Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers...
Thoughts for Today:Usually a sign is something positive that helps people believe. But there also are negative signs that act as stumbling blocks for those who have hardened hearts. For example, Mark 6:51-52: "Then he [Jesus] climbed into the boat with them [the disciples], and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened." Jesus had not only fed five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish, but then he walked on water and calmed the storm. Still the disciples weren't sure what it all meant. Their hearts were "hardened".
According to Strong's Lexicon, the word "hardened" means "to grow hard, callous, become dull, or lose the power of understanding." The disciples were not God-haters. Rather, they had become so oriented to the natural world and its limitations, they were overwhelmed when they saw Jesus supersede these laws. They were trying to place a supernatural act in their own frame of reference. When Paul quoted Isaiah (our previous passage), he was saying somewhat the same thing. Regardless of the miraculous "they would not listen." Therefore, a sign is only as good as our willingness to recognize the presence of the Lord in it, and obedience to its instruction.
Questions to Ponder:The issue of speaking in tongues has become a dividing line in the modern church. Some say it is evidence of being Spirit-filled. Others say, "God is no longer working in that way. Those miracles and expressions were for a different time." I don't agree. Why? Because I would never want to think or teach anything that would limit God in any way. If He chooses to continue to use tongues to communicate His message, then who am I to ignore Him or disagree?