|“The Lord your God will raise up for you a |
prophet like me from among you, from your
fellow Israelites. You must listen to him.”
Imagine if you had wandered in the desert for 40 years because of your disobedience toward your Great King. He had given you some specific instructions that were really quite simple. But, in your impatience and unbelief, you had cast aside what this King had told you to do. Your punishment was an aimless wandering until all the elders who had led you astray had died.
That’s the status of the people of Israel after they fled Egypt. In direct violation of the First Commandment they had made a golden calf which they could worship. If you plan to break the commandments of God, why not start with the first one, right? Oh! Foolish Israel! How long will you fail to listen?
Now the time was fast approaching to end this 40 years of punishment. Before he himself would die, Moses gathers the people of Israel together one more time to share with them a word from the God who loved them enough to demand their obedience. In so doing, Moses spoke one of the most potent sentences that would trickle down all through the sands of time, from that long-ago day to this very day. These critically important words are recorded in Deuteronomy 18:15:
The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him.
Sometimes, when we encounter a verse like this, it is helpful to look at the context. So, here’s the whole passage from Deuteronomy 18:14-22:
The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the Lord your God has not permitted you to do so. The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. For this is what you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.”
The Lord said to me: “What they say is good. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name. But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.”
You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?” If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.”
It’s true that, down through the sands of time, God has raised up prophets to speak His truth to His people. And then, in a stable at Bethlehem, the One True Prophet, Priest, and King was born—God’s one and only Son, Jesus the Christ.
As we consider to whom we should listen in a world filled with many conflicting voices, let us begin this day by listening to Jesus. His words are recorded in the four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. As followers of this Great King Jesus, we should read and re-read His words. We should feast on them, meditate on them, and put them into practice—this day and every day.
If we do that, we will begin to understand what it means to have the trustworthy Prophet on whose words we can rely. The Holy Spirit will give testimony with our spirit that these words of Jesus are true and that we should heed them.