The Prophetic Function of God’s Word

In I Kings 21, after King Ahab took the land which was the inheritance of his neighbor Naboth, :17 says: “Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite …” God did not overlook this evil deed of Ahab’s, but had a word to speak to him about it, and the judgment that was coming to him for his sin. Similarly, He does not overlook OUR evil ways either, but beholds them all, and holds us accountable for our deeds — and speaks to us regarding them in His word.

God is the same today as in the days of Elijah. He does not overlook the sins committed here on earth. Although no “prophet Elijah” exists today, godly pastors and teachers will not overlook the prophetic function of speaking to the sins of God’s people — lest THEY be spoken to and judged for what is THEIR sin as well!

In Harper Lee’s classic novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, the injustices and prejudices of whites against blacks in the South are chronicled. It causes one to wonder: where were the prophetic preachers throughout the South, decrying this oppression and prejudice? One might say, how could they turn a blind eye to that evil, and maintain a clear conscience before God in their churches?

But perhaps what we should ask ourselves is: does there exist a similar wrong which we are overlooking today? We should take no solace if none comes to mind immediately; rather we should remember that our forefathers’ omissions might not have come to their minds immediately either!

Where can we find that prophetic word of God which convicts us of our shortcomings, and calls us back to His holy standard? We find it in scripture. “The word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite …” — but His word has already come to us: II Timothy 3:16 says “All scripture is inspired of God, and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness …”. The written word of God serves the function of reproving and correcting His people, which is why it needs our constant, daily attention. We should search it daily that we may be reproved for our own sins, and whenever we preach or teach His word, we are to address the sins of the people which His word exposes. As His messengers, if we do not address them in that day, we risk the judgment of God upon ourselves as well.

About Shawn Thomas

My blog, shawnethomas.com, provides brief devotions from own personal daily Bible reading, as well as some of my sermons, book reviews, and family life experiences.
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