{Post by the Husband} Hebrew Prophets

June 7, 2012 § 2 Comments

Fuller Theological Seminary

Fuller Theological Seminary (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While in Zambia, I (Ben) am pursing my Master of Arts in Theology degree from Fuller Seminary.  I started taking courses at their campus in Seattle before we moved to Lusaka, and I have been taking online courses while in Lusaka to keep up with my program.  I finished my Hebrew Prophets course this week (phew!), and I thought I would share a few keys that will hopefully inspire you to carefully study this section of the Bible.

1) Looking Back – When an average person thinks of a prophet, he/she likely thinks about a person who predicts what will happen in the future (or someone who fails to predict the future, for example a false prophet).  While there is truth to this element of a prophet’s role, prophecy in the Bible is about more than looking at what is to come.  In fact, prophecy isn’t so much about looking forward to something but rather calling us to look back  and live according to what we already know to be true.

In the Hebrew Prophets, much of the writers’ concerns are about how Israel has failed to measure up to their covenants with God.  Thus, the prophets serve to remind Israel of who God is and what He has always required so that they may repent and return to Him.  In reading through the many failures of Israel contained with the Prophets, it is easy to see areas where we too have fallen short of what God requires of us, thus looking back helps us to properly evaluate how we can move forward.

2) Community – In reading through the Prophets, a person will eventually reach the inescapable conclusion that how we live in community with others is essential to proper worship of God.  Many of the sins condemned by the prophets are both sins of evil committed against our neighbor and sins of failing to do good for our neighbor.  In our individualistic culture, we tend to think about what God requires of me, rather than what God requires of we.  The prophets clearly show that we must live faithfully in community in order to honor God.

3) God’s Faithfulness – Perhaps the most startling thing I see in the Prophets is God’s unwavering faithfulness to a faithless people.  Israel fails God time and time again, yet God continues to extend His mercy to those who repent and respond in obedience.  In my dealings with people, I may occasionally give someone who fails me a second chance.  Perhaps rarely, I will give them a third chance.  But eventually my patience will wear out and I will give up on them.  Not so with God.  His mercy never fails and remains available for all who respond.

Overall, Hebrew Prophets was a tremendously rewarding class that has given me an even greater appreciation for the Scriptures and for God’s faithfulness throughout all generations, as well as a sobering reminder that God will hold all people accountable for how they live in response to His grace.

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