God Who Promises (Prophets)

 

MOTIVATE

 SECULAR views on hearing from God

  1. 1.      Silent
    1.                     i.      Atheism: God doesn’t exist
    2.                   ii.      Agnosticism: God cannot be known
    3.                 iii.      Deism: God is distant

SUMMARY: God doesn’t exist or silent so, only natural, scientific explanations nothing supernatural.

PROBLEM: Science says trust and believe the evidence… but what if evidence leads to unknown and further pursuits… where science can’t confirm; then be open to faith in God.

  1. 2.      Spiritualism
    1.                     i.      Pantheism/Panentheism: God is/in everything
    2.                   ii.      Polytheism: God is multiple persons and things
    3.                 iii.      Superstition: God is in mysterious evil or good, vague and undefined

SUMMARY: God is popular when convenient and doesn’t infringe

PROBLEM: Do these have logical consistency and legitimate explanatory power?

  1. 3.      Supernatural
    1.                     i.      Monotheism: God is one, with no other gods
    2.                   ii.      Trinitarian: God is three persons in one substance

SUMMARY: Logically there can only be one true ultimate God who belongs allegiance and devotion.

PROBLEM: This sort of God must allow knowability through revelation.

 

E-N-T-E-R: The Prophets

2 Peter 1:16-21 says “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty…we ourselves heard the very voice borne from heaven…And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your years, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

These books have provided confidence to trust God’s Word and trust God’s character. They point to God’s promises which 1) have come true showing the truth of the Bible in past centuries, 2) have pushed Christians forward to increased faith and hope rather than disobedience and discouragement. The same God of the Word is the same God today – the point of this series is that we may encounter, know and worship the God of the Bible!

 

Isaiah 46:5, 9-11 “To whom will you liken me and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be alike?…for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose’…I have spoken and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed and I will do it.”

 

Hebrews 1:1-2 “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.”

 

–     How do you know the Bible is true?
TheDead Sea scrolls were discovered in 1947. It was an amazing discovery because there were copies and scrolls of the Bible found that dated 150 years before Jesus. Secular scholars expected to find numerous errors in translations and even more that of altered prophecies concerning the nature and circumstances of the Jewish Messiah. In fact, they were proven wrong. It is noted that over 99% of the words in today’s Bible are the exact words in the original autographs; even the fraction percent of textual variants (different words, altered word order or misspellings) have no bearing on essential text meanings or Christian doctrine.

 

EXAMINE

Israel’s history is that of a nation that has gathered as God’s people, receiving His commands to worship and obey Him. They do so for a time but after King David and Solomon the nation splits into 2 kingdoms, 10 tribes to the North (Israel) and 2 tribes (Judah & Benjamin) to the South.[1] Israel never has a good or godly king (of 19 kings) and eventually gets conquered by Assyria in 722 B.C.[2] Judah has a few good kings but mostly evil (8 of 20) and eventually falls to Babylon in 586 B.C.[3] Interspersed during these 400 years are prophets. The prophets are God’s spokespersons[4], as a modern day ambassador or press secretary, who often direct, forewarn and foretell of God’s actions.

 

In the prophets we see a God who promises…

In the books of Isaiah – Malachi {Prophetic Books}, God gives His people promises of judgment and hope. If they refused to listen and repent then they would experience judgment; but if they turned to God and obeyed then God blessed. Ultimately, they would look forward to a time of permanent hope and restoration promised from the prophets.

 

God promises a day of reproof (Amost 5)

The prophet Amos spoke early inIsrael’s prophetic history (approx 755); yetIsraelwas long down a path of sin and rebellion from God.Israelwas in a time of physical prosperity but spiritual depravity. As Amos prophesied, he did so with sadness overIsrael’s faults:

 

5:2       Forsaken the Lord

5:3       False Pride

5:4-5   Mistaken Foundation

5:6       Unrepentant

5:7-11 Greedy w/o integrity

5:11-12 Negligent of poor

5:18-23  Fake worship

 

The reproof was to turn from sin and to God

5:14-15, 24 “Seek good and not evil, that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you as you have said. Hate evil and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph… But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

 

“Day of the Lord” in the Prophets
The prophets would refer to times of warning and judgment forIsrael. Additionally, these times would look forward to an ultimate Day of eternal wrath and judgment upon those who reject God.

–     Israel’s sin related to God’s commandments of Loving God and Loving Others. They are inextricably linked.

Micah 6:8  “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

 

–     All the prophets called for REPENTANCE

*     Repentance –

“I have freed a thousand slaves, but I could have freed a thousand more if they knew they were slaves.” – Harriet Tubman

Do you know you are a slave to sin?

*     What would God reproof in your life? Our church?

  • In your life is there false pride? Unrepentant sin? Greed?
  • Is our church negligent of the poor and the downtrodden? Do we sing and worship unto the Lord or to satisfy our own preference?

 

God promises a day of redemption (Isaiah 1:16-20; 40:1-5; 55:1-3)

The prophets also gave hopeful reminders toIsraelupon humble and repentant hearts. In Isaiah’s day (740B.C.), the people had similar problems reproved.

1:2-4   Forsook the Lord

1:5-6   Fully Depraved

1:11-15 Fake Worship

 

But Isaiah, of all the prophets, gives a rich picture of God’s promise of redemption.

 

Isaiah 1:16-20  “Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

 

Sin feels dirty. Like a raped woman seeks to shower immediately, hoping to remove the feel and stain of what has happened, so the person who has sinned against God must wash spiritually in repentance and the gospel of Jesus’ cleansing blood.

 

Isaiah 40:1-5 “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins. A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

 

God commands double comfort for His people. They have been reproved for 39 chapters and now the tone shifts. Rather than sharp tone he speaks softly (literally “speak to the heart”; as a young man wooing his bride). The same God who judged sin is the same God who pardons sin. He is just and the justifier (Romans 3:26). A voice calls out to prepare the path for God’s glorious redemption.

 

Isaiah 55:1-3 “COME, everyone who thirsts, COME to the waters; and he who has no money, COME, buy and eat! COME, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.”

 

The Lord issues 3 invitations to come and feast in the life of joy and fulfillment in the Lord. The price has been paid so there is no need to earn the invitation, just come and listen, eat and delight so your soul will live. This is an everlasting covenant provided by the faithful love of God.

 

APPLY/THINK

ð     Where do you need repentance in your life?

ð     Are you ready for the Messiah’s coming?

ð     Are you giving a voice to prepare the way for others to receive the Messiah’s coming?

  • Need modern day prophets to call out God’s Word and message of redemption

Great Commission


[1] 1 Kings 12

[2] 2 Kings 17:6, 24+

[3] 2 Kings 24 – 25

[4] The repeated phrase among the prophets, “Thus says the Lord…”

Day of Lord image from ESV Study Bible

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