Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Prophets and Rulers (3) Calling out Sins

  • The Old Testament prophets called out the sins of the covenant kings (of Judah and Israel).
    • Nathan challenged King David’s adultery and murder (1 Kings 12).
    • Miciah challenged King Ahab and King Jehoshaphat (1 Kings 22).
    • Samuel challenged King Saul (1 Sam 13:1-14).
    • John the Baptist challenged King Herod’s immorality (Matt 14:3-5).

  • The Old Testament prophets did not call out the sins of pagan rulers. There was no point, because they expected these kings to sin.
    • Daniel knew about Nebuchadnezzar’s sins, and told his son about them, but he did not challenge him about his immoral behaviour (Dan 5:1-20). Nebuchadnezzar’s was just doing what pagan kings have always done.

    • Ezekiel called out the pride of the King of Tyre (Ezek 28:1-19). This was a rare situation where a prophet did call out the sins of a pagan king. I could not find any other examples.

    • The Old Testament prophets prophesied against pagan kingdoms and warned them that they would collapse, but they did not usually call out their ruler’s sins.

  • In our time, Christian prophets should not call out the sins of non-Christian rulers, because they have not committed to following Jesus and they do not have the Holy Spirit helping them to live God’s way. They will expect them to sin from time to time, because that is what sinners do. Prophets should not condemn them for being who they are.

  • Christian prophets will sometimes call out the sins of Christian rulers, but this should be rare, because the prophet will not always understand the circumstances the ruler is dealing with. What appears to be sin might actually be a political compromise.

    • The challenge will usually come from a prophet who belongs to the same body of believers as the rulers.

    • The prophet will have a strong relationship with the ruler. God is not likely to use an unknown prophet from the other side of the earth.

    • The prophet will use the Matthew 18 process for challenging another believer (Matt 18:15-17). They will raise the issue in private first. If that does not work, the prophet might share with the ruler’s elders in their church. They would only go public if the challenge of the elders was rejected. Even then, they would often keep the sin to themselves, and leave God to sort out the issue.

    • God might send a prophet who is not connected with the ruler’s church, if the Christian ruler is being misled by court prophets (1 Kings 22).

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