I do not know enough about the Old Testament, and I am a preacher. I understand most of you who have not been to seminary (and who are not paid to study the Bible) know even less about the Old Testament. Here’s a synopsis of the OT:
- God blesses Israel
- Israel turns to idols
- God punishes Israel
- Israel turns back to God
- God blesses Israel
- Israel turns to idols (and the pattern keeps repeating…)
Remember, this kept occurring over centuries. God would send prophets to call the people to repentance. Yet God did not sugar coat the prophets’ job:
But you shall speak My words to them whether they listen or not, for they are rebellious.
“Yet they did not listen to Me or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck; they did more evil than their fathers. “You shall speak all these words to them, but they will not listen to you; and you shall call to them, but they will not answer you. “You shall say to them, ‘This is the nation that did not obey the voice of the LORD their God or accept correction; truth has perished and has been cut off from their mouth.…
God spoke to the prophets; the prophets spoke to the people; and the people did not want to hear it.
Paul told Timothy that a time is coming when people would be lovers of themselves and follow false teachers who would tell them what they want to hear, rejecting the truth for myths. Paul said people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good.
Yet Paul told Timothy to hold fast, not to be afraid, and to keep proclaiming the Gospel. Paul did not want Timothy to be under any illusions. Paul knew, just as the prophets of old knew, that this was a daunting task – like spitting into the wind. And without God acting in the hearts and minds of the hearers, the words would be in vain.
I am a modern day prophet. And before you take that wrongly, I mean I proclaim the same Gospel in yet another warped and crooked generation. And I do not need a fresh revelation from God. I have the Bible, which gives us all we need. Anyone who has anything “new from God” is not of God.
So I, and everyone else still willing to proclaim “the old, old story”, know what we are up against. We have the answer. And we know how pompous and egotistical that sounds. And we know that most of our society will ridicule us. And we can do nothing but keep proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ, waiting for God to act, even as we watch our society go to hell. I thought I was done, but I cannot end it with “our society goes to hell”. The reason I keep proclaiming is that some will be saved.
“Then you will say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says!’ Those who choose to listen will listen, but those who refuse will refuse, for they are rebels.” Ezekiel 3:27