Introduction: What, exactly does a prophet do? Is the job about
telling the future? Is it religious instruction? Is it finding
donkeys? Is it making us feel bad? Is it being God’s agent for all
sorts of things? Let’s dive into our Bibles and find out!

  1. Donkey Finders

    1. Read 1 Samuel 9:3-5. What does this tell us about the
      character of Saul? (He was considerate of his father, he
      was diligent and he was trustworthy.)

    2. Read 1 Samuel 9:6. Is this servant joking? Are prophets
      available for donkey finding? Would God take the time to
      deliver a donkey-finding message to a prophet?

    3. Read 1 Samuel 9:14-16. What prophet work do we find in
      these verses? (God revealed to Samuel the future, He made
      Samuel His agent to select and anoint a leader in answer
      to the prayers of the country.)

    4. Read 1 Samuel 9:18-20. What prophet work do we find here?
      (Donkey finding! Notice that Samuel knew the past, not
      just the future. God revealed both the past and the future
      to Samuel so that he could advise Saul.)

    5. As you consider this story, how would you describe a
      prophet’s work? (The prophet is God’s agent on earth to do
      the things God directs. This includes simple things like
      keeping track of lost property, to major things like
      directing the leadership of the country.)

      1. Should a modern-day prophet be active in politics?

        1. On what should your answer depend?

      2. Is it selfish to pray to God to help us with little
        things, when people are praying to God to be healed
        of cancer?

        1. Can we say “God has unlimited ability to answer
          prayers, when I’m asking about small things I’m
          not taking His attention away from those dying
          of cancer?” What about the prophet Samuel? Did
          he have unlimited time? (Saul enjoyed the favor
          of God and God was willing to help Saul with
          what was the main matter on his heart at that

  2. Correcting and Reminding

    1. Read 2 Kings 17:13. Last week we noted that Jeremiah spoke
      of a distinction between prophets who said things we want
      to hear and those who say things we don’t want to hear.
      Are the prophets referred to in this text saying things
      the people want to hear?

      1. Are these prophets adding new rules to what God has
        already laid out? (Not here. God uses the prophets to
        remind the people of His rules, and to point out how
        the people have strayed from those rules.)

    2. Read 2 Kings 17:18-20. The people did not listen to the
      prophets. What happened as a result? (Other people
      plundered them.)

      1. Is God just mad at His people? What about our
        picture of a loving and forgiving God?

      2. Read 2 Kings 17:17. Why would these people sacrifice
        their children? (They thought it would help them with
        their gods. This is true late term abortion. To
        make my life easier, I will sacrifice my child.)

      3. Notice again 2 Kings 17:18. What sense do you get
        from the phrase “removed them from His presence?”
        (God is holy. When His people rejected His warnings
        and engaged in the most vile sins, He did not want
        them “in His presence.” When they were out of the
        presence of God bad things happened to them.)

        1. Is this just an “Old Testament thing?”

    3. Read Isaiah 30:10-11. What are the people asking when they
      say “stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel?”
      (God is holy. They don’t want to come face to face with a
      holy God.)

      1. Does that mean this “out of My presence” is not just
        an Old Testament thing as opposed to a mutual thing –
        that sinners want to be outside the presence of God?

    4. Would Jesus want to be outside the presence of sinners? I
      thought that was where He went?

    5. Read Matthew 9:10-12. Are the Old Testament rules out the
      window? Jesus and sinners want to be in each other’s

      1. Is this just a temporary situation? (Read Luke 4:24-27. When people do evil, they do not want God. Jesus’
        main point is that prophets are not accepted in their
        hometown, but His secondary point is that the prophet
        goes elsewhere. Jesus came to sinners. They came to
        Him. But at some point they had to make a decision
        for Jesus or for sin. In the main, Israel rejected
        Jesus and His gospel went to others.)

      2. Read Matthew 8:11-12. Will Jesus cast people out of
        His presence? (Yes. Those who reject His invitation.)

    6. Are we getting off our topic here? What does a sinner’s
      resistance to correction have to do with the work of the
      prophet? (It is a warning to us not to reject the prophet
      just because the message makes us uncomfortable.)

    7. Let’s continue reading in Isaiah. Read Isaiah 30:12-14.
      What message is the prophet giving here? How is sin
      catching up with the unrepentant sinner? (The sin problem
      gets so big is just figuratively explodes and takes out
      the sinner. The sinner cannot be used thereafter for even
      simple tasks.)

      1. Do you know someone like that?

      2. Has this happened to you?

    8. Read Isaiah 30:15,18. What is God’s goal for us? How are
      prophets (like Isaiah) involved in that goal? (The primary
      work of the prophet is to warn and correct. The goal is to
      be gracious. We do not have an Old Testament/New Testament
      face of God. God longs to be gracious to us, that is why
      He sends His prophets to warn us of the dangers of sin. At
      the same time, He is a holy God and that means that sin
      cannot ultimately live in His presence.)

      1. What are your prophet issues? Are you struggling over
        whether a modern day prophet is true or false? Ask
        yourself if your struggle is primarily about your
        pride? Ask yourself whether it is primarily about a
        feeling of condemnation when considering the
        prophet’s words?

    9. Read Romans 3:19-20. Is the work of a true prophet to make
      you feel good or make you feel guilty? (Recall that we
      determined that the “gold standard” for communications
      from God is the Ten Commandments. These verses tell us
      that the purpose of the law is to “silence” our pride. To
      convict us of sin and to drive us to Jesus. This is
      clearly an important part of the work of a prophet.)

    10. Read Romans 3:21. What other prophet work do we find? (The
      work of the prophet is also to share the good news about
      God’s grace. The warnings drive us to repentance, and that
      brings the good news of grace.)

  3. Record Keeping

    1. Read 1 Chronicles 29:29-30. What other prophet work do we
      find? (Recording history. Another work of the prophet is
      to record the workings of God through history so that the
      people can better see and understand God’s work. This
      helps to give them confidence in God’s hand in their

  4. Reveals Mysteries

    1. Read Daniel 2:45-47. What prophet work do we see here?

      1. Why would God give this work to His prophets? (It
        gives us courage and confidence about our God and His
        role in shaping the future. When the things
        predicted come to pass, we have confidence in our God
        and His care for us.)

    2. Friend, are you open to accepting the work of a prophet?
      Do you believe it is one way God uses to communicate to
      His people?

  5. Next week: The Authority of the Prophets.