God promised Moses that there would be a prophets speaking for him, carrying his words, straight from him to us without intermediaries. Interestingly, looking on the internet about prophets, the list of prophets starts with Abraham – and Sarah, before Moses. God spoke to Abraham and told him to leave his home, his people, his father’s house and go, for God would make him a blessing to all nations. Christianity and Islam trace their roots back to Abraham and that direct encounter. This Sunday text will tell of Jesus encountering a demon possessed man who demands to know Jesus’ credentials to enter the synagogue. Was Jesus speaking for God?
Very few of us would claim a direct encounter with God in the same sense as Abraham, or Jesus. We do not call ourselves prophets and yet we do believe we have the privilege and ability to talk with God through prayer. We believe in spiritual encounters, “thin places” where the unseen does interact with us. For some this comes with time spent in Scripture. Others enjoy nature, or music, or pod casts, or church, or friends. So perhaps the question confronting us is how we know some thought or word is coming from God and not from self, from evil spirits, or from the world’s wisdom? From the Abraham encounter, I read a promise of blessing, a sense of relationship, and direction for action. God’s prophets bargained with him, argued with him, and pleaded with him about messages. We can too. The sense of relationship often permeates the encounter.
Today, we may not see ourselves as prophets and we may not recognize someone else as a prophet either but we do know God communicates and desires to communicate with us. As a child I loved the song, “Have you talked to the man upstairs?” Why? “Because he wants to hear from you!” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYt4wuKcPjE.