Who could bear living in a state of disgust day and night? The conscience builds its confines, is subject to fatigue, longs for comfort, lulling, soothing. Yet those who are hurt, and He Who inhabits eternity, neither slumber nor sleep. The prophet is sleepless and grave.
The frankincense of charity fails to sweeten cruelties. Pomp, the scent of piety, mixed with ruthlessness, is sickening to him who is sleepless and grave …. The prophet is human, yet he employs notes one octave too high for our ears. He experiences moments that defy our understanding. Often his words begin to burn where conscience ends.
A distinction of the prophets is that they most often come forth without being sought for — they are spurred on by God, having seen the truth of the state of the nation, speaking out when others are indifferent or ignorant to the conditions of sin that have separated the people from their God. While the prophets would speak on behalf of God, the people are often left with a choice of whether to heed the counsel of the prophet.
No matter how compelling, charismatic, or provocative the prophets are, no matter how God uses them to make the message of God crystal clear so that there can be no denying the state of things and nothing left to the imagination, the people are still left with the freedom to follow the leading of the prophet or not Amos ; Isaiah 6 ; Jeremiah ; Ezekiel 1.
No, in the end we have to make a decision, and this decision is more than merely uttering words of agreement. To follow God is an embodied change of heart, mind, and soul.
As we heard in Verse 21 , Elijah calls out to the people and makes this statement:. How long will you go limping with two different opinions? Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and even licked up the water that was in the trench. The passage concludes with the prophets who have been shown to be false prophets of Baal who has been shown to be a false deity being killed, and the people turning their hearts to God. The message brought forth in 1 Kings 18 will underscore many of the reflections on other prophets and prophetic literature over the next few weeks.
Are we to limp before false gods, or will we follow the LORD God with all our heart, soul, and strength?
Elijah compares the worship of the people in Verse 21 to the irregular ritual dancing of the prophets of Baal in Verse 26 , saying that, because the people of Israel refuse to choose between the LORD and Baal, wanting to retain both, their faith itself is limping. While the contexts will be radically different, and the prophets themselves very different from one another, the task of the prophet and the call to the people will continue this theme: will we limp after falsehood or follow into wholeness the One who is not only the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, but the Christ, the final word of God, both the Alpha and the Omega?
Next week we will turn to the New Testament to set a context for how we will read the prophets and the prophetic literature in light of the witness of Christ and the early church. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Questions for Further Reflection What experiences have you had reading or studying the Prophets in the past? How are you feeling about embarking on this new Lectio series on the Prophets?
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Fortress Intro to Prophets [Rodney R. Hutton] on westzalega.ml *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. - Covers the primary pre-exilic prophets - Introduces the. An experienced teacher of the prophetic materials provides students with an accessible entrée into this fascinating aspect of Hebrew Bible studies. The.
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