JUNE 11 - Nº 162 [2 Kings 17:13-20; 2 Chronicles 24:19]
The prophets were God’s voice to the world. They came from many walks of life. They included shepherds, farmers, priests; they were rich, poor, aristocratic, and simple. But they all shared three things in common: they were called by God, filled with His Spirit, and given a message from God to share with His people. The messages were filled with both hope and judgment. Through the prophets, God promised to be with His people and bless them if they obeyed Him. But He also warned that if His people chose to disregard His laws and walk away from Him, they would no longer be under His protection—and that would be devastating! Some of the prophets left written records. Their writings explained the specific messages God told them to deliver and the experiences they faced in the process. These are preserved for us in our Bibles. Of these, the longer accounts are called the Major Prophets, and the shorter ones are called the Minor Prophets. But many of the prophets God used didn’t record their prophecies. We know about them because of the historical accounts we have in the books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles. (These prophets include Elijah, Elisha, Hanani, and Huldah.) Throughout its 209-year history, the northern kingdom of Israel did not have a single ruler who chose to reign within the boundaries of God’s commandments. Instead, all 19 of Israel’s kings led the people away from God and into idolatry and other sins. They refused to listen to the prophets God sent as whistleblowers. They tried to kill Elijah. They rejected Elisha and the students from his school of prophets. Later God sent Hosea and Amos. Their writings were filled with God’s love and faithfulness, but they also warned of His judgment for sin. They too were ignored. In the southern kingdom of Judah, eight of the twenty kings who ruled during its 345-year history, were righteous in God’s eyes. They taught the people how to have a relationship with God. But the other 12 kings were ungodly. They were no different than the wicked kings of the north. Even Joash, who started off well under the guidance of the high priest Jehoiada, killed Zechariah when the prophet warned him that the nation needed to stop worshiping idols (see #159). But God continued to send brave and godly people—like Isaiah and Jeremiah and Zephaniah—to warn the people that they needed to accept His truth or suffer the consequences. God also sent prophets to other nations that surrounded Israel and Judah, warning them how their treatment of His people would greatly affect their future. These messengers included Obadiah (sent to the Edomites), and Jonah and Nahum (sent to the Assyrians). Each prophet God chose brought the same three-part message: 1) God is holy and cannot overlook sin. 2) You are sinful and headed for judgment. 3) God has a plan that will save you from that judgment if you choose to follow Him. All of the prophets spoke of a coming Messiah who would provide a solution for sin once for all.
God’s message is still the same for us. Do you understand it? Do you believe it? Have you accepted Jesus as the solution for your sin problem?