Prophetic voices


Sunday Reflection


31st January 2021

He will tell them

18 'I will raise up for them
   a prophet like you from among
   their fellow Israelites,
   and I will put my words
   in his mouth. He will tell
   them everything
   I command him.'

....Deuteronomy 18:18

In the book of Exodus,
when Israel is at the foot of
Mount Horeb,
and the Lord God gave the Law
to Moses, who gave it
to the people.

Fearful, the assembly had asked
for a mediator.
God granted their request,
producing a succession of
prophets for the people.

Moses was the greatest,
and the function would end in Jesus

Historically, the prophet was to
provide the moral and ethical
compass who would summon the
people to repentance if need be.

They would also provide the
reminder that the people were in a
covenant relationship with God.

The prophet of God would be
the voice of God,
speaking to the people
according to the need
of the moment.

In this Sunday's Old Testament
reading we find some
interesting thoughts:
The revelation from God
did not end at Mount Horeb,
but continued though
Israel's history,
in justice and mercy.

God acceded to the weakness
of the people.
In Exodus, they were afraid,
and made a reasonable request;
God listened and answered gently.

It is good if we hear from
God directly, but we cannot
ignore the word of the prophet
who speaks God's word
to us, either.

These prophets were members
of the community, firmly rooted
in their history and circumstance.

So, the word of the prophet
is no platitude,
but a keen word for the moment
from the Lord God to the
situation at hand.

So we are accountable to the
words of the prophet!

We cannot pick and choose
what we like today,
ignoring the rest as we may
ignore a vegetable we do not like,
that is on our dinner plate.

The prophetic voice today
is not quite like the
Old Covenant prophet,
nor does it carry the weight
and significance of Jesus.

But there are modern-day
prophetic voices,
and if we know them,
we should heed them.

There is the classic joke
about the new preacher who
gave his first sermon,
and the people were delighted
with the insight and
discernment of the message.

Eagerly they awaited the
second Sunday, but were
surprised when it was
the same text,
the same message,
line for line,
word for word!

Hmm, maybe that was just a fluke.
But the third Sunday,
the same thing happened.

Confused, the people asked him
about it.
'Ah,' he said, 'I haven't seen
anyone do anything about
what I have said yet!
When you do,
I'll give you another sermon!'

It is discouraging to preach
and get no feedback,
or worse,
to see no change in response!!

There are those who claim
to be prophets,
but who fail dismally at the
criteria that what they
prophesy must come to pass.

Moses, the greatest prophet of
the Old Covenant prophets,
was a flawed man -
surely hope for us who are
equally flawed or more so.

The grace of God takes broken
men and women,
hurting and wounded individuals,
and binds them together
into a community.

The wonder of God is that the
prophetic role was completely
accomplished in Jesus.
He stands as the one Mediator
between God and us.

He has spoken the Word of God
faithfully and sacrificed himself
on the Cross that we could be
free from sin and be in a right
relationship with God the Father.

What a wonderful gift
we have been given.
Praise be to God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

It may be interesting to watch,
or just listen to a song
'God has spoken by his Prophets'
via the link shown below.

"God Has Spoken by His Prophets"
was written by George Wallace Briggs,
a Canon of Worcester Cathedral,
published in 1952.
The tune is 'Hyfrydol',
written by Rowland Hugh Prichard
in 1830