The word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, set your face against the Ammonites and prophesy against them. Ezekiel 25:1-2.
I cannot say I have ever enjoyed reading these four or five chapters of Ezekiel where he delivers a series of prophecies “against” just about every nation at the Eastern end of the Mediterranean. Indeed, ever since the Sixties when, at the start of the Charismatic Renewal, we were told that all prophecy must be “upbuilding” (based on a dubious exegisis of 1 Corinthians 14:31), I have always been rather wary of prophecies that are negative. But this morning, as I opened up the Word and saw (on just two facing pages) “A Prophecy Against Ammon,” “A Prophecy Against Edom,” “A Prophecy Against Philistia,” “A Prophecy Against Tyre,” a thought began to niggle at me. God is “against” a great many things in today’s world just as he was in Ezekiel’s world, and presumably, given a voice today, would just as strongly speak a word “against” those things too. And the question is: am I … are we, the church … not meant to be that voice?
Prophecy is, after all, simply speaking out God’s mind on something, as the Spirit of Christ lays it on our hearts to do so. And that can take the form of writing to a newspaper, calling a radio chat show, or lobbying a politician just as much as it can take the form of a gentle “I think the Lord is saying to us tonight …” in some cosy home group.
What sort of things can we be sure God wants to speak out against? The unforgiveness of third-world debt, for a start … and, currently, the use of hybrid embryo tissue in scientific and medical research as proposed in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, currently before the British Parliament. If, through the resurrection, God has declared Jesus “both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36) it is surely right that we Christians remind “Caesar” (in whatever form he is currently to be found) that he is neither. The State must not be allowed to take action on an “end justifies the means” basis without the serious challenge being raised that those means are clearly opposed to the Word of God and the Way of Christ. There is a need, surely, for me … for all of us who accept the Lordship of Jesus … to “set my face against” the things that God has set his face against, and to “prophesy against them”.
Lord Jesus, give me the courage to speak out, in public and in private, against those things that are an abomination in your sight. Amen.