Friday, July 13, 2007

The Prophet


The Prophet by Francine Rivers.

There are not enough words to describe how much I absolutely loved this novel by Francine Rivers. I enjoyed The Warrior. I enjoyed The Prince. But I loved The Prophet. It goes above and beyond my normal reaction to a good book. What is it about? Amos. The prophet Amos. The shepherd prophet. I'm not sure everyone will come to The Prophet with an appriciation for this so-called minor prophet. I think the average reader tends to skip the prophetic portions of the Old Testament. Who do you think of when you think of the word prophet? Isaiah? Elijah? Jeremiah? Daniel? Amos may seem an unusal choice to be chosen as the representative "prophet" in this series. But to me, it was a perfect choice. Why? I've a fondness for shepherds. Sound bizarre? To anyone who has ever read the classic A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by Phillip Keller, this book will sing for you. What do I mean by 'sing'? I mean there is a beauty to it. I'm not suggesting that you have to have read A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 in order to appreciate The Prophet, but it does add a whole new depth to it. So besides tending sheep, what makes Amos so special? He is one of the few prophets sent to Israel. That prophesied to Israel. Remember, this is the divided kingdom. The number of good Israelite kings is zero. The number of good kings in Judah, is slightly higher. Judah had its problems with idolatry, but there were times or repentance and righteous living as well. So for this man who was born and raised in the kingdom of Judah to leave his family and country behind to witness to these almost-heathen brothers who have gone generations without seeking the one, true God...is quite a difficult calling. But Amos knows that the safest place to be is in God's will. Therefore he knows that he must go wherever God sends him. He must speak the words God gives him. He must follow God's will and not his own. So even though he doesn't want to leave his comfortable life as a shepherd to go preach to an unwilling audience in a potentially unfriendly country, he must go no matter what the cost. The messages from God that he reveals to the people aren't always easy for his audience to hear. He's not always well-received by the crowds. But he knows that he cannot be a pleaser of men and please God at the same time. So he stands firmly in the Word of God...even if it means standing alone.