Thursday, September 9, 2010

On Prophets and Such

I learned today who the first prophet least when the word was first used by God about someone. It shocked me a little: Abraham.

I guess it shocked me because I have always thought of a prophet as a spokesman for God to the men around. I tend to think of prophets as people like Elijah, Jeremiah, and Elisha. But, God used the word, so I am gonna go with it.

It also shocked me because of the context in which it was used. Abraham had once again lied about Sarah being his sister. Abimelech decided to take her for his own, but God intervened. (He had promised them a son and didn't need anyone thinking that the kiddo could belong to anyone other than Father get the drift.) So, God visits Abimelech and tells him that he is to return Sarah. He says, "Now then, return the man's wife, for he is a prophet, so that he will pray for you, and you shall live." (Gen. 20:7)

This caught me off guard a little. I never equated an intercessor with someone who has the gift of prophecy. But, it seems like God is saying that a person is only a prophet if they are an intercessor. It is how he first describes someone who is a prophet...he will pray for you.

Abraham had proven his ability and desire to intercede for others at the end of Chapter 18 when he humbly begs God to not punish the righteous along with the wicked in the city of Sodom. The city is destroyed due to the evil, but God mercifully spares Abraham's nephew, Lot, and his two daughters. (He tried to spare Lot's wife and Lot's future sons-in-law, but due to disbelief, they didn't make it.)

Genesis 19:29 makes it clear that Abraham's prayers are what saved Lot. "...God remembered Abraham and sent Lot out of the midst..."

So, does Abraham pray for Abimilech as God says he will...yes, he prays that God will heal Abimilech, his wife, and the female slaves. And, God indeed acts.

The Hebrew word for prophet here is "nabi" which means "to bubble forth, as from a fountain, to utter." Perhaps when we are speaking to God on behalf of men, God entrusts us with the secrets of His will... to utter over men. Adam Clarke said that "only later, an intercessor became the predictor of future events...because to such faithful praying men, God revealed the secret of His will."

It is as if God is saying that you must meet in the secret place with Him on behalf of the good of others before He will allow you to be a spokesman for His Name.

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