“Surely, the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets,” (Amos 3:7, NJKV). Those in Christendom today that dismiss the Old Testament as irrelevant truly lack the knowledge and wisdom God wills to impart to His people and worse, may not know Him at all! For the Old Testament of the Bible like the chunkiest of soups, is chocked full of truth, instruction and spiritual activity not the least of which is His use of prophets and their messages from Him. From Enoch to John the Baptist of those named to the many unnamed, God’s prophets play a key role in declaring His Word in the Old Testament (Genesis 5:18-24; Mark 1:1-8; Jude 12-15).
In my recent four-part blog, God Of Restoration And Judgment under the category, The Cause with three others, God’s use of His prophets to communicate with Israel during the time of its kings was shown to be extensive. Not only that, but the potency of His Word through His prophets was seen to impact that historical period right on down millennia later to us living in the latter days they often spoke of. As I was led by the Lord to warn you about in that blog, Israel’s nation destroying judgments came only after they refused to heed His Word through the prophets (revisit 2 Kings 17:5-23 and 2 Chronicles 36:15-21) and finally, of course His Son, Jesus Christ (Luke 20:9-19).
The prophets were a manifest token of God’s love, grace and mercy to Israel as He deployed them at strategic moments in the life of the kings and people they served. God expected His people to be faithful to, reverence and serve Him only. This is declared by Him on Mt. Sinai in the opening commandments of ten and written down later on tablets of stone as part of the covenant between God and Israel which they violated right away (Exodus 19:3-20:21, 32:1-24). The prophets kept calling the people back to faithfulness to the covenant as the basis of their relationship with God, His grace and blessings. Their refusal to be faithful brought upon them His promised consequences.
Many times the consequences God announced through His prophets were dramatic. One of those times occurred by the word and actions of an unnamed prophet from Judah who had been sent to announce judgment on king Jeroboam after he set up his rival idolatrous religious system for the ten northern tribes. Not only did God announce through him the destruction of the altar in that system, but the specifically named king of Judah, Josiah, that would burn the bones of the system’s priests on it three hundred years later! When the king sought to arrest the prophet, God caused his hand to wither and restored it after the prophet’s intercession (1 Kings12:25-13:10; 2 Kings 23:15-18).
It is to the spiritual peril of any professed Christian to ignore or dismiss the prophecies of Old Testament prophets. The secrets of the Lord they spoke of have not yet all been fulfilled! Indeed, we who love God and His entire Word contained in the Bible, have in these latter days been granted the awesome privilege to watch His secrets in prophecies long ago uttered by the prophets explode in fulfillment like fireworks shot into the night sky--Israel back in its land as a nation among them! This in itself is prophecy fulfilled since Daniel was told his prophecies would be sealed until unsealed (opened, unveiled) at the time of the end to those that are “wise,” (Daniel 12:8-10, NKJV).
Who are the wise generally but faithful Christians that have been redeemed from sin and restored in God through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ! To know Him is to know something of God’s whole Word in certainty, truth, instruction and prophetic importance (Matthew 24:32-35; John 1:1-3, 14, 5:39, 14:1-6, 15-31; 2 Peter 1:16-21; Revelation 19:7-10). God wants us to take Old and New Testament prophecy to heart because in all generations we have needed prophetic understanding and discernment, but now, all the more in these latter days marching to the end and our Lord’s return. For this reason too, among His spiritual gifts to the Church are still prophets wisely interpreting and delivering His prophetic Word (Matthew 23:34; Ephesians 4:7-11)!
As I celebrate my fortieth year as a Christian, I am grateful to God to have been gifted and called to serve Him and the Body of Christ as a watchman/prophet and teacher in His love (Ezekiel 33:1-9; Amos 3:8; Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:27-13:3). While many others in rejection of and disobedience to God’s Word add to their sin the dismissal of ministries like mine, I pray that the faithful will continue to give heed. For truly, those that heeded the instruction and warning the Lord gave me about not voting by race, but righteousness, do not now live with regret from having voted for President Obama. That was another practice test from God in making proper judgments in these fast approaching days of the Antichrist--His final exam (Deuteronomy 13:1-4; Revelation 13, 14:6-13). In that day, my faithful God will fully vindicate my service (Hebrews 6:10; Revelation 18:1-20)!
I testified in a another blog it took me twenty-two months after becoming a Christian to come to the place of full surrender to the Lord. After seven days of fasting without food or drink, intensive Bible study, prayer and meditation the Lord commanded and conducted me in, I came forth from that death of the old Robert Kelley, a new man alive with blazing zeal for Him!1 Besides the Spirit’s joyful fire burning like an inferno in the deepest recesses of my inner man, that zeal was driven by thanksgiving to the Lord for saving me, seeing His awesome power displayed in my life and coming to understand the shared victory I have with Him over death!
