Friday, February 06, 2009

“Testing the Prophets”

The Lord never wants us to accept a prophet’s message blindlessly. Intrinsic to His relationship with us, His creatures, is His desire that we learn to think for ourselves.

He would not be honored with a race of beings in His eternal kingdom who were not intelligently thoughtful for themselves. One could almost want to say that there will be no one in His eternal kingdom who is not intelligently thoughtful and inquiring; even if we discuss the issue of babies that die in infancy, they will “grow up” as intelligent beings in His kingdom. For sure, we know that now He wants us to receive the messages of His inspired prophets with the use of our own intelligence.

Hence the thought of “testing” the Lord’s inspired prophets is appropriate. The Lord is always kind and merciful to “doubters.”

In His incarnation, He was thoughtful of people who wrestled with the idea that He who appeared to be only a humble carpenter from the village of Nazareth, was the divine Son of God incarnate. He would meet people on the sidewalk as He was carrying boards for His carpentry work; they could now know Him by any beauty of countenance for Isaiah had said that He was “a root out of dry ground”: with “no form nor comeliness, ... no beauty that we should desire Him” (53:2).

He was especially considerate of those who wanted to recognize Him as the divine Son of God in human flesh, when they saw Him subject to the most terrible humiliation possible—death on a cross as though He were merely a Roman criminal.

The story of the two disciples walking to Emmaus is poignant: the risen Son of God was not too high and lofty to feel a concern for them; He joined them as an unknown fellow traveler discussing current Jerusalem history (Luke 24:13-31). If Jesus had initially blurted out that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, He would probably have lost them; but He patiently and in a lowly manner reviewed the familiar Scripture statements —giving us this unspeakably precious little story. He left these two disciples to weigh the evidence for themselves—which He always does for us, too. It’s all a part of His plan for us to “weigh” or “test the prophets.”

The Lord is considerate of you if you are a born “doubter.” Test Him, test His Book, the Bible. The Lord welcomes your inquiries, even your honest doubts. Here’s what you should do:

(a) Show Him the respect you would show anyone who is an important person.

(b) Kneel before Him with the Bible open.

(c) Ask Him directly, “Is this Book your inspired word to mankind?”

(d) Then wait , ... before Him patiently (there was no Hebrew word anciently for “patiently”—it was just “wait, and wait, and wait . ...” Test the Sovereign Lord. Wait ...

(e) You will learn a confidence that thereafter nothing can ever shake again.

Robert J. Wieland