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The Big Story Gods Quest to Bless The Prophets Roger Blumenthal July 14/15 Big Idea: The

e Jewish nation was suffering under the leadership of corrupt kings. Gods design was for leaders to be servants who would govern in such a way that His blessing was experienced by not only its citizens but by any people who came in contact with a devoted follower of Jehovah. But instead of being champions of devotion to God, freedom, compassion and social justice, most of the kings and their administration perverted justice, brutalized the people, and worshiped idol gods trying to find divine blessing for their evil ways. The Prophets were spiritual leaders that represented Gods voice to the Jewish Kings and their administration constantly seeking to bring them back to the way of Gods blessing. You will totally miss the message of the prophets if you think they are speaking to the average Joe they are not they are speaking to the leaders who mostly ignored, marginalized, and resisted the voice of God. Introduction: Review of Last week Last week we talked about the Poets, and attempted to see how men connected with the blessing of a relationship with God on a heart level. I hope that your week was filled with blessing as you connected with God as David did, from the heart. As we continue the Big Story, Gods Quest to Bless, we approach the subject of the prophets. Now since the people demanded a human King to rule over them, God was no longer who they directly depended upon. Unlike their leaders in the past who were dependent upon God for direction, kings were more powerful and vulnerable to the temptations of ultimate leadership. Now, when they were seduced by power, greed, and independence, God raised up a new kind of leadera spokesman, a mouthpiece of God. They did not lead the people, in fact most were hated by the people for they said things self centered people do not want to hear. These people were called Prophets. They were given the duty of relaying Gods word to the Kings to remind them of their position. After the reign of kings passed, and the people were sent into exile in Babylon because of their continued sin against God, the prophets became delivers of a message of Hope. They encouraged the people that they would be restored to the promised land and that while they were in exile God would still bless them. Lets take a look at 2 prophets and examples of how God used them to restore the blessing to His people. I. Jeremiah was a prophet that spoke both to the King and then to the nation as they were taken into exile. He warned them of what was to come, over and over he warned the King of the consequences of the sin that God had in store for the nation that would not repent. His message went unheeded. In Jeremiah 29:11 we read probably one of the top 10 most quoted verses in the Bible. Jeremiah writes For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. What a great verse of encouragement, but the context of this passage makes this verse come alive. Jeremiah 29 is a letter written to the people who have been taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar into Babylon. It is a letter to encourage them to not give up, but to have hope and to live and be a blessing in the nation they are, for as that nation is blessed so they will be blessed. What a great concept. Here is what verse 4-10 say of chapter 29. 4 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 "Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper." 8 Yes, this is what the LORD

Almighty, the God of Israel, says: "Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. 9 They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them," declares the LORD. 10 This is what the LORD says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. It is interesting to note that this letter is in response to chapter 28 and the prophesy of a prophet who was not sent by God. He was a voice that declared himself a messenger and was not. Hananiah declared that the King and all the people would return to Jerusalem in 2 years. He was so persuasive that the Priest believed him. God sent Jeremiah to Hananiah to deliver a message, it was his death sentence for misleading the people. Think about how devastating it would have been for a peoples faith to believe God would free them in 2 years and it was going to take 70 years. The prophet had to be dealt with or the people would lose all hope. Our enemy is not flesh and blood but it he is a lying deceiver. He will use others to send wrong messages that seem right at the time to confuse and attempt to malign Gods character and integrity. It is in this context that Jeremiah sent a letter to inspire them with hope. The 70 years were set in stone; God was not going to make it shorter because they owed the land 70 years of Sabbaths. God said in Lev 26 that the land should celebrate a Sabbath year every 7th year when nothing was to be grown. For 490 years the kings allowed the people to rebel against Gods law and seek wealth and prosperity feeding their greed over obedience and dependency upon God. Jeremiah had told them it was coming and they did not listen, and then it came. King Nebuchadnezzar came and took them away into exile where they remained for 70 years. Now, there are many lessons that can be gleaned from these events but the Big Story here is that even when God hands out discipline to restore blessing, you can experience blessing in the discipline. Last week I said life was not simple math, 1 plus 1 does not equal 2 when God is involved. He can even make discipline and exile a time when His people can experience His blessing. Why is this? Because blessing is not determined by our Circumstances, they come directly from God. The job of a prophet was not an easy one that is for sure, who wants to go tell the most powerful person in the Nation bad news and say it is from God? I know plenty of people who share news that they feel is from God, but time really proves what messages are truly inspired. It is hard to test and measure our words though they lay heavy on our hearts, but the truth of what we feel and say is proved out by the actual time and events that happen. Prophets speak of blessing lost by sin and the hope of blessing restored. II. The Prophets who spoke to the kings Last week we saw how King David, a man appointed by God to be the human King to be a conduit of Gods blessing to man struggled to be pursue God in all the emotions and experiences of his rather eventful life. I want to look at his life and an encounter he had with a prophet named Nathan. This is a wonderful example of how prophets spoke to cultures and Kings when they used their place of blessing to abuse and neglect the blessing of God from others. 1 Samual 11 Review Davids decisions to rebel against God. Did not go to war Wandered around at night Saw another beautiful woman bathingnot like he did not have many of his own ready to serve him. Sent someone to inquire as of her identity Invited her over Slept with her Impregnated her

Called her husband back from war to cover his sin Sent him out to be murdered in battle Gave the enemies cause to question Israels strength as the killed one of Isreals best. He rewarded loyalty with betrayal Covered it all up and attempted to bury the secret Though he used others to do his work and they obeyed out of loyalty to the crown, but the requests caused them to question the integrity of their King. Nathan arrives with a reminder that Kings must still obey 1 Samuel 12 Parable of the sheep Poor man has one, rich man has many Rich takes from poor to feed a guestinstead of using one of his own David explodes and demands justice for the poor man. It is YOU Nathan exclaims. The tone of the prophets to the disobedient Kings seems to be that of anger and disappointment in the sins of the leaders. The responsibility of the leader is great, and God gives great wisdom strength and power to these men so they might be conduits of His blessings. He also confronts disobedience with clear and concise words that bring about repentancePsalm 51. Where we get the songCreate in me a clean heart

Psalm 51 For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba. 1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. 5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. 6 Surely you desire truth in the inner parts [a] ; you teach [b] me wisdom in the inmost place.

7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. 10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. 13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you. 14 Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. 15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17 The sacrifices of God are [c] a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. 18 In your good pleasure make Zion prosper; build up the walls of Jerusalem. 19 Then there will be righteous sacrifices, whole burnt offerings to delight you; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

God desires to Bless, the enemy desires to use threats to distract us from the way God intends and Joy and Hope a life a blessing brings. We now have a prophet in our midst, one who declares the truth of God, who points the way to Gods blessing and convicts our hearts when we rob and steal the blessing from others. God uses His Holy Spirit to speak to your heart and to mine. To live in blessing is to seek Gods heart and respond to people as God calls. Our role is not to save the world, Jesus already took on that role. Our role is to be a conduit of Gods blessing so that others can see what God intended life to be and that they can be blessed because that is how we live. Gods Quest to Bless? Discipline is a natural result when we break Gods law, it is intended to bring repentancea change in the way we think and act. Are you experiencing discipline? Anyone can say, God told me, but that does not mean he did, just as Hananiah was a false prophet we can also be misled. Test before you trust. Prophets spoke bold messages to hardened hearts, hoping that people would submit to God. Are your ready to submit? Are you ready to turn your life and will over to Jesus? Next week, Glen will be offering an open invitation for us to express our faith in Jesus, to submit our lives to him through baptism. Are you ready to submit?