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Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Today’s Reading | Deuteronomy 18:15–18
The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet. This is what you requested of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said: “If I hear the voice of the Lord my God any more, or ever again see this great fire, I will die.” Then the Lord replied to me: “They are right in what they have said. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will put my words in the mouth of the prophet, who shall speak to them everything that I command.” (NRSV)
For the past few months I, along with our Sunday School teachers, have had the joy of teaching the children of this church about the Old Testament prophets. Despite comprising roughly a quarter of the entire Bible, the prophets are rarely featured in our worship or in our thinking—in part because the sharp challenges they pose to readers typically require some level of historical background and context. To simplify this message for the younger children, the kids and I spent time putting together a picture of who the prophets were, piece-by-piece, over the course of several Sundays. The first piece? Exactly the content of our passage today: the mouth. The Hebrew word for prophet—nav’i—can be understood as “spokesperson,” and indeed the primary role of the prophet was to convey God’s words to the people.
Yet as we continued to put this prophet picture puzzle together over the weeks, it became clear that there was more to being a prophet than simply speaking: there was listening, feeling, and seeing the world through different eyes. It involved the totality of the person, and it was vital that prophets were deeply rooted in their communities. This Advent, as we wait for Emmanuel—“God with us”—we remember Jesus as the greatest prophet, the Word of God whose entire life spoke a rich testimony to us. From the humility of his birth as one among us to the sacrificial love he demonstrated his entire life, Jesus taught us a new way to speak.
Dear God, I am ever grateful for the gift of Jesus’ example—a prophetic witness who shone your light into this world. May I seek to follow your Word in this Advent season and in all the days to follow. Amen.
Written by Matt Helms, Minister for Children and Families
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