Whenever there is a violation in a sports game, a referee blows a whistle or throws a flag and then issues a penalty. In a store, security officers are present to enforce rules, just as the highway patrol cruises the freeway in search of law violators.
Like these modern-day rule-enforcers, the prophets in the Bible had a simple job; when people were not obeying God, prophets would encourage obedience to the law, which God gave to Israel as a framework for a relationship with Him. The main purpose of a prophet was not to tell the future, but rather to correct those who were not living according to the law and outline the consequences for their actions.
1. Prophets were law enforcers who challenged nations and individuals to be loyal to God's law. Deuteronomy 4:25-31
If people and nations obeyed the law perfectly, they wouldn't have needed prophets to and encourage them to return to God's law. But, of course, in their imperfection they did not obey perfectly and therefore needed reminding and encouragement.
2. The ministry of the prophets or law enforcers lasted for 300 years, between 760 & 460 BC, beginning with Amos and ending with Malachi.
Hebrews 1:1-2 tells us that God spoke in the past through the prophets, but now He speaks to us through His Son. There are no longer new prophets coming to say something different from what the Bible already tells us; the Book is closed. If people claim to be prophets with a whole new revelation that contradicts God's Word in the Bible, that is a cult. (You will notice that these prophets received their "divine message" in privacy, so that no one can verify or nullify it.) Remember, God is never confused and never contradicts Himself; it is the devil who is the author of confusion.
3. Prophets or law enforcers were always divinely appointed, never self-appointed.
God has a very specific desire for all of our lives. He knows everything about us, past, present and future. No one is an accident; we are each divinely called for God's purposes. God wants us to know our purpose and to live to the fullest. Don't believe the devil; he is a liar and his goal is for you to miss out on God's plan.
Has God called you to something? Are you holding out because you think something better is about to come along? It is ignorant and foolish to tell God, "I don't believe that following You is the best thing for me." He is the Creator of the Universe! Does the sun ever rise late? Does He feed the bugs and the birds? He knows you, too, and He knows what is best for you.
4. Prophets or law enforcers were God's mouthpieces who preached and sometimes lived out God's message-never their own.
Prophets never said, "Let me tell you my opinion." Rather, their hallmark was, "Thus saith the Lord " Prophets were forth tellers before they were foretellers. They were simply specially appointed people whose lives were surrendered into God's hands to speak for God.
Sometimes, God called prophets to live out a prophecy. For example, He called Hosea to marry a prostitute who would be unfaithful to him. This was meant as an illustration of God's bride, Israel, who sought after other gods as an adulteress. Both Hosea's words and his life were prophetic.
5. The Law Enforcers pronounced blessing associated with obedience (Leviticus 26:1-13, Deuteronomy 4:32-40) and curses are associated with disobedience (Leviticus 26:14-39, Deuteronomy 4:15-28).
Prophets pronounced blessing and curses that were simply reiterations of God's word already written. God had already spelled out the consequences of obedience and disobedience; the prophets were simply there to clarify and point out once again what these consequences were.
Do you have drama in your life? Sometimes the drama it is your own fault, and sometimes God is trying to purify your heart through these hardships. Regardless, everything about your life should reflect obedience to God. Acting in faith is scary and requires courage and energy, but it is the most worthwhile thing we can pursue. Pastor Miles gave the challenge of measuring your own faith in this: how long does it take you to obey God and how completely do you do it? If you obey immediately, your faith is strong. You trust that God will do whatever He says He will do and that the directions He gives for your life are best.
6. False prophets were known for being self-appointed, not enforcing the law, false predictions and an unwillingness to self-sacrifice.
A true prophet is only out to please God. S/he is not concerned with what anyone else thinks, but only in speaking the truth and pleasing the Lord.
In 2 Samuel 12, when King David sins with Bathsheba, Nathan is sent to speak a difficult truth to him. King David, whose army is out to war, sees Bathsheba, the wife of one of his own soldiers, from his palace and decides he must have her. As a result, she becomes pregnant, and though David tries to fool Uzziah into sleeping with his wife to confuse the child's paternity, Uzziah refuses to do so while his comrades are at war. In response, David sins further by having Uzziah placed on the front lines so that he will be killed.
Starting in 2 Samuel 12:1, the prophet Nathan tells David a story about a rich man who owns many sheep. When a friend comes to visit, instead of killing one of his flock, he takes the only and beloved lamp of a poor man and kills it for the feast.
David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, "As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this deserves to die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity." Then Nathan said to David, "You are the man!" 2 Samuel 2:5-7a
Nathan is not concerned with pleasing the king, only with pleasing the Lord by speaking truth and announcing God's consequences.
The Bible says in Numbers 32, your sin will find you out. You may think you can hide from God, but you can't. Receive the challenge of the prophets to obey God! Surrender your life to Him and seek the plans He has for you.
- Part 1, The Journey
- Part 2, Foundations
- Part 3, Preparations
- Book One: Warriors (Week 1)
- Book One: Warriors (Week 2)
- Book One: Warriors (Week 3)
- Book One: Warriors (Week 4)
- Book Two: Loyalty (Week 1)
- Book Two: Loyalty (Week 2)
- Book Two: Loyalty (Week 3)
- Book Three: Soul Food (Week 1)
- Book Three: Soul Food (Week 2)
- Book Three: Soul Food (Week 3)
- Book Four: Law Enforcement (Week 1)
- Book Four: Law Enforcement (Week 2)
- Book Four: Law Enforcement (Week 3)
- Book Five: Twists and Turns (Week 1)
- Book Five: Twists and Turns (Week 2)
- Book Five: Twists and Turns (Week 3)
- Book Six: Letters (Week 1)
- Book Six: Letters (Week 2)
- Book Six: Letters (Week 3)
- Book Seven: Vision (Week 1)
- Book Seven: Vision (Week 2)
- Book Seven: Vision (Week 3)
- Book Seven: Vision (Week 4)