When Old Testament Israel strayed from following God, Yahweh had unique and painful ways of getting the Hebrews’ attention. His first line of attack was to send in His prophets—who were not the shiny, happy-clappy, cliché-spewing, aphorism-addicted mega church pastors who are more interested in hawking their books than bearding the priests of Baal.
No, the prophets were wrecking cranes to wayward Israel’s facades. They were imperfect, difficult dudes who called a spade a shovel for a perfect God. They didn’t give a crap who you were, who your mommy was, if you were the King or Pastor Whoop-Dee-Frickin’-Do. They were fiercely devoted to God and His ways. Janet Napolitano would call these truth-tellers “terror threats” because they loathed godless governments and butt-kissing priests and had no problem whatsoever letting those entities have it verbally.
Yep, if you were out of sorts with God because of practicing whacked stuff or preaching Oprah instead of Obadiah, you were about to be publically roasted via the prophets’ sizzling invectives.
Need a mental image? Imagine Rush, Beck, Coulter, Miller or O’Reilly on steroids.
This skewering, to be sure, was about as fun for the rebel recipients as watching Nancy Pelosi do an interpretive dance of “Riders on the Storm” (the extended version) would be for Simon Cowell.
A humiliating open rebuke, however, was a mere love tap when compared to an eternity of misery and the coming decades-long national butt kicking Israel was in line to receive should they remain contumacious.
The prophets’ messages were never complicated. These gruff and holy critters offered God’s people two choices: turn or . . . burn. If Israel obeyed, they’d be blessed. If they disobeyed, well . . . let’s just say things didn’t go that well for the next four decades.
You see, if Israel turned from their profane BS (belief systems) and back to God, Yahweh would chill and relent from the attention-grabbing calamities He was heatin’ up on heaven’s back burner. The prophet, unfortunately, was officially out of a job if the Hebrews went the repentant route. Yep, Amos had to go back to fig picking.
However, when Israel blew the prophets off by condemning the messenger, categorizing the message as hate speech, jailing the prophet(s) or, as in some cases, killing the prophetic salvo, God would in turn switch to plan B to get His insubordinate group’s good ear.
God, not the one to run out of advanced repentance techniques, would allow Israel’s economy to go to hell, plagues to ravage their land, nature to convulse, and enemies the ability to pulverize them.
Yep, unless I’m reading the Bible upside down, it seems that when the nation went astray from God’s law and wouldn’t listen to the prophets’ calls to repentance and instead vilified the saving voices, God allowed one (or more) of the four aforementioned hammers to pound them until Israel became all ears.
This is, at least to me, a plain prophetic pattern within the Scripture. The $64,000 question you gotta ask yourself is this: If there is a God, and if the Bible isn’t a bunch of fairy tales written by a stack of whack jobs, then does God still roll today like He did with Old Testament Israel as He interfaces with 21st century nations that spurn His values to His face?
I’m guessin’ God hasn’t had an extreme makeover and that He is the same yesterday, today and forever, which could mean in our current culture—where evil is good and good is evil—that we might be in line for grave negative sanctions because, apparently, America’s new favorite pastime is whizzing on that which is holy, just and good.