As for me, however, I am filled with power by the Spirit of the LORD, with justice and courage, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin.
I. ITS QUALIFICATIONS. The fundamental one is:
1. The indwelling of the Spirit of God. The true prophet or minister magnifies his office, but does not exalt himself. He traces all he has to God, as does St. Paul (1 Corinthians 15:10; 1 Timothy 1:12-16). Pretenders to the prophetic or pastoral office were "sensual (ψυχικοί), not having the Spirit," inspired only by the spirit of t h e world, or of self; but true ministers can use St. Paul's words (1 Corinthians 2:12), for they are relying on their Divine Master's promise of the Holy Spirit.
2. Hence spiritual power. It may be special and superhuman, such as prophets and apostles enjoyed. But the more valuable power is that which enables us to witness for Christ (Acts 1:8), to exert a holy influence (2 Corinthians 3:2, 3), and to preach "in demonstration of the Spirit and of power." Power is a general term; the Divine Spirit manifests his presence by a diversity of gifts appropriate to special necessities. Two of these are mentioned here as needed by the prophet and, in truth, by every faithful minister.
3. Judgment, including such thoughts as these - a clear sense of God's equity in his dealings (Ezekiel 18.), an impartial utterance of God's sentences (Jeremiah 1:16-19), and therefore discrimination in all his messages and in his treatment of his hearers, "doing nothing by partiality," "rightly dividing the Word of truth," "warning every man and teaching every man." Such a ministry will emit light as well as heat, will show discretion as well as zeal.
4. Moral courage. "Might," such as the apostles sought and received (Acts 4:29-31; cf. Ephesians 6:19, 20; Colossians 4:4; 2 Timothy 1:7). All these gifts are needed in a high degree - "full," etc. "However the Lord may bless the meanest gifts of such as be honest, yet neither are ministers to be empty vessels nor swelled with ostentation, but a large measure of real furniture is to be sought after." All these qualifications were more or less fully manifested in the true prophets of God; e.g. Elijah (Ecclus. 48:1), Isaiah (Isaiah 58:1), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 6:11, 27), Ezekiel (Ezekiel 3:8-11), and many others.
II. ITS DIFFICULTIES. The main difficulty here suggested arises from its relation to the sins of men.
1. The burden of the Lord laid on ministers requires them to be willing to be used in the disagreeable task of convicting communities and individuals of sin. This may be traced in the long prophetical and apostolical succession of God's true ministers, including such illustrious names as Moses, Samuel, Nathan, Elijah, Daniel, John the Baptist, Peter, and Paul. We too must be prepared to show to the Church and to individuals their sins in trade, their transgressions of the royal law in their conduct, whether towards servants or masters. Thus we may seem to many "men of strife," or even enemies (Galatians 4:16).
2. But we do not successfully "show" to men their transgressions unless they are induced to abandon their sin and accept God's method of deliverance. We seek to take men alive out of the snare of the devil (see 2 Timothy 2:24 26, Revised Version). It is a terrible thing to convict a man of sin, and yet fail to save him, thus increasing his condemnation.
III. ITS ENCOURAGEMENTS.
1. Frequent successes. We learn from Jeremiah 26:17-19 that Micah's message on this occasion led to the conversion of Hezekiah, or to the reawakening of his zeal as a reformer. The Christian minister's song of victory is often heard (2 Corinthians 2:14).
2. Constant Divine approval. Sometimes a sense of failure causes a feeling of isolation and of heart sickness, such as Jeremiah often felt. But even then we can fall back on the sense of the abiding presence of God (John 16:32), and of his approving smile (Isaiah 49:4, 5). - E.S.P.
But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the Lord, and of Judgment, and of mightin the person, to be put forth on him. Here it is Divine power, given through God the Holy Ghost, to accomplish that for which He was sent. "Judgment" is, from its form, not so much discernment in the human being as "the thing judged," pronounced by God, the righteous judgment of God, and righteous judgment in man conformably therewith. "Might" is courage or boldness to deliver the message of God; not awed or hindered by any adversaries. "Whoso is so strengthened and arrayed uttereth fiery words, whereby hearers' hearts are moved and changed. But whoso speaketh of his own mind doth good neither to himself nor others." So then, of these three gifts, power expresses the Divine might lodged in him; judgment, the substance of what he had to deliver; might or courage, the strength to deliver it in face of human power, persecution, ridicule, death. These gifts the prophets know are not their own, but are from the Spirit of God, and are by Him inspired into them. Such was the spirit of Elijah, of John Baptist, of Paul, of the apostles.
(E. B. Pusey, D. D.)
