In the scriptures the prophets were men. Not angels, not supermen. Not some strange kind of creature. They were plainly and simply men.
Men who dared stand up and speak for God in the midst of a disinterested and hostile world - Men who uttered God's words as He gave them-despite popular opinion or threat to their own lives – Men who lived God's way in troubled and difficult times, loving God and man.
The secret of their endurance and courage? The prophets knew God. For them, God was not some shadowy, faraway, unknowable being. He was knowable and near. He was as real as they themselves. They knew Him not only from their study of the sacred books, but they had gone on to know Him personally, thinking about His Word and talking to Him as they went about their daily lives.
They stood in awe of Him as their realization grew day by day as to who and what He was.
The prophets were men. Men endowed with the same wonderful potential that the rest of us are endowed with-the potential of becoming faithful sons of God.
The prophets didn't just go around predicting what was going to happen. They did that, but they did more. They brought God's message to people. They led people back to God and taught them to know Him.
Their prophecies were about what was going to happen if the people didn't turn from their evil ways. Sometimes the people listened and changed their ways. And when that happened the predicted dooms didn't have to happen.
Each prophet was different. Each had his own personality. Some were married and had families to support. For most of them, prophesying was something they did in addition to their regular work. Most of them were willing servants of the Lord. A few were reluctant and needed the Lord's prodding. All knew that God had chosen them to speak to His people.
Each prophet had a particular message for the people of his time. The ideas about God that they put forth to the people may seem commonplace to us today, but we have the advantage of the whole Bible revelation before us. And we, in our day, can learn wonderful truths from these prophets of ancient times.
The prophets also prepared the way for Jesus. Had Jesus been born in Athens or Rome, the people there probably would not have been ready to understand and receive Him and His teachings. But coming as He did into a situation where the prophets had gradually been leading the people into a more mature relationship with God, He found many who were eager and responsive.
God called the prophets into service whenever the people had slipped so far away from Him that He needed to use some direct means of calling them back to Himself.
The Hebrew prophets are unique among the prophets of the world. The oracles at Delphi, the readers of animal entrails in Mesopotamia, and the augurs in Rome made claims of foretelling the future, but only the Hebrew prophets claimed to speak the will of God.
The Hebrew prophets alone attempted to answer the riddle of life by showing man what his relationship to God and man could and should be.
They showed the devastating effect of sin on one's life and the life of his nation, but they did not leave their hearers there. They showed also that, as man lives his life in a relationship of love to God and to man, life becomes not only bearable, but also meaningful and satisfying.
Ref: From the minor prophets of The Holy Bible. Living Today article by Barbara Jurgensen.
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