Va-yeshev
For the week of December 8, 2001 / 23 Kislev 5762
Torah: Bereshit / Genesis 37:1 - 40:23
Haftarah: Amos 2:6 - 3:8

Let the Prophets Speak!

Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets. The lion has roared - who will not fear? The Sovereign LORD has spoken - who can but prophesy? (Amos 3:7,8).

Probably one of the most popular perceptions about God is that he is mysterious, distant, and unknowable. Many people describe themselves as agnostics, expressing their hesitancy to make up their mind over whether or not God exists. Even those who believe in some sort of God, have little idea as to his nature. Some religions thrive on the concept of a mysterious, distant God. For them if God can be known at all, he is only known by very few: some sort of isolated priesthood, who carefully guard their divine insights.

But this is not the God of the Bible. The God of Israel is one who has made himself known. He has no pleasure in keeping himself hidden from his beloved creatures. In fact God's whole purpose as revealed in the Torah is one of making himself known.

One of the ways God has revealed himself is through people called prophets. A prophet is a person who is God's mouthpiece, speaking to the people what God reveals to him or her. The prophets of the Bible come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and their personalities are diverse. While for the most part it does not look like they had official status, their prophetic calling was often recognized by the government and the people.

True prophets were those that heard from the God of Israel and faithfully spoke his word to the people. I do not believe that most of the time a prophet heard God speak to him through dictation. The revelation of God would come to him in various forms, and the prophets would express that revelation in a variety of ways, but most commonly through verbal proclamation.

The prophet Amos proclaimed an interesting thing about God and his desire to make himself known:

Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets (Amos 3:7).

This says that God does not keep his plans to himself. Far from it. He actually doesn't do anything without revealing his plans to the prophets.

We live in confusing times. Death and destruction fill the news. Does anyone know what is going on? According to Amos, yes - the prophets do!

God is revealing his plans to people whom he has appointed to proclaim his word. God is revealing his plans to his prophets.

Many people who believe the Bible claim there are no true prophets today. Either there are or there are not. I do not believe there is a biblical case against their existence. If anything the gift of the Ruach Hakodesh (English: the Holy Spirit) strongly suggests otherwise.

If we are not aware of the existence of God's prophets today, I suggest it is for one of two reasons: Either they are not speaking, or we are not listening. Could it be both?

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