Monday, September 10, 2012

The Prophets

What we've already covered:
The Patriarchs
The Exodus
The Wandering - 1 year for each day the spies were in the land
The Conquest - settled, well-established
The Judges - dark time where every man did what was right in his own eyes.  Ends with Samuel
The Kings -
       The Divided Kingdom - 10 northern tribes = Israel   2 southern tribes = Judah
The Prophets
The Exile

Last week - 930 BC Israel was at its peak - moral state, spiritual condition.

Israel - went into exile - around 722 BC.  Judah around 586 BC

However, economic condition during this time before the exile was very good.  The two nations cooperating, no major internal crisis.  They did extremely well financially for some time.

BUT, on the other hand, 1) the poor were exploited and the gap between rich and poor got wider and wider.
2) the courts became corrupt - you could buy a verdict.
3)  personal immorality was rampant

ENTER:  The Prophets...... who speak for God. - PRE-EXILIC (preached prior to the falls - 7th. & 8th. century BC) and                                                   CANONICAL  - meaning have books in the Bible

A.)  They are inspired to speak for Him - Jer. 20:9 and
B)  Empowered to speak for Him --- Holy Spirit

We are looking at some of the Canonical prophets who preached prior to the exile

The movement begins with:
#1.  Amos - the herdsman/shepherd - was from Judah.  Sent to preach to Israel, which didn't sit well up there.
Amos 7:10-17 (a) - "what the LORD says...."

#2.  Hosea - from Israel - preached to his own people - Israel  Hos. 1:2  "your sin against God's LAW and God's LOVE"  - He would forgive them if they would just return to Him.
According to tradition:  Hosea had no converts, and died of heartbreak

#3.  Micah - country boy/peasant preacher (experienced injustice!)
He predicted:  the fall of Samaria, the destruction of Jerusalem, Babylonian captivity, return, AND the Birth of Messiah - Matt. 2:6 - Classic summary verse:  Micah 6:6-8

#4.  Isaiah - upper class/in the courts/preaches to Kings (wife was a prophetess) in Judah
Isa. 1:10-18 - preached for 50 years, 5 kings - last king Manasseh got tired of his preaching, and, according to tradition, had him put in a hollow log and sawed in two.

#5.  Nahum (the Elkoshite???)  nobody out of nowhere. - "woe to Nineveh", capital of Assyria.  Preached in Judah after the fall of Israel.  (mid 7th. century)  Nahum 1:7-8, 3:19

#6.  Zephaniah (bipolar prophet) - the extremes of the "Day of the Lord".
On one hand - Zeph. 1:14-18 - hellfire and damnation, wrath of God
On the other hand - Zeph. 3:19-20, 3:17 - Love of God for His people

#7.  Habakkuk (name means "embrace")
"Lord..... do something!"  BUT "not that!!" - (the Babylonians)  Hab. 3:16-18

#8.  Jeremiah (weeping prophet) - warned  them for 40 years/ 5 kings, to the end (after three assaults, three deportations) - then he wrote "Lamentations" - a funeral dirge for the people, the nation, the temple.
Jer. 20:7-9 - epitomizes all of the 8th. century prophets.  Spoke for the LORD in their own free will.

We should stand in AWE  of their Courage and Commitment - to God, to His people (they were patriots as well as prophets)

That covers a lot of ground! 

Question:  Can we summarize the message of the (7th. & 8th. century) prophets??

Answer:  We CAN!  In fact, Jesus did it for us....  Matt. 22:34-40

So????  What do you want of me?  Isaiah?  Amos?  Nahum?  Zephaniah?

Answer:  Go..... LOVE God - with head, heart, & hands
                     & LOVE neighbor.

BUT - "not always easy!  This is the 21st. Century!! - church is full of hypocrites!  my neighbor is a jerk!  society mocks righteousness, persecutes the Godly!
Besides..... where are the Rewards?  what are the blessings??? & I'm tired, weary, battle worn.....

Answer:  like the 8th & 7th Century BC.... God still needs believers who'll believe, servants who will serve, followers who will follow, people who will stand!!

The call remains to serve, follow, represent, etc. 

What He requires of us = Love the Lord, Love your neighbor.

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