15th of November
Last time I wrote about the prophets Isaiah, Jonah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. They were used to announce judgment, but also salvation through repentance. I mentioned their dreams and visions. I said that God cleansed their sins in order to sanctify them and I wrote about the persecution they had to go through for the Lord. We must remember that the prophet is only a spokesman for Him.
To-day I want to start with the prophet Daniel. His ministry takes place under the 70 years’ captivity of Judah in Babylon. He was taken to Babylon when he was 16 years old and he was placed to serve the king. Daniel was chosen to become God’s voice of revelations both for the nations and for God’s chosen people. He announced his messages both for the times in which he lived and for eternity. The first nine chapters describe visions and later the explanations. He prophesied about the story of salvation and the future events.
A well known story from his book is the story about Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego. They were friends of Daniel and they did not want to bow down before the gods of Nebuchadnezzar and the golden image that he had set up. They were thrown into a furnace with very hot fire. When the king looked into the furnace, he didn’t see three men, but four and he looked like the Son of God. When they came out of the fire, their hair wasn’t even burned and nothing was destroyed. This is a great miracle.
Another story is just as known and that is about Daniel in the den of lions. The king had ordered that everyone had to worship him, but Daniel only wanted to worship his Lord, but the king had said that everyone who didn’t had to be thrown to the lions. Nebuchadnezzar even hoped that Daniel’s God would save him and so He did. He sent His angel to close the mouth of the lions and he came out of the den totally unharmed. Then the king promoted him.
When we talk about prayer, Daniel is often mentioned. He had to wait three weeks for the answer since there was a resistance by the prince of the kingdom of Persia. We can see that there is a war going on in the spiritual realm. A war angel was sent to fight the battle. The same is going on to-day and we can ask for help by the war-angels.
Daniel also got visions for the time we live in to-day, for the end-times. This is also one of many reasons why this book is so interesting. I am not an expert on interpretation, but ask the Holy Spirit to help you.
The next prophet is Hosea. He was ministering under a time of outward prosperity, but internal decay because of immorality. The Lord did something that I find a little strange and that is to ask Hosea to marry a harlot. His life with Gomer should be an example of God’s love for His people. I recently read a beautiful book about this relationship. Hosea. He had an unconditional love for her in spite of her obstinacy. He really thought that his love would melt her and make her love him.
Also Hosea had to announce judgment over sin, but Israel would be restored at the end. We can read in Hosea 14:4 “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, For My anger has turned away from him,” says the Lord.
Then we come to Joel. He lived in the year 835-796 before Christ. The kingdom of Judah had been attacked by a terrible destruction. A huge swarm of locusts had eaten all the plants. But even so, this could not be compared to the final judgment on the Day of the Lord. On that day, God will destroy all His enemies, but each believer will be saved and receive the Spirit and the blessing. I am sure that you have heard that the Spirit will be poured out over all flesh and that your sons and daughters shall prophesy and the old men shall dream dreams and the young men shall see visions. Joel prophesies judgment over the nations, but God’s blessings over His people. Joel’s prophesies are very relevant to-day and this is why they are quoted frequently.
The next one is Amos. He is a prophet during a time of optimism, but the greed increases. The people became religious, but hard and did not receive the discipline of the Lord. Hypocrisy was spreading among the people. Amos was both a shepherd and a prophet. His name means one who carries. He really carried the burdens of the people. He announces judgment over the nations and over Israel. The book ends by describing the blessings over the house of David and over the nations. I quote Amos 9:14+15 “I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; They shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them. I will plant them in their land, And no longer shall they be pulled up From the land I have given them.” says the Lord your God. Some of the other prophets are coming with the same prophesies. Prophesies will often be repeated. The Lord does not change, but might say the same to different servants at different times.
The prophet Obadiah has gotten one chapter in the Bible. He was used in the fight between Edom and Israel. The people of Edom come from Esau and they are stubborn and will not help Israel. The people of Israel come from Jacob. God prophesies judgment over Edom and victory over Israel. I quote the 17. and 18. verse: “But on Mount Zion there shall be deliverance, And there shall be holiness; The house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. The house of Jacob shall be a fire, And the house of Joseph a flame; But the house of Esau shall be stubble; And no survivor shall remain in the house of Esau.” For the Lord has spoken.
I jump over Jonah and go to the prophet Micah. He lived at the same time as Isaiah. He was told to go to the princes and to the people of Jerusalem. He should speak to the rich that misused the poor and to the false prophets who announced peace. One third of the book describes the sins of the people, one third announces judgment and one third describes the hope of salvation and a new life when the judgment is over. I quote Micah 7:18 “Who is a God like You, Pardoning iniquity And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage. He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in mercy.”
Do you remember the city of Nineveh? Jonah cried out judgment over the city, but they repented and God showed them mercy, but 100 years later Nahum was told to tell the city that it would fall. The city was in Assyria, and the people there had trusted the Lord, but left their faith and they became violent, worshipped idols and had lots of pride. Babylon should destroy the city and so it was.
Many people ask me why God punishes? He would rather show His mercy than punishing and that is why He warns individuals as well as an entire population and ask them to repent. The prophets are the ones that warn them. It is when they turn their back to Him, that the punishment comes.
LISTEN TO THE WARNINGS AND THE ENCOURAGEMENTS FROM THE LORD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!