About Jesus    Steve Sweetman

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Grieving Over The Ruins


A true prophet of God often suffers condemnation and criticism because of the nature of his message.  Through the prophet, the Lord exposes sin, demands repentance,  as well as the tearing down of humanistic, pagan, and even satanic traditions.  Only after these are done can the Lord fully bless and restore those to whom the prophetic message concerns.    


I don't claim to be a prophet, however, like a prophet, I'm sometimes criticized for being too negative in what I write and teach.  In response I ask, "have you read the Bible lately"?  The trend to speak only positive things to make people feel good about themselves results in a false sense of security.  How one feels about himself is not a true barometer of who one is.  Besides, this recent trend is founded on humanistic new age philosophies.


I'd suggest that most prophets in the Bible, if not all, weren't real excited about being a prophet.  There was, and still is, a high price to pay to speak the prophetic Word of the Lord.  Take the Old Testament prophet Amos for example.  Before becoming a prophet, he was a successful businessman. (Amos 6:10-15)  Becoming a prophet wasn't economically or socially beneficial for him, still, he obeyed the call of God no matter how burdensome it was for him. 


The word "burden" is often associated with the prophetic word.  A quick reading of the book of Isaiah shows the prophetic word as, "the burden of Tyre, the burden of Damascus, the burden of Assyria, the burden of Egypt, the burden of Moab", and so on.  These nations and cities ignored the prophetic message because it was negative and burdensome.  Instead, they turned to prophets that would speak things that would make them feel good.  They then either drove the prophet of God out of town or killed him.  No wonder being a prophet of God wasn't the ministry of choice back then.   


The prophetic word is definitely a burden to the prophet because what he preaches isn't all that pleasant at times.  He would probably rather preach comforting and uplifting words which would make him well liked and probably a bit more wealthier.  The apostle Paul put it this way.  In the last days, "to suit their own desires", many people "will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears from the truth and turn aside to myths".  (2 Timothy 4:3)  That's happening today. The prophetic voice of the prophet of God is being ignored by many while the humanistic new age voices of false teachers are being welcomed, both in our nations and in our church groups.    


Some people today speak a prophetic style message, which I do think is needed.  Sometimes I wonder if those people actually carry the burden associated with the prophetic message, or have they just jumped on the end time band wagon, preaching words of judgment. 


Jesus was weighed down with the prophetic burden sufficiently enough that He cried bitterly over Jerusalem, the city He loved, yet the city He also condemned.  Behind Jesus' words of judgment and condemnation was a heart of love and compassion for those He was about to condemn.  I suggest that if the modern day prophet isn't weighted down with the pain of the prophetic message, he probably isn't a true prophet.


Amos prophesied to the northern kingdom of Israel who was at the peak of her historical existence.  The northern kingdom was wealthy, economically secure, militarily powerful, and very influential in the world of her day.  That being said, God was not happy with the northern kingdom as Amos 6:4 to 7 states.  It reads.  "You lie on beds inlaid with ivory, and lounge on your couches.  You dine on choice lambs and fattened calves.  You strum away on your harps like David, and improvise on musical instruments.  You drink wine by the bowlful and use the finest lotions, but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph. (Israel) Therefore, you will be among the first to go into exile…"  These are sad words.  The northern kingdom of  Israel acquired all the world had to offer, but in the process she lost her soul.  Israel failed to grieve over the spiritual ruins she had become.


I know the above words were directed to the northern kingdom of Israel, but I think you might agree that the same criticism leveled against Israel could be leveled today against western nations, and even against much of the western church.  We, like Israel of old, live the life of luxury, but fail to grieve over who we have become.  We fail to grieve because we fail to see ourselves as we really are.  If we took the time to see what the Bible says about who we should be, we'd realize we aren't that.  For that reason, we fail to grieve.    


May we find repentance concerning our negligence.  There are things in our nations and in the church that should cause us to grieve, but don't.  Instead, we "lounge on our couches, improvise on our instruments, drink our wine of choice".  Then when the prophetic word is spoken, too often it's ignored, and in some cases the message isn't backed with a heart of love and compassion.  If these things don't change, we might be in danger of being sent into exile like Israel , or, as the Larry Norman song put it, "Stranded in Babylon".  Babylon is no place to be stranded in.     




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