Through the last several months as we’ve been studying the minor prophets, I think most of us have come to respect them. Standing up in the face of an onslaught, speaking words of repentance, and more often than not, pronouncing a judgment on wickedness that would ultimately end with God’s wrath coming down on His people, it was a hard job; no wonder Jonah didn’t want it (Jonah 1:1-3). These declarations of condemnation and judgment would last for months or even years at a time, fully consuming these people’s lives, and sometimes, even their marriages (read: Hosea and Jeremiah). What a burden to bear! Sounds kind of like being a Christian doesn’t it?
We are charged with an equally “burdensome” task; in many ways, your life could read like Habakkuk 1:1 (“The burden which Ken Hale the Christian did see”). Just like the prophets of old, we have the (response)ability to look out amongst the world we’re in and see wickedness as well, and, just like those same prophets, we have the (response)ability to do something about it. Jonah spent time in Ninevah preaching that if the city didn’t turn from it’s sin, it was going to fall (Jonah 3:4). We should spend time preaching to other people that the wicked will not inherit eternal life (Gal. 5:19-21). Malachi preached that Jesus would come again, acting as a refiner’s fire or a fuller’s soap, separating the impure from the righteous (Mal. 3:1b-4). So should we (Matt. 25:31-46). Even though we’re about 2-3000 years removed from most of these people, the responsibility is still the same: tell the erring of their ways, with the added incentive of what could happen if they don’t.
The motive is the same also. Paul told Timothy in 2 Tim. 4:1-2: “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His Kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.” Any one of us could insert our own name into those verses and it would appear the same way. “I implore you, ______, to preach the word…” Why? Because there is a God that will come to judge the living and the dead, and we, if we truly love other people, should be willing to preach that to other people (Matt. 22:36-40). What’s the difference between a prophet of old and someone who got swept away in the exile blindly? Understanding there will be a reckoning for your deeds (2 Cor. 5:10).
And when it’s all said and done, isn’t that true mark of a prophet: love? Sure, Jonah displayed some sour attitudes towards Ninevah, but God rebuked him for it. The vast majority of the prophets really poured their heart and soul into their work, laboring day in and day out (Col. 1:29), because they cared so much for God’s people and for His Word. Do we? If we truly cared about God’s word, and if we truly had faith that God’s word concerning judgment were to come to pass, we’d be doing the same thing that Peter did in Acts 2:40, testifying before everyone, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” The only difference, we may not be talking to nearly 3000 people. We may only be speaking to one.Last modified: January 28, 2019