‘I will raise for them a prophet’

 “I will raise up for them a prophet like you… I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name.” (Deut 8:18-19)

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. (Luke 24:27)

 God foresaw a crisis when the people of Israel expressed the fear to hear God speak to them directly. When God spoke, ‘the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”’ (Exodus 20:18-19). The crisis was not immediate but in the long term; Moses would hear from God and speak to the people for as long as he was alive. He asked God what would happen to them much later after Moses is dead. It was at this point that God promised to raise for his people another prophet like Moses.

Moses was a prophet of great stature. He spoke with God face to face like a friend, and led Israel through the most profound deliverance and journey out of the Egyptian bondage. He wrote the Law as instructed by God and left for Israel a timeless piece of writing that is still read widely today – the Torah (the first five books of the Bible). He is acknowledged by Moslems, Judaism and Christians as the greatest prophet of the Old Testament. How would the people now live and relate with God in the absence of Moses? In promising to ‘raise for them a prophet’, God solved this problematic crisis – at least theoretically. Indeed he was a prophet that none other ever matched, until Jesus Christ appeared. Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of this promise.

Another crisis hit Jerusalem and all Israel when the high hope in Jesus Christ was shattered; he was crucified, died and was buried! Finally many had hoped He was that prophet. On the road to Emmaus, two men were lamenting and a stranger joined them; they took opportunity to dispel his ‘ignorance’ by recounting how they ‘had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel’ (Luke 24:21). But three days later, the gloom of his death was getting more devastating with the news that even his body had gone missing! All this drama was necessary; indeed Jesus Christ was that prophet. He began with Moses, and explained from all prophets and all scriptures concerning himself. We thank God for that episode that brought the good news to us too.

The promise had an addendum which calls for action: God will ‘call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks’. We are called upon to listen to the Lord Jesus Christ so that our accountability before God will be clean. He amplified the requirements of our God regarding righteousness and justice, love for God and love for one another; in whatever vocation or assignment, prepare your accountability.