Seems likely that this is why the prophets were hated by the people, and often killed.
More often than not in scripture, the word 'prophecy' denotes 1) an instruction for people to repent and return to the Lord; 2) a call to acknowledge who God is and what He desires of His people; 3) and only at times a supernatural look into the future of God's action amidst human behavior. Foretelling, biblically, is not the predominant use of prophecy in scripture! The ancient Israelites did not appreciate the prophets of God primarily because they informed the people of coming judgment by God that was a result of their rejection of God. Their years of comfort and blessing taught them self-reliance rather than dependence on God. And so the prophets reminded the people that their lives were not in keeping with God's commands.
The steady stream of Truth from the Word of God replies, "Every right."
First and foremost is because she is my sister in Christ. Before she was my best friend, my Bride, and the mother of my children, she was a daughter of the King, a child of God beloved by her Father. In delicious irony, the attribute that I admired most in her (her knowledge of God's Word, which has fed her spiritual growth through the years) is also the attribute that is most annoying to me when my selfishness or pride rears its ugly head. She can rebuke with the best of 'em. And I hate it!
But I also love it, because before I am her best friend, Husband, and father to her children, I am a son of God, beloved by my Father. My immediate revolt against the truth she speaks is the dying of my flesh. And I will love her forever because 1) I have promised to and 2) she cares enough about me to tell me the truth. She is my rock and steady hand when all else around us is unsure. Even when we fight. I can trust in her love for me, even when she don't like me! And in that, I can see the face of God in her.
But very rarely does the flesh go down without a fight. Nevertheless the Spirit in me accomplishes what the Spirit, speaking through her, desires for us all: a repentance without regret, leading to salvation. We have both been saved by Jesus, and we are in the process of being saved as our sinful selves are being put to death by the Spirit of God in us. And one day we will finally be saved in the eternal sense, as sin and death and Hades will be thrown into the lake of fire, never to torment the sons and daughters of God again.
That is the purpose of your life and my life: to show whether or not we truly desire God over all. If we do, we are able to take of that salvation now and in eternity through Jesus. If we do not, then we will not be forced to take that salvation now or in eternity. This is the message of the gospel of Jesus the Christ, the power of the cross, and the work of all pastors everywhere.
But many Church leaders have rejected the biblical admonition to prophetically call all people to repent of their sins and turn to Jesus. We have reduced the Word of God to stories and then wonder why people see no point to come listen to them every Sunday. We have reduced preaching to clever anecdotes and funny illustrations, which taste good going down but don't stick to our souls or build spiritual muscle on our bones. We have walked the same road as the ancient, and modern, Israelites by turning from God and abdicating our responsibility to lovingly exhort, reprove, rebuke, and instruct. We have, instead, considered God's grace to be cheap, discipleship to be easy, and sin to be inconsequential in our salvation. And so I ask you, Pastors, to answer these for yourself and your flock:
Is there salvation without repentance?
Is their repentance without conviction?
A Word For Pastors...
“You talk to people about Pastor’s addressing political issues and their immediate response is ‘the Church doesn’t have any business in the political arena.’ That’s a very new idea... the other side has been effective in causing us to believe in this mythological separation of Church and State that somehow makes it inappropriate for the church to have any say in what it is that the State does or thinks. Or how the State acts... If the church is not going to speak to the issue of truth and be a herald for the state and point the state to where truth is – then what’s the only other alternative? The only other alternative is that man finds the truth in himself or in his courts. That’s an untenable position. We cannot allow it... The Bible does speak to every issue in life, and our political issues are informed by our theology. There’s no such thing as a politician or a political issue that is not theological. You cannot do politics without theology! So we have to break this false dichotomy.”
I encourage you to watch the full video below (6 minutes) to see all the above comments in context.
A Word On Our Culture...
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
God has not given us a spirit of fear... there is nothing wrong with standing up and proclaiming the truth of God as it relates to our present world, despite those who would muzzle the Church based on misunderstood, or blatantly misinterpreted, texts of scripture. As seen through a culturally subjective lens, the truth of God is offensive because we can't possibly know the truth, who's right and who's wrong.
But we can, actually: God is right, and the rest of us are wrong, without exception. The fallacy of human reasoning is two-fold: a) That because none of us can know the truth, there is no way to know. This is a rejection of divine revelation through the Bible, made widespread by the doctrines of demons, who convey falsehood in hopes of covering up the truth of the One God. b) That the unknowability of truth means there is no such thing as truth, only personal and group choice. Both are moral and spiritual relativism, today's most dangerous and enticing philosophical wind.
All of us are subjective in our understanding, which is why we, who are Christians, must esteem the value of God's rebuke that comes as we study the Word of God and are transformed from within by the Holy Spirit. If our current views do not align with the truth of God, should we be open to having them sharpened or destroyed by the authority of God's Word? Yes. But that is markedly different from living as a double-minded individual and allowing shifting winds of doctrine and culture to plow under the foundation of God's Word.
We should be loving in all we do, or we do damage to others and thereby to the cross of Christ. But we should not allow those outside the Church to define our practices as hateful, simply because the message is ill-received. We should aim to be gracious, as God has been gracious to us, and allow our words to be seasoned with salt and backed by a reverence for God's holiness. But we should refuse to be backed into a sound-proofed corner of the culture's unfinished basement so personal opinions may become the foundation of truth in our society. This idea has infiltrated the Church, and we have been afraid to speak for fear of...
"Jerk! Bigot! Fool! Hater! Religious Nut! Troglodyte!"
It must be the same in our culture. Do not demonize those you disagree with, because you were bought with a price. Do not devalue the sinners of this world, because you are one too and we are all made in the image of God. We must submit reactions, opinions, and feelings to the Lordship of Jesus. If we fail to do this, our god is not The God, but our bellies. Our appetites.
If you call yourself a Christian, you must live it out or you are a liar. If 'Christian' is your identity, then 'Christian' will be your action. If 'Christian' is indicative of who you are, then 'Christian' is imperative to what you do. You cannot get around this. You cannot fudge the books and hope to skate it by God. And you cannot submit the Word of God to your desires and be a follower of Jesus.
If you are a Christian, this is how you must lead the Church. Why?
The way you lead will form the Church of tomorrow.