We Should Believe the Prophets!
James Smith, 1860
"O fools [sluggish in mind, dull of perception] and slow of heart to believe (adhere to and trust in and rely on) everything that the prophets have spoken!" Luke 24:25
Unbelief is a great sin. A man of honor cannot be insulted more, than by doubting or questioning his word. And if we do not believe God, we call him a liar, and offer him the grossest insult! Yet we often do this, and do it very thoughtlessly. We do not exercise that faith in his word which we should, and therefore do not enjoy the comfort and peace to which we are entitled. We are like the disciples, who, because they did not receive with simplicity, and believe heartily the testimony of the prophets respecting Christ — were filled with confusion, sadness, and sorrow; for which Jesus rebuked them when he said, "O fools [sluggish in mind, dull of perception] and slow of heart to believe (adhere to and trust in and rely on) everything that the prophets have spoken!" Luke 24:25
It Is Our Duty and Our Wisdom to Believe the Prophets. They spoke and wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who . . .
suggested the ideas,
directed in the choice of the language employed,
and superintended the formation of the letters.
Every word, every letter, in the original Scriptures, proceeded from the Holy Spirit, and is therefore holy. The whole of the prophetic writings are divine — the word of God, and as such should be most surely believed by us. They were written for us, for our instruction, consolation, and correction; that we may be prepared for every event, and be fitted for every duty. The writings of the prophets contain the most important truths. Truths that affect our present happiness, and our everlasting welfare. If therefore the prophets were inspired by the Holy Spirit — if they wrote the most important truths — and if they wrote for us, then it is most assuredly both our duty and our wisdom to believe them.
We Should Believe ALL That the Prophets Wrote.
Therefore we should read all, and endeavor to understand all. But we should especially believe what they have written . . .
respecting God — his majesty, his mercy, and his will;
respecting the Lord Jesus — his person, his work, and his kingdom;
respecting lost sinners — their state and doom;
respecting seekers — their encouragement, and certainty of divine reception;
respecting saints — their privileges, and eternal prospects.
We should believe all that the prophets have spoken, because all is true, all is important, and all is calculated to do us good. Their communications are calculated to . . .
inform the intellect,
regulate the expectations,
sanctify the heart,
and rule the life!
Therefore said the apostle, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly."
It Is Great Folly to Disbelieve the Prophets.
"O fools!" This is not used as a term of contempt or reproach — but of reproof; and is intended to blame them for thoughtlessness and inconsistency, rather than gross wickedness.
Who are fools, in this sense? The despairing, because however great their sins, however base their character — there is not the least ground for despair. Pardon is promised to the vilest, and mercy will be shown to the very worst!
Who are fools? The desponding, because every promise made, and every invitation given, is intended to prevent despondency. Indeed, if we only believed what the prophets have written, we could not despond.
Who are fools? Those who neglect the great salvation, which is set before them, and is promised to every one that believes.
Who are fools? The daring, who set God at defiance, and trifle with their eternal destiny!
"O fools!" who do not believe all that the prophets have spoken — you rob yourselves of comfort, peace, and safety. You rob God of the honor due unto his name, and of the service which faith would render. You put a weapon into the hand of Satan, and arm the prince of darkness against yourselves; for nothing gives the devil so much power over us as unbelief. Do you believe the prophets? Do you believe all that they have written? Do you carefully read and pray over all their writings, in order to understand them, that God's Word may become personal?
God's word is a most precious gift — but it brings with it a great responsibility, and lays us under the most solemn obligation. It will be to us: either a savor of life unto life — or a savor of death unto death. It will acquit and justify us at the bar of God — or it will accuse and condemn us there!
Reader, are you acquainted with the prophetic writings? Do you believe and expect the fulfillment of them? The literal fulfillment of so great a part of them, is one of the truest powerful proofs of their inspiration. The fulfillment of so much, is also a pledge for the fulfillment of the rest.
To the believer, they are . . .
a mine of wealth,
a garden of pleasant fruits, and
an ocean of comfort and joy!
To the lost sinner, they are . . .
a solemn warning,
an earnest entreaty to return to God, and
an eternal death-sentence — if he obstinately refuses.
Most of us have foolishly neglected the prophets. We have neglected to read them, with that care, thought, and devotion, which we should. We have neglected to believe them, and apply their warnings, predictions, and precepts to the common concerns of life. But whether we regard or neglect them, whether we believe or disbelieve the prophets —
all that they have prophesied shall come to pass;
all that they have promised shall be made good; and
all that they have threatened shall be accomplished!