By Christopher Simon

What Prophets Do

“As surely as the Lord lives, I can tell him only what the Lord tells me.” ~1 Kings 22:14 NIV

We tend to think of prophets as people who foretell the future, but that is only one aspect of prophecy. If we read the Old Testament carefully, we see that the prophets were wise men and social critics, people who were often called upon by kings to give them advice. The kings didn’t always like the advice they received, but the good prophets always gave it straight, without sugar-coating, and in speaking the unvarnished truth to power, often ended up in dire straits.

Consider the prophet Micaiah, who advised King Ahab that he would be defeated by the Syrians, despite all of the other prophets telling him he would be victorious. (1 Kings 22) Micaiah ended up imprisoned for his trouble, and King Ahab ended up killed in battle, with the dogs licking up his blood, as prophesied.

Are there prophets today, holy men and women who hear the voice of God and speak truth to power, despite negative consequences? The people in power frequently do not like to be told the truth, but that is what prophets do. Where are the prophets today?