Bible Basics: Prophets

Worship on the Lord’s Day
Pentecost 16     Grandparents Day     10:00 am       17 September 2023
Online & Onsite (Mixed Presence) Gathering as a Worshipping Community
Led by the Rev Brad Childs
Music director: Binu Kapadia     Vocalist: Vivian Houg
Elder: Sam Malayang

We gather to worship God

Music prelude

L: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
P: and also with you.

Lighting of the Christ candle
Welcome and announcements
Silent preparation for worship

Call to Worship
L: Let us praise God together.
P: For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is God’s steadfast love;
L: as far as the east is from the west, so far God removes our sins.
P: So let us rejoice in God’s gracious presence.
L: Let us praise the God of mercy together.

Opening praise: Lord, I need you

Prayers of approach and confession

“Your presence graces the heavens and earth, enveloping all with your awe-inspiring glory.”

You are present everywhere.

“Your love, a transformative force, remakes us, renewing our very essence.”

Through faith you we can experience a change character and in outlook on life.

“In times of confusion, you dive into our midst, illuminating the path forward.”

Your wisdom and understanding as well as the insight of our faith community help us find direction when they are facing uncertainty. In unity with you we gather and as a gathering we lift one another up in ways that cannot always be explained.

“Sorrows burden us, but you bear them with us, bringing healing and solace in their wake.”

In scriptures we see the proclamation of your comfort in the lives of countless people throughout times and places. We see a compassionate and caring creator who unites us and in Jesus also shares in the suffering of humanity that is unique to one faith on this planet earth.

“Our weariness is known to you, and you replenish our strength when we falter.”

You can see our struggles and can provide the strength and endurance needed to overcome challenges. Your words push us on and challenge us.

“In our moments of fear, you ignite the flames of courage within us.”

In you we know in our very being that we are more than anything else loved and created with purpose. Your word gives confidence, helping us overcome fears and face difficult situations with resilience, determination, and grounded hope.

“Death’s shadow looms, but through you, we find the promise of new life.”

As the Apostle says, If Christ “the first fruits” is raised, then we too shall be raised. We find compelling hope of eternal life in Him, even in the face of physical death which just simply is not the end.

“In this sacred moment of worship, we come before you, laying down our burdens and limitations.”

We surrender to you and seek to unburden ourselves, trusting that it matters, that we matter and that what we do and feel matters.

Lord, we confess that our lives do not always reflect your grace as it is found in your Word. Who can doubt the sinful nature of humanity? In every example we find, You Lord extend forgiveness, while we sometimes cling to judgment.”

“Jesus radiates kindness, but we can be more than just unkind and even if not most often to those we love and care for most.”

“You are merciful, yet we nurse grudges and hold onto old wounds.”

The forgiveness you offer is the same forgiveness we should give to others. To live as a community is to be peaceful.

Forgive us, gracious God. Just as your Holy Testament claims you always do. “Fill us with your Holy Spirit, infusing our hearts with divine grace beyond a rational understanding.”

“Make us anew through Christ, your Son and our Savior.”

Response: I will trust in the Lord

Assurance of God’s love

Jesus never said, you haven’t done wrong. He didn’t claim that other people were perfect. But what he did say is this: Go and sin no more, your sins are forgiven. The past is the past – In this second, we can start anew. Amen.

We listen for the voice of God

Children’s time

Response: Jesus loves me (373)


Gray hair is a crown of splendour; it is attained by a righteous life. Proverbs 16:30 Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:32

Here is a picture of my grandmother. It’s not the same one that went out in the email because it’s a different grandmother. This is my grandma Childs, it’s my dad’s mom. And she, unfortunately, died about 10 years ago.

Even as a young woman though, she had this beautiful gray hair.

The thing about my grandparents, both my grandmothers in particular, is this, I did not appreciate them nearly enough.

Do you guys appreciate your grandparents? Yeah, you love playing with them. Yeah, I did too, but as I got older. I just didn’t seem to appreciate them quite as much. It was true for my parents too. In fact, when I first moved to Canada, I realized that I had to do my own laundry. Okay, and make my own food. And pay my own bills. And the one that really got me was I had to change the oil in my own car. Terrible

I started noticing that I probably didn’t give enough respect to my parents or my grandparents at any point in my life and so I wrote them apology letters my first year of college. And I told them that I didn’t feel like I had given them enough credit. My grandmother asked me a call, so I started calling every Sunday night and talking to her.

And she was full of amazing advice and sometimes odd advice like, “I think you should play the field.” That was a little bit of a weird one. But I came to understand that you can get a whole lot of wisdom from people if you just talk. She had all kinds of wonderful advice and a lot of that was the stuff that she said she did wrong in her life she didn’t want me to repeat. And In the book of Proverbs it says that gray hair is like a crown of splendor like a silver crown sitting upon your head.

