Prophesy O’ Prophets
This heading is for you and me, those of us who speak for God. The definition of a prophet is one who speaks for or does the will of God revealing his purpose for our salvation. Are we equipped to do this according to what type of training has each of us received to convince people to return to God?
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you. Ah, Lord God! I said, I know not how to speak; I am too young.” (Jer. 1: 5 - 6). Here is just one whom God chose to announce his concern for those who were not doing what they were ordained to accomplish, watching the priests ignore their calling to accomplish the ultimate salvation for his people.
Amos, although not chosen like Jeremiah, nevertheless wrote poetry that denounced the hollow prosperity of the northern kingdom compiled in Damascus, Philistia, TYre, and Edom. Again, here is a prophet sent by God to warn the kingdoms that were sweeping across the country drawing the Israelites away from God and there was only so much time they had to turn back.
Against Aram; “Thus says the Lord; for three crimes of Damascus, and for four, I will not revoke my word; because they threshed Gilead with sledges of iron, I will send fire upon the house of Hazael; to devour the castles of Ben-hadad. I will break the bar of Damascus; I will root out those who live in the valley of Aven, And the sceptered ruler of Ben-edem; the people of Aram shall be exiled to Kir, says the Lord.”
The following areas will suffer similar punishments with only the types for each changing. The other communities are Philistia, TYre, Edom, Ammon, Moab, Judah, and Israel. There is a parallel to all this that God promised to inflict upon these nations because of their ignoring the dictates that were handed to them and they rebelled.
What is that parallel? The 21st century we are now living in where there are too many rulers, just like those during the time of Amos. Need I mention Washington D.C? Jeremiah also struggled against the backlash of the priests in his time that ignored God’s mandates.
Another prophet, not in a chronological order, was Joel. Here we see a continuing reflection of God ready to inflict punishment for more than one incident, but mostly for failing to adhere to his commandments which are not hard to follow. The final poem is found in Joel as a Judgment upon the Nations. Following this writing beginning with verse chapter 4 verse 13, God says; “Then shall you know that I, the Lord, am your God, dwelling on Zion, my holy mountain; Jerusalem shall be holy, and strangers shall pass through her no more.” (Jl. 4: 17).
We are called,as these giants of prophecy, to announce and warn those under our charge to beware, change their outlook about God, and become purveyors of good news themselves before it is too late. Each of us is a prophet in some fashion since those who teach about God are modern prophets. The average person in the pews should try to become announcers of the scriptures, but those who are in Holy Orders have a much clearer obligation. Accepting the words of the bishop and his hands upon our head makes each one of us accountable more than the average parishioner. We are the prophets of the 21st century. The first question Christ will ask us; what did you do with that gift of Holy Orders?
Ralph B. Hathaway