The prophet Jonah went deep into enemy territory. Seemingly without fear, he stepped into and preached in Nineveh, the hostile capital of the warlike Assyrian Empire. Throwing caution to the wind, he left everything behind and rolled the dice to answer God’s call. Threading the line between a monumental folly and a stroke of genius, Jonah, with a heavy heart but a burning faith, proved beyond any doubt that he was God’s prophet and nothing else. Yet how significant are prophets like Jonah in keeping the flame of faith alive?
People are drawn towards prophets because they are beacons of hope. Not only do their teachings ooze with fire and brimstone, but they also carry the hope of salvation for sinners who find it in their hearts to repent. When God touched the prophet, Jeremiah, God told him what was required of him:
See, today, I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant. – Jeremiah 1:10
The ominous message that God wanted Jeremiah to relay to the Israelites was about the conquest and destruction of the kingdom of Judah. Jeremiah intoned God’s message verbatim:
The Lord said to me, “From the north, disaster will be poured out on all who lived in the land. I am about to summon all the peoples of the northern kingdoms “, declares the Lord. “Their kings will come and set up their thrones in the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem; they will come against all her surrounding walls and against all the towns of Judah. I will pronounce my judgments on my people because of their wickedness in forsaking me, in burning incense to other gods, and in worshiping what their hands have made. – Jeremiah 1: 14-16
God also relayed to Jeremiah the following message of hope and forgiveness where God calls out to his errant children:
“Return, faithless people”, declares the Lord, “for I am your husband. I will choose you-one from a town and two from a clan- and bring you to Zion. Then I will bring you, shepherds, after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.” – Jeremiah 3: 14-15