Updated version of a TorahBytes message from December 8, 2001
For the Lord GOD does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets. The lion has roared; who will not fear? The Lord GOD has spoken; who can but prophesy? (Amos 3:7-8; ESV)
One of the more popular misconceptions about God is that he is mysterious, distant, and unknowable. Many people describe themselves as agnostics, expressing their hesitancy to make up their mind over whether or not God exists. Even those who believe in some sort of God, have little idea as to his nature. Some religions base themselves on the concept of a mysterious, distant God. For them if God can be known at all, he is only known by very few: some sort of isolated priesthood, who carefully guard their divine insights.
But this is not the God of the Bible. The God of Israel has revealed himself. He has no pleasure in keeping himself hidden from his beloved creatures. In fact, the raison d’être of Torah is God’s making himself known.
One of the ways God has revealed himself is through people called prophets. A prophet is a person who is God’s mouthpiece, speaking to others what God reveals to him or her. The prophets of the Bible come from a wide variety of backgrounds and diverse personalities. While most of the time they didn’t have official status, their prophetic calling was often recognized by the both government and people.
True prophets were those that heard from God and then spoke what they heard to the people. They didn’t usually receive God’s word via dictation, but rather they would sense a burden upon their hearts which they would relate to the people in various ways, most of the time verbally.
The prophet Amos proclaims an interesting thing about God and his desire to make himself known, when he says, “For the Lord GOD does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7). God does not keep his plans to himself. Far from it! He doesn’t do anything without revealing his plans to the prophets.
We live in confusing times. Death and destruction fill the news. Does anyone know what is going on? According to Amos, yes—the prophets do! God is revealing his plans to people whom he has appointed to proclaim his word. God is revealing his plans to his prophets.
Many people who believe the Bible claim there are no true prophets today, but I do not believe there is a biblical case against their existence. If anything the gift of the Ruach Hakodesh (English: the Holy Spirit) poured out upon the believers on Shavuot (the Day of Pentecost – Act 2) demands otherwise.
I suggest we are not aware of the existence of God’s prophets today for one of two reasons. Either they are not speaking, or we are not listening. Or I imagine it could be both.