In 2019, I spent the whole year with the minor prophets. I read them. I re-read them. I made notes, underlined, and highlighted. I meditated and sat with their words for the entire year.
I have been asking people for the best message or sermon they’ve heard in 2020. And I keep getting blank answers in response.
So, its understandable that I’m being pulled back to that prophetic wellspring for right-now relevance.
Allow me to share with you what I believe the Word of God wishes to reveal:
“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD, “When I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, But rather for hearing the words of the LORD. Amos 8:11
I believe we are living out a moment of famine. There are probably sparse amounts of real bread to be found. Likewise, so many are thirsty and needy for heavenly nourishment and refreshment.
I believe that so many of America’s prominent preachers have aligned themselves with politics. Accordingly, their messages have become earthly, intertwined with governmental bantering.
Our religious experience has meshed with 1. idolatry of a pompous god, and 2. nationalism. Worldly strategy has married a political party to a mostly white church.
Conservatism has replaced godliness.
Hence, these values are supposedly the evidence of true Christianity:
A.Thou shalt not commit abortion seems to be the greatest commanding
B. Thou shalt hate gays and sexually confused people. This is the message the world is hearing.
C. Thou shalt not be too caring or helpful to illegals, immigrants, or refugees. This too is what the world is clearly hearing from the actions and words of the church.
Instead of having fresh manna, we have mostly settled for a variety of political messages to choose from.
Option 1: Hail Trump
Option 2: Republicanism
Option 3: Rebellion
Option 4: Pro Life
Option 1 has been a best seller…literally. Some ministers have written books or made videos about Trump being God’s man for the job and time. Certain Ministers have weekly gushed with affection for Trump. There are Prophets who have likely made plenty of money by writing books about the wondrous Trump. There are Ministries that have devoted their focus to heralding the Trump Train movements. Some Preachers have found a fresh surge in popularity by defending and openly praying for Trump.
Another message that’s been easy for white evangelicals to rally around is Republicanism. It’s likely you know of someone that makes this seem like the most important spiritual thing you can do/be. I just watched a video where a minister placed great spiritual importance in being on the Republican side of things. He even suggested that believers prepare to take up arms, prophesying an impending civil war.
For others, Rebellion is the more trendy message. That’s not the title they give it, but…it is what it is. Even the church has justified rebellion against governmental recommendations or temporary mandates. People have been angry at HAVING TO wear masks. People have been upset at limits put on public gatherings, including church services. Many in the church have claimed to be suffering persecution and targeted attacks, seemingly not realizing that everyone else is suffering and hurting as well. Furthermore, Christians were furious over recommendations or (in a very few places) mandates, that singing be halted in in-person meetings for at least a week or two during the worst peaks of the pandemic. A few well-known leaders rebelled and opened their mega churches back up to limitless meetings. And, thousands of believers felt it was opportune to break city ordinances and join together in their city streets for massive worship rallies. A movement of church songs and open fearless concerts in the time of a pandemic where thousands would sometimes gather with no masks to sing loudly and proudly.
The other political message has been a mainstay since the late 70’s. The Pro Life message is still pertinent and valid. Unfortunately though, many use this message to bully other believers into joining a particular party or vote. To those who embrace this message, nothing else matters.
Sadly, many would-be champions have been spending their gifts and energies on a socio-political message. Nevertheless, these renderings certainly tickle the ears of a particular niche.
Yes, I’m finding a message from the words of Amos. I may expound on it later, but for now…chapter 8 of this minor prophet is a thunder we should notice.
Amos 8 is headlined with—“seeing.” Interestingly, 2020 is a year that is obviously headlined with seeing. Amos 8 speaks of the end. And 2020 has made a lot of people cognizant and talkative about the end. Amos 8 speaks much about a loss of songs. 2020 has certainly challenged and limited our songs. There have been no music festivals and no live concerts. Amos 8 mentions death being all-over and in every place. Meanwhile, 2020 has been a worldwide deadly pandemic. Amos 8 mentions shortened sun and extended darkness. Almost a direct interpretation, 2020 has seen business shut downs, and loss of jobs.
To ponder Amos 8 in 2020 is quite sobering. We are in an hour where we need to hear a word from Heaven. But where can we find it?
In such times, minor prophets often have genuine, legit, weighty messages. You might have to seek them out, though.
Such voices might be found in a * common local pastor. * director of a house of prayer * an Apostle doing virtual mtgs. * someone that’s unplugged
They probably aren’t on TV, they don’t pastor thousands, they aren’t building their brand, they don’t have a million followers, and you may have never heard of them.
They pray and they’re humble. It’s a beautiful, powerful thing. Such authenticity is lovely to come across.
Their message is no different than the message of Jesus. The teachings of Christ are revolutionary. You’ll know you’re hearing from a wild, radical, firebrand, minor prophet when they open their mouth…and you hear Jesus.