It says, rise in the presence of the geed and show respect for your elders. And “revere your Lord for I am the God of all.”

In your life you’re going to have these moments where your grandparents are lots of fun and you’re going to have moments where maybe they’re telling you not to do things. But they’re all important. So learn to listen to your grandparents.


Dear Heavenly Father, we gather in Your presence today, grateful for the gift of family. We thank You for the unique and precious relationship between grandparents and grandchildren. As we offer this blessing, may Your grace and love shine upon them, nurturing their connection and filling their lives with joy.

Heavenly Father, we lift up these beloved grandparents before You. You have walked with them through the journey of life, blessing them with wisdom, grace, and love. We pray that You continue to pour Your blessings upon them:

We thank You, Lord, for the legacy of love and faith that these grandparents represent. May their lives continue to be a beacon of Your grace to their family and community. Dear Lord, we now turn our hearts to these precious grandchildren who bring immeasurable joy to their grandparents’ lives. We ask for Your abundant blessings upon them. For both, we ask: bless their health, bless their time, bless their gifts, bless their hearts and let them grow together and strengthen one another. And now we pray the prayer Jesus taught us to pray.

The Lord’s Prayer (535)

Transition music

Song: I will call upon the Lord (408)

Today’s Message

Scripture reading: Isaiah 65:17-19; Jeremiah 31:33, Ezekiel 37:12-14;        Daniel 7:13; Amos 5:23-24; Zephaniah 2:3

Response: Be still and know that I am God (instrumental)

Message: Bible Basics: Prophets

There is a footnote at the bottom of this page

The Bible’s “Prophets” section comprises 17 books, categorized into major and minor prophets. These books follow a chronological order, beginning with the earliest prophets. Prophets are individuals chosen by God to deliver His divine truth, often reluctantly. They have direct encounters with God and are commissioned to represent His will.

Prophets play a pivotal role in conveying God’s message and upholding the covenant between God and His people. Their primary concern is emphasizing unwavering allegiance to God alone. They accuse Israel of violating this covenant through idol worship, fear-based alliances, and mistreatment of the poor. Prophets call for repentance based on God’s boundless mercy and forgiveness. Simultaneously, they warn of the dire consequences of disobedience, often describing the Day of the Lord, a time of divine judgment and cosmic renewal.

It’s essential to recognize that the overarching theme of the prophetic message is the remaking of creation and humanity, reinstating God’s image within them, and reestablishing humanity’s role as caretakers of creation, including all the nations of the world. The prophets’ ultimate objective is to draw people back to God.

One common misconception is confusing prophets with fortune tellers, magicians, or future predictors. Prophets do not engage in mystical practices or guesswork. Instead, their messages are rooted in divine revelation and a deep connection with God.

To convey their messages effectively, some prophets employ dramatic actions that serve as powerful symbols. For instance, the prophet Ezekiel constructs a miniature city in the dirt, only to dramatically act out its destruction as a warning to the people. Similarly, the prophet Isaiah walked naked for three years, symbolizing the shame brought upon the people due to their sinful behavior. The very term “prophet” means “called one.” Prophets are individuals specially chosen by God to fulfill a sacred purpose, delivering His truth and guidance to His people.

It’s worth noting that many of the most prominent figures in the Bible initially resisted their divine callings as prophets. Notable examples include Jonah, Moses, Gideon, and Jeremiah. These individuals often questioned their abilities or were reluctant to bear the weight of their divine missions.

Prophets come from diverse geographical locations and eras, making their experiences and messages relatable to us today. Their actions, like Isaiah’s nudity and Ezekiel’s symbolic construction and destruction, are metaphors that illustrate the consequences of misplaced priorities and sinful behavior. God’s perfection necessitates addressing sin and urging human improvement.

Prophets serve as mouthpieces for God throughout the Bible, with some even having entire books dedicated to their prophecies. While prophecy exists throughout the Bible, certain books are deemed prophetic, containing revealed truths that focus on the past, present, and future.

Mercy, a recurring theme in the prophetic message, involves not receiving the punishment one deserves. Zechariah prophesizes about someone coming to pay for our sins, indicating a path to rescue from trouble.

The Minor Prophets collectively form a single book, including Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. The term “minor prophets” does not diminish the significance of their contributions; rather, it reflects the brevity of some of their works.

Prophets played a pivotal role in the life of Israel, despite facing marginalization and abuse. While some were respected and given opportunities to share their gifts, others endured hardships. The experiences of these prophets often took physical forms, involving actions like shaking messages or dramatic demonstrations to convey God’s profound truths.

