28 June 2017
Reading: Amos 1-3; Psalm 80; 2 Timothy 4
11 I raised up some of your young men to be prophets, set aside your best youth for training in holiness. Isn’t this so, Israel?” God’s Decree. 12 “But you made the youth-in-training break training, and you told the young prophets, ‘Don’t prophesy!’ (Amos 2:11-12 MSG)
As I read Amos’ prophecies against the nations in the region of Palestine, I realized something fresh this morning. Just as the government of the USA is set up with three branches: legislative, judicial, and executive, to create and maintain a balance of power, God had given his people the prophets, in addition to the kings and priests, to keep things in balance.
The kings had to deal with the affairs of government, controlling rivalries, managing the economy, establishing treaties, warring with enemies. They were deeply invested in the success and security of their dynasty. The priests had to keep the massive national religion system working. They had to try to coexist with power-hungry or evil kings, fickle people, cultural trends. They had much to gain and much to lose.
So God put another factor into the equation – his prophets. The prophets were outside the system. True prophets had nothing to gain or maintain politically or religiously. Their only role was to speak into the life of the nation for God.
The prophets were often, though not always, in trouble with the political and the religious establishment. The prophets were often, though not always, rejected or ignored by the people. But the prophets were always an important factor in God’s plan.
We still need the voice of the prophet. In the realm of politics and the realm of religion. In our communities and in our churches. We need the voice of those who have no axe to grind – no system to maintain – no power struggle to win. Nothing to gain, nothing to lose, nothing to prove!
Father, Please help us to better understand the role of the prophet in our today world – in our communities and our churches. Thanks for the prophets. Thanks for your willingness to speak into our lives. Bring us true prophets and inspire and empower them speak clearly and boldly for you. And let us listen and respond. Amen.