From Jim O'Brien
August 25, 2017

Hi Friend,

The Greatest Loss

Every time I hear a religious personality declare that he is a Prophet of God it makes me cringe a little. Maybe they haven't studied the Prophets of the Bible. Many of them were killed for delivering the message God sent them to deliver to the nation. Noah was ridiculed for 120 years. Moses was a fugitive from justice, living as a shepherd in the desert for forty years; Elijah delivered a message from God to King Ahab and had to go into hiding for three years where he was fed by ravens; Hosea suffered public humiliation when God told him to marry an adulterous woman who was repeatedly unfaithful. Isaiah prophesied naked for three years. (Isa. 20:3)

Have I mentioned the Apostle Paul who was beaten with rods, whipped with a cat of nine tails, ship wrecked, stoned and left for dead, and attacked by mobs?

Many people want the honor of being called a Prophet of God, but only a few are willing to endure the suffering. And suffering is required.

In fact, the greatness of both prophet and national leader is often measured in almost direct proportion to their suffering.

Why is this so?

Abraham had to offer his son, his only son, on a sacrificial altar. The parallel between Abraham's sacrifice and the one made by God is too striking to miss the significance. Abraham was a friend of God.

In a particularly poignant event in the life of the Prophet Ezekiel, the wife that he loved died. The cause is not mentioned. But the life of the prophet was a living letter of God's relationship to Israel so God chose a man for the purpose of communicating the message. "Son of man, I will take away from you the wife you delight in. It will happen very soon." (Ezekiel 24:16)

Israel was the family nation that God chose and loved as His own. But they had been unfaithful. He had lost the one He loved. The loss of a once great civilization to corruption and scandal was a particularly great loss. Gone was the wealth, the system of justice, the freedom to worship and the opportunity to pursue the passions of life. The civilization that had allowed such wonderful opportunities was gone. The loss was so great it could only be compared to the loss of the spouse one loves.

Furthermore, Ezekiel was not allowed to grieve publically over his loss. "But do not sing songs of sadness. Do not let any tears flow from your eyes. Groan quietly. Do not sob out loud over your wife when she dies. Keep your turban on your head. Keep your sandals on your feet. Do not cover the lower part of your face. Do not eat the food people eat to comfort them when someone dies." (verses 16-17)

Imagine not being able to grieve over the death of the wife you deeply loved. It was as a man who had been so grievously betrayed by the woman he loved that she was not deserving of any expression of love.

The people of God had been given a system of laws that reflected the very mind of God. They were, in fact, the Laws of God. But they failed to appreciate the magnitude of the gift. They were blind to history. No other nation had ever had such good laws that protected the rights of the individual. Other nations oppressed the citizens but in Israel no man was above the law. Here all men were equal. Yet these people willingly gave up their God and His good laws. And with it justice was lost.

The nation God had taken as a wife played the harlot. They removed the name of God from their courts and their educational system. So God rejected them and refused to publically grieve. They were not worthy of such an expression of His love.

Is there some similarity to what Israel did and what America is doing today? Just this week there was another fool on television attempting to justify the removal of prayer from any aspect of public education. Why? Does God not exist? Did the founding fathers not believe in the God of the Bible? Has any other nation ever received more blessings from God? Do we not call on God to intervene for us during war? Then why would we deny Him in the classroom?

America is at a crossroads. The foundation of American justice is the Holy Bible. Yet the era we live in is called "Post-Christian." The 70 plus per cent of Americans who call themselves Christian seem willing to capitulate to the minority who want to erase any evidence of the God who gave us liberty.

If Christians allow the name of God to be removed from our nation, how long will it be before He divorces us as He did ancient Israel? What god will America look to for deliverance from enemies? Will the god of the Muslims protect us? Or one of the gods of India? Or of Thailand or China-or any other god? If those gods are so powerful and good, why aren't the nations that worship them filled with prosperity and justice?

Jesus promised that there would be an "elect" that is so precious to God that He would prevent the world from self-destructing. The "elect" doesn't sound like a large or powerful group of people. Whoever they are, it's a loss the world can't stand.

Until next time,

Jim O'Brien