A transition can be tough! It might be a new boss, a new pastor at the church or an unexpected shift in our community priorities that suggest a new direction. Where do we go from here? What's God's particular will for us now? Who will lead us?
Our reading today is about Moses, who assured Israel that, after he left, God would raise up a new prophet to guide them in the future. It was a comforting promise, but not a simple one.
The problem is not one of finding a prophet, but it's finding one who truly speaks for God. This is serious business, for God will hold both the hearer and the prophet accountable. How do we sort out who is the real deal? Here's one hint: we can know the prophets by their fruits. We know that God's voice will be calling us to justice, compassion and a particular mission. We know that it will mean self-sacrifice, not self-advancement. And here is the Holy Spirit's promise: God will not leave us alone and lost in confusion; God will raise up a prophet when we need one.
"Lead me, guide me, along the way. For if you lead me, I cannot stray. Lord let me walk each day with thee. Lead me, O Lord, lead me!" Amen. (ELW 768)
Deuteronomy 18:15-20 (NRSV)
15 The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet.
16 This is what you requested of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said: "If I hear the voice of the Lord my God any more, or ever again see this great fire, I will die."
17 Then the Lord replied to me: "They are right in what they have said.
18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will put my words in the mouth of the prophet, who shall speak to them everything that I command.
19 Anyone who does not heed the words that the prophet shall speak in my name, I myself will hold accountable.
20 But any prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, or who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded the prophet to speak—that prophet shall die."