Poets, Prophets, Preachers

Raphael_-_The_Prophets_Hosea_and_Jonah_-_Google_Art_ProjectEugene Peterson succinctly states, “The hard-rock reality is that prophets do not fit into our way of life.  For a people who are accustomed to ‘fitting God’ into their lives, or, we like to say, ‘making room for God,’ the prophets are hard to take and easy to dismiss.  The god the prophets speak of is far too large to fit into our lives.  If we want anything to do with God, we have to fit into Him.

The prophets are not ‘reasonable,’ accommodating themselves to what makes sense to us.  They are not diplomatic, tactfully negotiating an agreement that allows us a ‘say’ in the outcome.  What they do is haul us unceremoniously into a reality far too large to be accounted for by our explanations and expectations.  They plunge us into mystery, immense and staggering.”

Sixteen of these prophets wrote what they spoke.  We shall put them chronologically into two groups of eight and look into the overarching message of each one.  We will look at the first group of eight in this post.

  • ObadiahWhen we are the victims of aggression, we are not to respond to vengeance and continue the cycle of violence.  Our new context for living is God’s kingdom. (v21)
  • JoelWhen catastrophe strikes, it is important that we clarify who God is and how He acts and how He keeps us alert to the eternal consequences of our decisions. (2:13-16)
  • JonahWhen we try to keep God at a comfortable distance, we suddenly find ourselves caught in the purposes and commands of God.  We start as spectators only to find ourselves as participants in God’s greater narrative. (2:1-9)
  • Amos – Religion is the most dangerous energy source known to humankind.  We must see through the hypocrisy and remain humble, honest, and compassionate. (8:11)
  • Micah – In a world of moral rubble and spiritual disorder, we must enter into the realities of love and compassion, justice and faithfulness. (6:8)
  • Hosea – We live in a world of stories, most of which are lust-stories, sexual fantasy stories, and domination stories.  We require true stories of love if we are to love truly. (10:12)
  • Isaiah – Holiness is the most attractive quality and the most intense experience we ever get in life.  We find ourselves in the operations of God Himself.  Holiness is the furnace that transforms those who enter it.  “Holy, Holy, Holy” is not needlepoint.  It is the banner of a revolution. (6:3)
  • Nahum – The noise of those who feign power may distract us from what is going on quietly at the center of the stage in the person and purposes of God.  Do not admire or be intimidated by the enemy.  (1:2-7)