Prophets were continually treated horrendously in the Bible.
But why were they punished because of their closeness with God?
Why did people find them so intimidating?
And oh so scary? I mean, most of them were not physically impressive. I just can’t imagine the ladies back then saying, ‘My, that Isaiah is so hot.’
Even if they were…I’m being silly, I know…the social connotation of being a prophet would have made them undesirable anyway.
The truth they spoke…the words from God they were called to speak…it was not delightful news. It was scary. It was painful. It was different. It was not the status quo…
Prophets brought change. Normally change in behavior, spiritual life or the community as a whole. And human nature is to rebel against anything that makes us uncomfortable.
They were routinely thrown out of towns, beaten, stoned, killed and berated by those in charge…the very people they were sent to knock down a few pegs.
And good grief…prophets didn’t even ask to be prophets. They were chosen. Take Moses for example…how many times did he tell God that wasn’t his gig?
And how about those dear prophets we now call ‘minor prophets’? I’m pretty sure this fella resides there:
Then Amos answered and said to Amaziah, “I was no prophet, nor a prophet’s son, but I was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs. But the LORD took me from following the flock, and the LORD said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ [Amos 7:14-15]
He was chosen. By God. You can’t mess with that, or at least shouldn’t try to anyway.
Prophets gave cadence to God’s truth…and said only what God was telling them to say. Jesus was the ultimate prophet…but so many others had laid the groundwork for him.
And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. [2 Peter 2:19-21]
Honestly, what I admire most about the prophets was they couldn’t hold in what God wanted to do through them. They had a direct link to the Holy Spirit, which meant they were humble and willing enough to completely surrender to God. And no matter how hard they may have wanted to save their own skin or not give voice to the harsh things God wanted them to say…they couldn’t go against the will of God.
It had been so long since the Israelites had heard God’s voice through a prophet that when God tried to speak to Samuel…he didn’t even know it was God’s voice in 1 Samuel 3. Do we find ourselves in the same position now?
Who are the voices with vision around you? Who seems to speak with the power of the Holy Spirit? Who looks at the Church on earth with God’s eyes? Who is calling believers to wake up and stand up for God’s truth in this sin saturated world?
Perhaps we need to seek those people out and listen with our Holy Spirit discernment for God’s truth and leading in our here and now. Perhaps we need to echo Samuel in saying, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’