“Anyone enquiring of the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp.” (Exodus 33:7b/NIV). Many of the Israelites had some problems or questions. They were taught to seek answers from their God rather than from other gods.
What decision should I take? How should I react in this or the other situation? How can I master the challenges set before me?
Life brings us into multifold and unexpected situations. At times we can decide on the basis of previous experiences. Yet often this does not work. New circumstances do arise. We have to face previously unknown difficulties.
Whenever we don’t know what to do we might ask somebody else. Going by trial and error would be another option. If one effort does not solve the problem we might try some other way.
In the verse I quoted above we read that many Israelites were inquiring of God when they had some need and were not sure what to do. The tabernacle, the so called tent of meeting, had been built outside the camp. It was the place where to meet God. Much later in Jerusalem the Israelites had a temple to meet God. While in the desert they only had a tent that was built according to instructions Moses had received from God himself.
Often inquiring of God meant asking Moses what God would say. In later years there were prophets to tell them the word of God in their situation and need.
Now the God of Israel was not given to arbitrary advice. God gave his people clear instructions and rules. He was a God of righteousness and justice.
Whoever was to speak on behalf of God as a leader or prophet would often simply have to teach the people what God had clearly said and commanded. Teaching the Law and the word of God was one way to help people see what God would have them do in their situation. Any prophetic statement would have to be in line with the received word and law of God.
At the centre of God’s rules were Ten Commandments. Furthermore God had said he was looking for love.
Any believer – be it an Israelite or a Christian – was to love God with his whole heart and all his strength. God also wanted us to love one another.
A prophet had to know and understand God’s commandments. He also needed to be a person who respected and heeded God’s word.
God had commanded love. Therefore it is quite obvious that a prophet of God also was to be a loving person.
In recent posts I have been trying to explain part of the second verse of 1 Corinthians 13: “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge …, but have not love, I am nothing.”