May 18, 2016
I have a lot of respect for Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel, along with the 12 other Prophets whose books in the Bible are shorter. Those men had a difficult assignment, and there is little, if any, indication that they were appreciated at the time of their ministry. More frequently, they were criticized and even physically harmed.
Their assignment was to deliver a message from Creator God to the Nation Israel. The people had rebelled against Him over and over again. God’s patience was exhausted and it was time for Him to follow through on the discipline He said would come if they did not repent and turn back to Him.
When humans are in a state of rebellion, they do not want to hear a message of correction. Rather than admitting their sin, the tendency is to avoid confrontation and reject anyone who tries to help them change. The messenger who tries to offer a positive alternative becomes an object of disdain.
In the situation of the Prophets, it was actually God Who was being rejected, but the messenger felt the brunt of their words and actions. I cannot imagine how weary they must have felt when day after day their message from God was rejected. Fortunately, along with the announcements of judgment there were occasional messages of hope – many of which are yet to be fulfilled.
I doubt that any human feels good when rejected. We want to be valued, appreciated and respected. And when we have something to offer that will make life better for an individual, we have reason to hurt when they reject it. The solutions we offer are often temporary, but the Message from God offered eternal Hope – and the people ignored it anyway.
The Prophets offer encouragement to parents, teachers, leaders, pastors – anyone and everyone who is in a place to provide helpful information to someone who might be veering off the correct path. Their books are worth the discipline of reading through and pondering their application to our life situation.
Pastor Bill Ehmann