Summary: Focusing on Faithfulness in the Ministry as it is the key to gaining God’s approval in any realm of spiritual ministry!!!
The ‘Success story’ of the ‘Unsuccessful’ prophets!!!
At the outset, I desire to bring to the fore, a ‘juicy’ tale adorning Science history. When, the invention-coal miner’s lamp- of Sir Humphrey Davy began to pale relatively before the astounding discoveries of his far more illustrious pupil Michael Faraday (in the field of electro-magnetism and electro-chemistry), he was prodded by the prying media of his day ‘on how he felt on seeing his discovery being overshadowed by those of his own famous student’. To this he is said to have come –up with an apt, witty reply ‘Gentlemen, you are forgetting that my greatest discovery is not the coal miner’s lamp but Michael Faraday, himself’. Oh, how weak is human memory! Oh, how soon, lives of men who have inspired other men to ‘great works’ are soon reduced to mere footnotes in the history books! Thankfully, it doesn’t happen in the spiritual realm, for here the fair and a just God who is in charge, using an altogether “DIFFERENT SCALE” for measuring success has affirmed that
“…those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.”- Mark 10:31
What a wonderful source of encouragement, these words are to those who serve the Lord diligently, far away from the public spotlight for words “The least important now” alludes to them. Yes, they may get no proper recognition from the people of their era, for the industrious efforts, they put in for the Lord but their efforts are being recognized by the Lord himself! “Then” in the above-captioned Scripture of course refers to the time of distributing “rewards” to God’s servants (1 Cor 3:12-15) coinciding with middle of the Seven year tribulation period when the “serpent-tongued accuser” would be forever cast off from the Heavenly realm (Rev 12:7-10).
Let’s take the life and ministry of Jewish Prophets before the exile, as a case in point. Unlike prophets and leaders after the Exile like Haggai, Ezra and Nehemiah who were able to elicit positive response from the people and rally them around for great socio-spiritual civic projects like Temple and Wall reconstruction, the prophets before the exile were not as “successful”. Not only were they ‘unsuccessful’ in bringing the errant people of their generation to repentance but also to top it all, some of them paid for their sincere, selfless efforts with their own lives!
At this stage, it would serve us well to hit the loop line, as it were and have a brief chronological recap, of the history of the Nation of Israel till the advent of the Messiah especially keeping in view the benefit of those who are uninitiated on this subject
1. Call of Patriarch Abraham with the Divine Promise of giving the
a) “Land Flowing with milk and honey to his descendents (Gen 12:1-3/Gen 15) by extermination of the sinful Amorites (Gen 15:6), the original occupants of the same
b) Messiah-the Promised Child of Abraham (Gen 15:4 /Gal 3:16-18) who would be the cause of Divine Blessings coming upon both the Jews and the Gentiles (Gal 3:29)
2. The Settling of Abraham’s descendents in Egypt and their deliverance from Egyptian oppression in order to lead them to the Land Promised to Father Abraham
3. The Deuteronomic Covenant (Deu Chapter 28) with Abraham’s descendents now Christened as the Nation of Israel and the Conquest of the Promised Land (Joshua)
4. Era of Judges as the Leaders of the Nation of Israel (Judges) till the beginning of the Era of the Kings.
5. Era of the Kings till the end of the reign of King Solomon (1 and 2 Samuel/1 Kings 12)
6. Division of the Kingdom of Israel into two
a) Northern Kingdom of Israel and
b) Southern Kingdom of Judah
7. Serious deterioration of spiritual climate in both the Kingdoms’ with Kings and people deserting their Redeemer God (from Egyptian bondage-Jer 2) and choosing lifeless idols as their gods’.
8. Warning from the Almighty through His Prophets to His people to turn from their detestable ways (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, Amos, Hosea) lest they lose their Promised Land much in the way Adam and Eve lost their Promised Land…viz…Garden of Eden (Hosea 6:7)
9. The Jews turning deaf ear to all the Prophetical warning besides persecuting the Prophets.
10. The Exile from the Promised Land firstly with
a) Israel (2 Kings 17)
b) Judah (2 Chro 36)
11. Return from the Exile and re-establishment of Jewish Society under the leadership of Priests’ like Joshua, Ezra (Haggai, Zechariah, Ezra and Nehemiah) in the Promised Land albeit under the overall reign of Medo-Persians, who were the World super-powers at that time.
12. The Priest being the leaders of the Nation (the likes of Annas and Caiphas-John 18:13-14) till the advent of the Messiah under the over-all reign of the World Super power –Rome which had displaced the Greek Empire. The latter had previously unseated the Medo-Persians as the World Super power.