1. Read Deuteronomy 18:14-22. In popular culture, “prophet” and “prophecy” mean predicting the future. In the Bible prophets do much more. Name at least three other things prophets in the Old Testament do besides predict future events.
2. From Deuteronomy 18:14-22, we can build a “working definition” from what Moses says about prophets. As you read this, are there any surprises, or aspects of prophecy you didn’t know about?
• God raises up prophets, as he did Moses. Prophets are not self appointed.
• God puts his own words in the prophet’s mouth. Our own human words do not count as prophecy.
• The prophet will tell Israel everything that the Lord God commands them to say. Therefore, the prophet must be heeded.
• Those who do not heed the prophet’s message will be held to account by God.
• Anyone who presumes to speak a word that God has not commanded, or has spoken in the name of other gods, will be put to death.
• One test of a prophet is whether or not what the prophet says actually happens or not.
• If a prophet says such and such will happen, but it does not, that is a false prophet, and we need not be alarmed about it.
(Optional question: which of these apply to New Testament prophets, or Christian prophecy today? Which don’t?)
3. Why were pagans gods/idols/cults such a threat to Israel? Why couldn’t Israel just “live and let live”?
4. Read I Kings 19:9b-18. Elijah is in crisis. He is on the run for his life from Jezebel, whose prophets he has killed. He flees deep into the desert, to Mt. Horeb (Mt. Sinai). God asks him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Since God already knows, why does God ask him that? Why is it a good question for God to ask us in a crisis? What do you think of Elijah’s repeated answer?
5. In Exodus 19, God met Moses and Israel at Mt. Sinai, and spoke to them from the mountaintop out of thunder, lightning, thick cloud and smoke, the mountain trembled and a great trumpet sounded, as he gave Moses the Ten Commandments. When Elijah is at the same mountain, at I Kings 19:11-13, God was not in the mighty wind, the earthquake, or the fire. Instead came a still small voice, a gentle whisper. Why are these so different? What can we learn from this about how God reveals himself to us?
6. When God spoke to Elijah, God gave the prophet 3 new tasks, to anoint two kings and to anoint his own successor, Elisha, as prophet. But before he is swept up to heaven, Elijah only accomplishes the 3rd one. Why did God do this? Personal question: has God given you a “life task” to complete?
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.