Prophets of Weirdness

Prophets of Weirdness

Written by: Larry Elliott

With all due respect, these guys are really weird! Why would God want the very people who are said to be his “mouthpiece” to be so strange, so anti-social, so bizarre? Don’t believe me? Consider:

  • Isaiah walking around naked prophesying
  • Jeremiah hiding his underwear under a rock by the Euphrates
  • Jeremiah wearing “yoke-bars” as he spoke to the nation
  • Hosea marrying a prostitute and naming his children weird names
  • Jonah running from God and ending up in the belly of a great fish for 3 days
  • Ezekiel eating a scroll, laying on one side for 390 days, cooking his food over a fire of manure, prophesying over dry bones that come to life
  • Habakkuk confronting God on his seeming inactivity
  • Balaam riding a talking donkey

There are others but these are perhaps the most remarkable. The prophets were, indeed, a strange lot but God chose them and used them to speak his truth often to people who were utterly disobedient or others who didn’t even know him! Though we often think of prophets proclaiming visions of the future, far more of their speech had to do with daily living and how God expected his people to reflect his character to the world around them.  

There are 4 Major prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel (though some would consider Daniel as one of the historical books) and 12 Minor prophets. Major because of their length and breadth of subject matter and minor for their comparative lesser size.

The OT words define prophet as visionary or seer but most commonly as “one who announces” or declared the words of God. Prophets were quick to assert that God had spoken to them – “thus sayeth the Lord.” Their collective voice declares a unified message that the nation had violated their covenant with God, that there would be discipline but, in his mercy, God would forgive their sin and restore the relationship at his future intervention in history. These prophets spoke this unified truth for several hundred years and then after Malachi the prophets fell silent.

For 400 years no prophet spoke in Israel!

Then John the Baptist (clearly poured from the prophetic mold – replete with camel’s hair clothing and locust snacks!) and Christ were born, and the prophetic ministry was renewed, the silence was broken, the prophet’s message was vindicated, and a host of prophetic truth was fulfilled.

Christ continued the bizarre and disruptive legacy of the prophets. Miracles, redefining the Law, complete control over the physical and spiritual realms made Jesus a marked man in a long line of weird prophets. Here was the ultimate prophet, the One who spoke truth and was the Truth and would give his life, not as an illustration, but as the actual and effectual atonement for sin!!!

We must not dismiss the actions of these men as eccentric, goofy, and bizarre! They spoke the very words of God. They were living object lessons given to incite the people to follow the truth of God. They were overt demonstrations of the life transforming power of God’s word.

There were no movies, no snapchat, no animation, no you tube to illustrate the serious nature of man’s sin and rebellion. In the prophets we see a picture of man’s sin, the coming Messiah, Christ’s atoning sacrifice, God’s holiness, his intention to restore his people, his wrath, grace, and mercy. In his wisdom God used these men to awaken his people and to preserve for us a picture of his eternal plan!
 
Bizarre to us? Yes! Unimportant? No!!!!
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