In our sweeping through the Bible seeking to have an overview of these past 6,000 years, we come to the prophets. Since the days of Moses there have been prophets – but it is when we come to around the year 700 B.C. that we have various books written by the prophets.
Previously the words of the prophets are included in the content of the historical books.
The prophets were very ordinary men – but they were given a BURDEN or ORACLE or WORD – which they spoke or preached or proclaimed or shared.
The prophet not only spoke for God – but he first had to hear from God. We have to receive before we can give.
The prophets basically challenged the people of God – and occasionally confronted kings – or the priests – or false prophets.
They also comforted the people – and that is also part of New Testament prophecy.
Jeremiah has become a nickname for doom and gloom – Jeremiah prophesied serious and sad words – all of which came true.
If someone calls you a Jeremiah, and that is true – then that is a great compliment – it means you are speaking forth the Word of God.
The people thought Jesus was Jeremiah! Matthew Chapter 16.
In the prophets we learn about GOD.
We learn that God is powerful – that HE is a GOD of miracles – that HE intervenes in history – that HE raises up men – that HE judges men and nations, even His own chosen people – that HE is a GOD who pardons and shows mercy.
The prophets indicate how personal God is – and how GOD draws near to His people – and that HE speaks to people.
Isaiah – we looked at his testimony – and we know precisely when he lived. This is one long – very long – book – and we have a scroll of this book – I have seen it in Jerusalem. It is dated around 100 B.C.
Let’s take one famous verse – Isaiah Chapter 2 verse 4 – “They shall beat their swords in plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks”. That is outside the United Nations building in New York. But – look at the whole verse – “He shall judge among the nations”. This was sung at Donald Dewar’s funeral – and I remember thinking – these people have not a clue as to what these words mean.
The first part of the verse is essential before the second part of the verse can happen!
When Jesus walked onto the world’s stage, Jesus preached from Isaiah 61 – and saw the fulfilment of that prophecy in his coming into the world – Luke Chapter 4.
Isaiah – Jonah – Joel – Amos – Hosea – Micah – Nahum – Habakkuk – Jeremiah and Obadiah – they were all before the Exile.
They heard from God – they heard what God was saying at that time – and they had the courage and ability to proclaim and preach what the people needed to hear – and often a great cost.
“Lord God Almighty, open us to the prophetic Word – open our hearts and minds to what You revealed to ordinary men, many years ago. We thank You for their boldness and courage – and for the truth and truths they delivered. We thank you for these details regarding the coming of Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord. At this season of Passover, when we recall what lies at the centre of our Christian Faith – O loving Father, we give thanks for the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ – and all that that means – may we never lose sight of what lies at the heart and core – we pray in Jesus Name. Amen”
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