The world has never done a real good job of listening to prophets.

The Old Testament prophets didn’t have a lot of success throughout the long history of Israel. They came along regularly and warned people to repent. Several of them were stoned to death for their troubles, and many were treated in an abrupt manner. But the people of Israel, for their part, were only reminded of what the prophets had tried to tell them when they watched their kingdom be destroyed and were led away naked, enslaved, and utterly ashamed. The mighty were fallen. It was a stark contrast to the life they had once known when they had settled for luxury, neglected the poor, and were embroiled with political division. They were proud and consumed with distractions and lies. They lost everything when they not only took their eyes off God, but disdained the things of God, and ignored the words of God sent by his messengers, the prophets.

The only well-known case of a people heeding the words of a prophet and repenting is the story of Jonah and the city of Nineveh. But that story is more famous for the reluctant prophet than for the repentant people. And what is even more interesting is that the story still doesn’t end happily. I’m not talking about Jonah, who goes through a major bellyache with God; I’m talking about Nineveh. If you knew your Old Testament (which you don’t), and if you knew the story of the prophet Nahum (which you don’t), you would know that a few years after Jonah succeeded in getting Nineveh to repent and back on the right track, they returned to their sinful, godless ways, that the prophet Nahum was sent to warn them of their imminent destruction, and that they didn’t listen to him. The city of merchants was destroyed. “They stumbled over the corpses.”

Praise the Lord

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