Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Going against the grain

A prophet is first and foremost God's mouth piece. They are called by God to speak the words of God to the high and mighty and to the low born.

They cannot simply speak from their mind; the prophet speaks God's words. Sometimes the words are words of comfort; other times the words are words of rebuke and coming judgment.

No one in their right mind aspires to be a prophet. Faithful prophets never live long enough to collect a pension. One becomes a prophet through the call of God.   

During times of national crisis and moral breakdown the prophet must courageously step to the front and speak an unpopular word of truth. The prophet is always going against the grain of conventional thinking. This is why most people hesitate to have the prophet over for dinner or desserts. They are afraid that the Servant of God might say something that crashes the party.

One of the saddest cries in Scripture is the Lord lamenting the spineless antics of the prophets in Samaria and Judah:
Among the prophets of Samaria I saw something disgusting: They prophesied by Baal and led My people Israel astray. Among the prophets of Jerusalem also I saw a horrible thing: They commit adultery and walk in lies. They strengthen the hands of evildoers, and none turns his back on evil. They are all like Sodom to Me; Jerusalem’s residents are like Gomorrah. Jeremiah 23: 13-14

Instead of being part of the answer to Israel's crisis, they became part of the problem. They gave the people what the people wanted to hear. So the Lord warns, “This is what the Lord of Hosts says: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They are making you worthless. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the Lord’s mouth. They keep on saying to those who despise Me, ‘The Lord has said: You will have peace.’ They have said to everyone who follows the stubbornness of his heart, ‘No harm will come to you." Jeremiah 23: 16-17

These prophets were concerned about job security and popularity instead of obeying the Lord. Could it be that a similar lack of courage has afflicted today's pastors, preachers, teachers and church leaders? What must be done to turn this around? Tomorrow I will continue my reflections on Jeremiah 23 and share the path of faithfulness to which God is calling all who lead, teach and preach God's word.