But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 1 Corinthians 1:27
The problem with self-described prophets is that too many of them aren’t worthy of the title. Why would God equip someone with the awesome power of prophecy only to have the “prophecy” consist of fundraising appeals, self-serving pronouncements, and a never-ending flood of products that you need to buy, right now?
By contrast, society’s actual prophets are somewhat reluctant to accept the verdict that they are engaged in prophecy. They see their job as fairly simple – to be truthful, even if that makes powerful people uncomfortable or threatening to the status quo.
True prophets also come from unexpected places. Cultural critics have noted that a trio of comedians – Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and John Oliver – have managed to expose hypocrisy and corruption in ways that journalists can’t seem to do anymore. Other leading voices in the fight against economic inequality – such as Pope Francis, academic-turned politician Elizabeth Warren, and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders – have been slandered and attacked.
Is there any better sign that someone is speaking truth than when powerful interests seek to shut someone up?
The Old Testament prophets were often unwelcome presences. This was particularly true if one of these prophets singled you out as an exploiter or a purveyor of injustice. That’s why the prophets were sometimes jailed or hounded out of town, why they lived in poverty, and why their truths were only recognized much later.
Which voices do you see as prophetic? Who is dropping “truth bombs” right now that you see as vitally important? What issues do they view as crucial — and what does that mean for you? This is the most important function of a prophet: to give us new points of view that we desperately need. Allow the truth, no matter how uncomfortable, to change your heart and mind.
Pray: Pray that God will help you be discerning in choosing from the many voices that are out there, and expose you to vital truths.
Read: Amos 1