the Word of God. Tongues were to point to the power of the Word of God, not to be an end in themselves. Remember, the Holy Spirit guides us into all TRUTH (emphasis mine), not into a secret prayer language or emotional outbursts. The role of the Spirit is to Help us in the Christian walk, not simply to make us “feel” better. Understand, we rest in the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit because the Word of God says we do, not because we have experienced some emotional outpouring. Today, allow the Word of God to dwell in your hearts richly, my friends.