Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Unafraid in 2017

Over the last several months we have been making our way through the Old Testament looking at both major and minor prophets. There are several things that stand out to me concerning these men. First of all there were times when the LORD revealed things to prophets that He had not revealed to anyone else. He gave these men insight, perspective, and discernment to see things that others did not necessarily see. 
For example, Ezekiel was given a vision into the plans and practices of the leadership in Jerusalem while he was sitting in Babylonian captivity. Within his vision he dug through a wall and observed the detestable practices of the spiritual leaders.  The prophets were also called upon to stand up and say things that were not popular to say. The prophets were not applauded for their sermons, instead they were hated and rejected.  The messages they were called to herald were the exact opposite of what the world and culture wanted to hear.  The prophets paid a price for serving the Lord. Some were tortured, others were imprisoned, some were martyred. Perhaps that is why Jesus said to His disciples so many years later, "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." Matt. 5:11-12

I am both humbled and convicted by the following quote from the late A.W. Tozer
"If Christianity is to receive a rejuvenation it must be by other means than any now being used. If the church in the second half of this century is to recover from the injuries she suffered in the first half, there must appear a new type of preacher. The proper, ruler-of-the-synagogue type will never do. Neither will the priestly type of man who carries out his duties, takes his pay and asks no questions, nor the smooth-talking pastoral type who knows how to make the Christian religion acceptable to everyone. All these have been tried and found wanting.
Another kind of religious leader must arise among us. He must be of the old prophet type, a man who has seen visions of God and has heard a voice from the Throne. When he comes (and I pray God there will be not one but many) he will stand in flat contradiction to everything our smirking, smooth civilization holds dear. He will contradict, denounce and protest in the name of God and will earn the hatred and opposition of a large segment of Christendom. Such a man is likely to be lean, rugged, blunt-spoken and a little bit angry with the world. He will love Christ and the souls of men to the point of willingness to die for the glory of the one and the salvation of the other. But he will fear nothing that breathes with mortal breath.
We need to have the gifts of the Spirit restored again to the church, and it is my belief that the one gift we need most now is the gift of prophecy."
A.W. Tozer -God and Men