APRIL 15, 2021
Prophets are sad precisely because there is always a counter-argument, another excuse to delay repentance and walking in holiness.
Their rejection often comes with scoffing, name-calling, and questions surrounding their own mental and emotional health.
Prophets not only believe that God’s ways are higher than their own, they embody what appears to be sheer foolishness in commitment to God.
What kind of wild man stands at the intersections of culture that rage over defunding the police, Planned Parenthood, Black Lives Matter, and the possibility of delaying an election and continues to shout those two words that make everyone blush – Jesus saves?
The prophets love Johnny Cash, not only because of his wit or creativity with country music… It’s because he wears black. Cash and the Tennessee Two had something to say no matter if it were on the radio or playing for free food at the local honky-tonk. The prophets had a fire in their bones, truth on their minds, and vision for God’s people to be who they already were. A light to the nations. Salt of the earth! Not syncretistic, compromising, schmoozers at the temple of Ba’al. They drive the people of God to stop pandering to the world around them because they know that when compared to Jesus, the very best this world has to offer is a Jack in the Box drive-thru and one night stay at Motel 6.
In a world that loves vague sentimentalities, the prophets are despised because they are too loud, too clear, and too straight forward on loving your neighbor and pursuing justice in the name of God.
Politicians can’t buy the prophets. These cowboys of God didn’t choose their occupation for their ego to be stroked by paparazzi, fanboys, and invitations to the local reindeer games. Prophets are content with being resented like a barking dog in the middle of the night. Prophets are men and women who count the cost and are willing to say the truth come hell or high water, and they damn well know it’s coming.
Ezekiel was lying on his side by the campfire in a fever-trance. Hosea was found at the auction block of Gomer. Jeremiah’s sadness was seen in his bloodshot eyes.
These lightning bolts from heaven serve as the grace of God in a world set on fire by hell. We would do ourselves, the world around us, and most certainly, God himself a great service to listen to the cowboys. More often than not, they’re the ones through whom God is speaking. We don’t want to listen to them in our culture that minimizes pain, grief, and death at any cost. When someone dies, we get through the funeral as fast as possible. When someone’s marriage is on the rocks we like to tell ourselves, “They’ll work it out. It’ll be ok.” When someone’s teenager is out ‘sewing his wild oats’ we say, “Oh. It’s just season.” But prophets don’t do that. They call us to weep when we see sadness because that’s the only appropriate response. And yet, somehow we think they’re the crazy ones.
They call us to rejoice when the harvest comes in! They tell us to look around the dining table every once in a while a let out a belly laugh and thank you to God for all of his provisions! And so, yes, while the prophets carry a word of heaviness and repentance, they can also be the ones who are the most clear on the loving tenderness of our gracious God.