It is amazing that we begin today to preach in our Walk Through the Bible series sermons from the prophets of the Old Testament. We have completed sermons from the Pentateuch, which includes the first five books of the Old Testament. The Historical section of the Old Testament beginning with Joshua and ending with Esther was covered in 12 sermons. Then, we explored the Wisdom literature from sermons on Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon. In all, 22 sermons have been preached getting us to the point where we begin our Walk Through the Prophets.
We know from God’s word that prophecy does not originate from man, but comes to man from God himself, “…no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:21). Prophecy does not address our preferences. It always conveys God’s plan and His purpose. Prophecy commands our attention.
Prophecy is always for our good, “On the other hand, the one who prophecies speaks to people for their upbuilding, and encouragement, and consolation” (1 Corinthians 14:3, ESV). Prophecy does not break down or destroy. Even when God’s judgement is involved, the aim of prophecy is to redeem and restore God’s people to fellowship with Him.
Prophecy is born out of the awesome mystery and power of inspiration. The prophet Ezekiel claimed His source of inspiration as powerful and direct, “The word of the Lord came to me…” (Ezekiel 37:15). The word of God came to Hosea through his agonizing marriage experience. It came to Isaiah in a life-changing worship encounter. God gave Ezekiel phenomenal visions from which he could never escape. Habakkuk kept waiting on the watchman’ stand while Jeremiah struggled with God over his youthful innocence. In Prophecy, God showed his spokesmen how to formulate into language their deeply personal experiences with Him. The Prophets teach us that God can speak anywhere and at any time. Joel Barker said, “The function of prophecy is not to tell the future, but to make it.” When we examine the prophets we encounter God who never gives up on His people. The prophets teach us that God is at work for the good and redemption of His people. Do not be afraid of prophecy. When you read it, open your eyes to see what God is about to do for your good.
Tom Landry, noted coach of the Dallas Cowboys, many years ago said, “The role of a football coach is to make men do what they don’t want to do, so they can become what they’ve always wanted to be.” God used His prophets as His coaches to discipline, change and rescue his people. I look forward today to preach from these great servants of God. I pray that, through this study of the prophets, God will take me to a new level of obedience and faithfulness in my own personal walk with Him.