Over the last couple months, I have been leading a Bible study in McVille where we have been talking about prophets.
We looked at the big names within the books of Samuel and Kings: Samuel, Nathan, Elijah, Elisha.
We talked briefly about Jeremiah (whom we shall revisit in a couple weeks).
And the last two weeks we have been talking about Isaiah.
I wanted to talk about prophets because their words mattered and continue to matter.
The prophets spoke to specific situations and people. They preached to kings, community leaders and the misguided children of God. They looked at the world around them and sought to encourage people to give up their misguided ways and turn back to God.
Their words mattered thousands of years ago, and their words matter today as we can still learn from their messages.
The prophets were not afraid to look closely and honestly at the world to see what was going wrong. They talked openly (even if no one wanted to hear their message).
Their words of judgment can sting because we live in a world just as broken and messed up and misguided.
When we stray from God and God’s path for us, we are chastised and warned.
But their words of promise also give us hope when we read about how God did not abandon the people of God then but instead continued to provide hope and a future.
When we trust and believe in God, God is gracious and merciful and kind and generous.
The words in the Bible connect to our experiences today.
Our prophets today show up in unlikely places, are unlikely people, use different ways to get their messages out.
I have learned to really appreciate musicians for their willingness to write and sing honest words about how they view the world.
Yesterday we looked at oracles against nations and cities, against people who have not been following God.
I paired the prophet Isaiah up with a song by Flogging Molly. We listened to “Don’t Shut ‘Em Down” then read chapters 17, 22, and 24 from the book of Isaiah.
We listened to a song that talked about troubles faced in the 21st century then read messages preached 2700 years ago to places that faced trouble.
Homes would be and have been destroyed.
Businesses would be and have been closed.
Panic would be and has been prevalent.
Despair would be and has been a reality.
Nothing has changed in 2700 years and yet everything looks different.
And through all the troubles we can so easily cause for ourselves, God still waits for the people to figure things out and turn back to God.