The prophet in his day is fully accepted of God and totally rejected
by men. Years back, Dr. Gregory Mantle was right when he said,
“No man can be fully accepted until he is totally rejected.” The
prophet of the Lord is aware of both these experiences. They are
his “brand name.”
The group, challenged by the prophet because they are smug and
comfortably insulated from a perishing world in their warm but
untested theology, is not likely to vote him “Man of the year” when
he refers to them as habituates of the synagogue of Satan! The
prophet comes to set up that which is upset. His work is to call
into line those who are out of line! He is unpopular because he
opposes the popular in morality and spirituality. In a day of faceless
politicians and voiceless preachers, there is not a more urgent
national need than that we cry to God for a prophet! The function
of the prophet, as Austin-Sparks once said, “has almost always
been that of recovery.”
The prophet is God’s detective seeking
for a lost treasure. The
degree of his effectiveness is determined by his measure of
unpopularity. Compromise is not known to him. He has no price
tags. He is totally “otherworldly.” He is unquestionably controversial
and unpardonably hostile. He marches to another drummer! He
breathes the rarefied air of inspiration. He is a “seer” who comes
to lead the blind. He lives in the heights of God and comes into the
valley with a “thus saith the Lord.” He shares some of the
foreknowledge of God and so is aware of impending judgment.
He lives in “splendid isolation.”
He is forthright and outright, but he claims no birthright.
His message is “repent, be reconciled to God or else ...!”
His prophecies are parried.
His truth brings torment, but his voice is never void.
He is the villain of today and the hero of tomorrow.
He is excommunicated while alive and exalted when dead!
He is dishonored with epithets when breathing and honored with
epitaphs when dead. He is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ,
but few “make the grade” in his class. He is friendless while living
and famous when dead. He is against the establishment in ministry;
then he is established as a saint by posterity. He eats daily the
bread of affliction while he ministers, but he feeds the Bread of Life
to those who listen. He walks before men for days but has walked
before God for years. He is a scourge
to the nation before he is
scourged by the nation. He announces, pronounces, and denounces!
He has a heart like a volcano and his words are as fire.
He talks to men about God.
He carries the lamp of truth amongst heretics while he is lampooned
by men. He faces God before he faces men, but he is self-effacing.
He hides with God in the secret place, but he has nothing to hide
in the marketplace. He is naturally sensitive but supernaturally
spiritual. He has passion, purpose and pugnacity. He is ordained of
God but disdained by men.
Our national need at this hour is not that the dollar recover its
strength, or that we save face over the Watergate affair, or that we
find the answer to the ecology problem. We need a God-sent
prophet! I am bombarded with talk or
letters about the coming
shortages in our national life: bread, fuel, energy. I read between
the lines from people not practiced in scaring folk. They feel that
the “seven years of plenty” are over for us. The “seven years of
famine” are ahead. But the greatest famine of all in this nation at
this given moment is a FAMINE OF THE HEARING OF THE
WORDS OF GOD (Amos 8:11).
Millions have been spent on evangelism in the last twenty-five years.
Hundreds of gospel messages streak through the air over the nation
every day. Crusades have been held; healing meetings have made
a vital contribution. “Come-outers” have “come out” and settled, too,
without a nation-shaking revival. Organizers we have. Skilled
preachers abound. Multi-million dollar Christian organizations
straddle the nation. BUT where, oh where, is the prophet? Where
are the incandescent men fresh from the holy place? Where is the
Moses to plead in fasting before the holiness of the Lord for our
moldy morality, our political perfidy, and sour and sick spirituality?
GOD’S MEN ARE IN HIDING UNTIL THE DAY OF THEIR SHOWING
FORTH. They will come. The prophet is violated during his ministry,
but he is vindicated by history. There is a terrible vacuum in
evangelical Christianity today. The missing person in our ranks is
the prophet. The man with a terrible earnestness. The man totally
otherworldly. The man rejected by other men, even other good men,
because they consider him too austere, too severely committed,
too negative and unsociable. Let him be as plain as John the Baptist.
Let him for a season be a voice crying in the wilderness of modern
theology and stagnant “churchianity.”
Let him be as selfless as
Paul the apostle. Let him, too, say and live, “This ONE thing I do.”
Let him reject ecclesiastical favors. Let him be self-abasing,
nonself-seeking, nonself-projecting, nonself- righteous, nonself-glorying,
nonself-promoting. Let him say nothing that will draw men
to himself but only that which will move men to God.
Let him come daily from the throne room of a holy God, the place
where he has received the order of the day. Let him, under God,
unstop the ears of the millions who are deaf through the clatter of
shekels milked from this hour of material mesmerism. Let him cry
with a voice this century has not heard because he has seen a
vision no man in this century has seen. God send us this Moses
to lead us from the wilderness of crass materialism, where the
rattlesnakes of lust bite us and where enlightened men, totally blind
spiritually, lead us to an ever-nearing Armageddon. God have mercy!
Send us PROPHETS!
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