27 March 2014

Mrs Isaiah: Prophetess

A title, an honour?
A position above others?
Holier than the rest?
A special skill, unusual gift?
Reader of the future?
Seventh sense?

Called by God to be a servant
of the LOrd and His people
with all of my life.
I am a walking message:
actions, words,
even my children
whose names I did not choose.
I am one of you,
a woman of Israel,
hurting with my people
who won't hear or change.

Turn around, repent!
The future's not unchangeable.
God longs to save, be merciful -
if you but let Him.
Change your ways!

My life is a tool
in the hands of God,
a letter to the world.
Sharing in His longing
for all to be saved.
Sharing in their search
for peace and salvation.
Sharing in His pain
when they turn away.
Sharing in their fear
of judgement.

Here I am, o Lord.
Use me
and give me strength
to bear the consequences.


[August 2013]

In case you didn't know: yes, there are prophetesses in the Bible. Quite a few of them. Isaiah's wife is called "the prophetess" in Isaiah 8:3 but I don't think she's mentioned anywhere else.

So this pretty much reflects my understanding of prophecy, especially from reading Isaiah. People generally seem to see prophecy as a kind of "seeing the future" thing. I believe it's a lot more. If we only read the prophets to know "what's going to happen", we miss out the bit that applies most to us, namely their criticism of society. The summary of their message is very similar to the one of Jesus in Mk 1:15 "Repent!" - which means, "Change your ways!"

The prophets are not like Greek oracles. The Greek oracle says what will happen, and no matter how hard people try to prevent it, it happens anyway. The prophets of the Bible give a warning, and encourage people to change. The future is not unchangeable: God was going to destroy Ninive when He sent Jonah, but because they reacted to the warning and repented He changed His mind.

What I find really interesting about the prophets too is that they are not really different from the people. Most of them are speaking to their own people. They know that what they are preaching counts for them too. Jeremiah had to suffer together with his people. I think they also suffered for their people. In a way they were between God and people, knowing both and "hurting both ways", in a sense. And they care for the people just like God cares for them, because they are their people, and they aren't simply detached. To be able to criticise others, I think we need to have enough love that criticising does not turn into judging, and that when we criticise we do not enjoy the thought of the other being punished.

Another really interesting thing is that the prophet's whole life gets involved. Isaiah walks around practically naked for 3 years. (Isaiah 20) His children's names were messages (Isaiah 7-8). Serving God is a full-time thing. What we do and how we act says something. If our life says something differently from what we believe, then something is not right.

Picture by Gustave Doré, actually depicting the prophetess Deborah.

No comments:

Post a Comment