Read Jonah 1:1-2. Qu. ‘Why Jonah? Why Nineveh? Ans. ‘This book concerns a God who is fixed on showing mercy. Particularly to huge cities – like London.’ This raises the question, ‘Are you?’ Walter Brueggemann defines the prophetic role: “The task of prophetic ministry is to nurture, nourish and evoke a consciousness and perception alternative to the consciousness and perception of the dominant culture around us.” In other words prophets provoke and create change – personal, communal, governmental, and national.

Prophets exist as God’s instruments to dismantle situations that are offensive to God, and see them rebuilt and restored in such radical ways that they now begin to please Him again. This is why both the church and the world need prophets. Prophets exist to tell both the church and the world what neither of them wants to hear!

This is also why every prophetic message is essentially good newsGospel even if it doesn’t sound like that at first! This is what Jonah knew from the start. He didn’t want a ‘negative’ preaching ministry. Very few of us do! Someone once complained, “All prophets do is travel about all over the place, just building everybody’s hopes up!” Exactly! That’s their job. But not always. There is no such thing as a ‘hopeless believer’, so hope comes as a challenge before it can be a comfort. The words ‘hopeless’ and ‘believer’ don’t belong together. A hopeless believer is a contradiction. Only the unbeliever is truly and rightly hopeless. Such a person is ‘Without hope, and without God, in the world’ (Eph. 2:11-12). That will not, and cannot change until they become believers. For that to happen there has to be ‘a word of the LORD’ to receive and believe. So, the moment a prophet appears, hope is on the horizon. Even Jonah knew that. Prophets are essentially bearers of hope.

What evidences do you regularly see around you that seem to prove that hope is in short supply in our nation? Pray to the Lord that God will unfold his great plan to restore health, hope, and God given happiness to people all around you through the Gospel.