I. THE MINISTER'S APPOINTMENT. This is not of man, but of God; of God the Holy Spirit. God has set apart certain persons to this office, who from time to time, as the services of His Church require, are raised up, converted, qualified, and sent for this office. Jesus sends His ministers whither He Himself will come. All the qualifications of ministers for their office are of God, both gifts and graces. Ministers are men of God sent from God to work for God, and bring sinners to God.
I. THEIR FAITHFULNESS IN THE DISCHARGE OF THEIR HOLY DUTIES IS OF GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT. The first ministers were commanded to tarry in the city of Jerusalem until they were endued with "power from on high" (Acts 1:8). The prophets under the Old Testament and all the ministers of Christ in the present day have been and are equally indebted to this gracious operation. Nor can we be surprised at this, when the blessed Saviour Himself is represented in His mediatorial character as qualified and sustained by the Holy Ghost. Ministers know not what to preach, except as the Holy Spirit teaches them.
III. THAT MINISTERS' SUCCESS IS OF THE SPIRIT. And this Spirit is poured out just in proportion as Christ is preached. Learn —
1. Where to look for a blessing. All our fresh springs are in Jesus.
2. Ask whether the Lord is among us or not?
3. To whom we should give the glory, all the glory, for any benefit that we at any time receive from the ministry.
(R. Simpson, M. A.)
Homilist.It is supposed that this chapter belongs to the reign of Hezekiah; if so, the mournful state of matters which it depicts cannot have begun until towards its close. These words lead us to consider the true prophet.
I. The WORK of a true prophet. "To declare unto Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin." It is a characteristic of all true prophets that they have a keen moral sense to discern wrong, to loathe it, and to burn at it. No man is a true prophet who is not roused to thunder by the wrong. Where have we men now to "declare unto Jacob his transgression, and unto Israel his sin"?
1. This is a painful work. It will incur the disfavour of some and rouse the antagonism of the delinquents.
2. This is an urgent work. No work is more needed in England to day. To expose wrong goes a great way towards its extinction. St. Peter on the day of Pentecost charged home the terrible crime of the crucifixion to the men he addressed!
II. The POWER of a true prophet. "Truly, I am full of power by the Spirit of the Lord, and of judgment and of might." There is no egotism in this. A powerful man knows his power and will ascribe it to the right source — the "Spirit of the Lord." His power was moral; it was the might of conscience, moral conviction of invincible sympathy with eternal right and truth. This is a very different power to that of mere intellect, imagina tion, or what is called genius. It is higher, more creditable, more influential, more Godlike.
III. The FIDELITY of a true prophet. This is seen here in three things —
1. In the class he denounces. "Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob, princes of the house of Israel." He struck at the higher classes of life.
2. The prophet's fidelity is seen in the charges he makes. "They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity."
(1) (2) 3. In the doom he proclaims. The reference may be to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. (Homilist.) (A. Bell, B. A.) 1105 God, power of Bad Ecclesiastics and Base Plots Of Councils and their Authority. "And There is None that Calleth Upon Thy Name, that Stirreth up Himself to Take Hold on Thee," Contention Over the Man Born Blind. The Purpose in the Coming of Jesus. The Sovereignty of God in Operation The Doctrine of the Scriptures. Micah
(2) 3. In the doom he proclaims. The reference may be to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. (Homilist.) (A. Bell, B. A.) 1105 God, power of Bad Ecclesiastics and Base Plots Of Councils and their Authority. "And There is None that Calleth Upon Thy Name, that Stirreth up Himself to Take Hold on Thee," Contention Over the Man Born Blind. The Purpose in the Coming of Jesus. The Sovereignty of God in Operation The Doctrine of the Scriptures. Micah
3. In the doom he proclaims. The reference may be to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans.
(A. Bell, B. A.)Charles G. Finney in dealing with awakened souls consisted in this: he used to pin a man down to his favourite sins, and say to him: "Are you willing to give up this in order to obey Christ?" At that decisive point came the defeat or victory. He once knelt down beside an inquirer, and as he enumerated various sins the man responded that he would surrender them. At length Mr. Finney said: "I agree to serve God in my business." The man was silent. "What is the matter?" said Mr. F. kindly; "can you not do that?...No," stammered the poor fellow; "I am in the liquor trade." And in it he continued. He rose from his knees and went back to his cursed business, with a fresh weight of guilt upon his head.
1105 God, power of
Bad Ecclesiastics and Base Plots
Of Councils and their Authority.
"And There is None that Calleth Upon Thy Name, that Stirreth up Himself to Take Hold on Thee,"
Contention Over the Man Born Blind.
The Purpose in the Coming of Jesus.
The Sovereignty of God in Operation
The Doctrine of the Scriptures.