The Lord called prophets to speak for Him to the people regarding their sinful behavior. The prophets were God’s “spokesmen,” who were called by God, held accountable by God, and empowered by God to deliver His messages. Idolatry, social injustice, and religious ritualism had become prevalent in Israel and Judah and is rampant in today’s society as well.
The prophets delivered their messages through various methods. They preached the word of God, verbal deliverance; wrote their message(s) down, written deliverance; and used symbolic acts to demonstrate God’s message, visual deliverance. The prophets used these methods of deliverance to warn the people of the impending judgments that would come if they did not change their sinful ways.
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. ‘You shall have no other gods before Me’” (Exod. 20:1-3 [NKJ]). The people of Israel and Judah had disobeyed the first Law of the Lord instead they choose to worship false gods. God called numerous prophets to warn the people regarding their sin of idolatry. Isaiah prophesized against Judah, “the Lord will send a purging judgment against his sinful people, producing a righteous remnant that will enjoy the future blessings of salvation and restoration.” Isaiah cautioned the people about practicing evil and putting their trust in false gods. Ezekiel, “the watchman,” warned the people about the defiling the temple with their idolatry and wickedness; the worship of idols was an “abomination.” “Then those of you who escape will remember Me among the nations where they are carried captive, because I was crushed by their adulterous heart which has departed from Me, and by their eyes which play the harlot after their ideals; they will loathe themselves for evils which they committed in all their abominations” (Ezek. 6:9 [NKJ]). God instructed Hosea to “take a wife of harlotry” as a symbolic act demonstrating the love of God for His people despite their spiritual adultery. The people were betraying God by worshipping idols, praying, and crying out to the pagan gods. Jonah straight forwardly stated in his prayer to God, “Those who regard worthless idols forsake their own mercy” (Jon. 2:8 [NKJ]). Multiple prophets, same message, the people’s sinful behavior would lead to God unleashing judgment on the nation unless they repented.
In addition to violating the first commandment, the people violated the tenth commandment given by God. They no longer showed love towards their neighbor or respected their neighbor’s property. They were guilty of social injustice. God had established laws to govern Israel and protect them against poverty yet disobedience and greed overwhelmed the population. The prophet Micah preached to the people of Israel and Judah. He professed they were deserving of their judgment because they abandoned the practice of social justice. “For her rich men are full of violence, her inhabitants have spoken lies, and their...