Too, as I wrote in the blog referenced earlier, while I did not know then that the Lord was also giving me an initial introduction to the gifting, calling and ministry He had for me, I knew that motivationally, I wanted, was eager and ready to serve Him in some way! Imagine my surprise when in the churches, few shared my zeal for the same Jesus they declared saved them too! In fact, to this day I remain dumbfounded (with righteous indignation also, now, knowing the dulling role manmade religion plays in the matter) at how casual and lackluster yet, ready to be exploitive for their own purposes many professed Christians are of those that are newborn in Christ!
How could folk that claim to be reading the same Bible as me miss the roll call of souls that served God zealously out of a heart of faith, love and gratitude reaching all the way back to Abel (Genesis 4:1-8; Hebrews 11:4; 1 John 3:10-12)? Even formerly avowed idol worshippers and pagans demonically possessed encountering the power of the living God emerged from the experience in fullness of lasting gratitude and wanting to faithfully serve Him from the heart (2 Kings 5:1-19; Mark 5:1-20)! Not dull hearted, ho hum religionists fill the pages of Scripture as those that please God and who He uses mightily, but those on fire for Him and His causes!
Learning about such men as Moses the prophet, David the king, Ezra the priest and Paul the apostle of Christ caused me to understand that my zeal to serve God from the heart was the norm of His expectation, not the exception as religionists would have us believe. Over my forty years such folk have repeatedly charged me with being “too serious.” Is being too serious about God even possible considering how serious we as sinners are about our sins? Indeed, I continue to marvel that God has been able to do anything worthwhile with me given the thoroughly flawed character I possessed to include all of the common issues of fallen men such as pride and selfish ambitions.
Not that I have now arrived at perfection. However, perfect Father that God is, He in love has patiently instructed, rebuked and chastened me in my development as a son, disciple and servant.2 Over forty years of His discipline He has redirected my focus, for example, from seeking in pride and selfish ambition to be successful. Truly, all of the former kings of Israel had achievements, but God was not impressed. Always with God, it is honoring Him with faith, love, obedience and faithfulness. So, He focused me on being faithful out of a heart to please Him whether religious church folk applaud or not (Numbers 12:1-8; 1 Samuel 13:14, 16:6-13; Ezra 7:8-10; 1 Timothy 1:12-17)!
For this reason too, though Satan has tried through many so-called successful Christian leaders in my journey, I have not yet sold God out for the sake of some great attainment or desire to build a monument to myself issuing forth from pride and selfish ambition (oh, that younger preachers are reading this). Nor by the Lord’s grace have I obeyed some pastor’s corruption of His Word for personal benefit. I have, though, predictably suffered hate and ostracism among other things for this (1 Kings 22:1-38). The Lord Jesus--who is the ultimate example of faithfulness--has also taught me that obedience to Him and His Word has a far greater reward and is more fulfilling than pleasing and being popular with men (Luke 6:22-23, 26; John 12:42-43; Hebrews 3:1-6).
Ezra’s devoted heart to God was such that when it was told him that many including spiritual leaders among the captives returned from Babylon were again brazenly violating God’s law by marrying pagan women from the surrounding lands, in grief he not only tore his clothes, but plucked out chunks of hair from his head and beard. In astonishment, he spent the rest of the day fasting without food or drink and by the evening sacrifice, was found crying out to God in confession and repentance for his people (Ezra 9). The Lord has made me to know such a heart as His own with regard to the spiritual condition of the many professed American Christians, pastors and churches in rebellion against Him.
I have been perceived as weak and ridiculed for weeping publically over God’s people in sin. But the assembly wept and confessed their sins with Ezra that day; mingling their warm tears with the cold rain they stood outside in which most of the guilty repented during the following days (Ezra 10). I would that all professing to be Christians that are guilty come to or regain a zeal to serve Him from the heart through sincere confession and repentance from the sin that has hardened their hearts to God! Without a faithful heart in these latter days, escape from satanic enticement to unfaithfulness and snares of destruction God is allowing to test every heart, will not come easy (Hebrews 3:7-19). Thank You, Lord, for forty years of Your loving discipline and heart makeover!
1 Read the October 2, 2016 blog, Gifted With A Prophet’s Heart, under the category, Call To Repent.
2 Learn more about how God restores us as sons, disciples and servants in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics on sale as an E-Book in two formats now
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