Prophets were instrumental in calling the Israelites back to their true faith, steering them away from falsehoods and false faiths. They consistently demanded justice, condemned the abuse of power and self-righteousness, and called for judgment upon Israel and Judah. Additionally, prophets forewarned neighboring nations, including Babylon, Assyria, Cush, Midian, and Egypt, about impending divine judgment, emphasizing that the same Lord called all people through one family and one nation.

Prophets are far from diplomatic; their language reflects their passionate nature. They boldly convey God’s fervor, shaking those who listen with their outspoken and sometimes outrageous messages.

Prophets not only saw the near future’s harsh realities but also glimpsed a glorious distant future. Their visions encompassed both the destruction of Judah and Israel and the eventual salvation of all humanity. Prophets drew sharp contrasts between the current world and the forthcoming world, characterized by peace, justice, mercy, compassion, shelter, safety, and love.

Above all, prophets pointed to a Messiah who would establish God’s perfect reign—a new era akin to the dawn of a new Adam in the garden. The Messiah embodies God’s salvation and renewal, bringing hope and redemption to humanity.

Most of the Minor Prophets delivered their messages during the decline of the Israelite or Judahite kingdoms. However, exceptions include Haggai and Zechariah, who were associated with Jerusalem’s post-exile return, and Malachi, whose ministry occurred a century later. Some of these prophetic books deviate from the typical prophecy format.

For example, Jonah focuses more on the prophet himself than on specific prophecies. It tells the story of a chosen individual who intended to save a different group, not from his people. Jonah’s attempt to evade his mission, only to be called back, is a central theme. Obadiah, like Job, poses profound questions about the suffering of God’s people.

The Minor Prophets collectively address several key themes. They denounce the unfaithfulness of the people, highlighting issues like social injustice and oppression. These prophets emphasize the future redemption of God’s people, holding out hope for a better tomorrow. Central to their message is the anticipation of a Messiah who will rescue the people from their adversaries and usher in a period of salvation.

Isaiah: Isaiah prophesied in Judah during the reign of four kings. His primary message was to warn them about the impending threats posed by Assyria and Babylon. Alongside these warnings, Isaiah also conveyed a message of hope for the future.

Jeremiah: Jeremiah’s prophetic ministry took place in Jerusalem. He repeatedly warned the people of Judah about the impending punishment they would face due to their disobedience. He also looked forward to a time when the Lord would establish a new covenant with His people.

Lamentations: Lamentations is an acrostic poem, possibly authored by Jeremiah. It vividly portrays the fall of Jerusalem at the hands of the Babylonian army.

Ezekiel: Ezekiel served as both a priest and a prophet while in exile in Babylon. His ministry included a series of visionary messages, directed at both fellow exiles and those still residing in Jerusalem.

Daniel: The Book of Daniel narrates the story of a Jewish man in exile in Babylon. It combines narrative accounts with a series of visions that foretell the rise and fall of future empires.

Hosea: Hosea’s story is a dramatic account of a man’s enduring love for his unfaithful wife. This tale personifies God’s merciful forgiveness. Despite his wife’s continuous unfaithfulness, the man continually takes her back, serving as an allegory for God’s relationship with humanity.

Joel: In the aftermath of a devastating natural disaster, where Judah was plagued by locusts that stripped the land of vegetation, Joel seeks to interpret the event’s meaning. He views it as a warning of impending invasion by God’s enemies.

Amos: A shepherd and small business owner around 750 BC, Amos condemns Israel’s complacency and self-satisfaction in their religious practices. He also critiques the corrupt underbelly of society.

Obadiah: Obadiah’s book discusses the invasion of the Philistines. It’s the shortest book in the Old Testament and centers on the destruction of Edom and its eventual defeat.

Jonah: Jonah’s story is about God’s love for all, despite Jonah trying to run away. It highlights how even when Jonah behaves poorly, God’s compassion remains.

Micah: Micah cries out against injustice, emphasizing God’s desire for justice and mercy. He urges people to humbly obey God.

Nahum: Nahum portrays the end of Nineveh around 620 B.C. His message represents the downfall of the entire Assyrian empire while acknowledging God’s power and patience.

Habakkuk: Habakkuk grapples with questions about where God was during difficult times and why certain events occurred.

Zephaniah: Zephaniah’s focus is on the day of the Lord, emphasizing the coming justice and judgment for sin.

Haggai: Haggai encourages the people to take heart and rebuild the temple, assuring them that the Lord is with them to fulfill His promises.

Zechariah: Zechariah’s writings are complex, with references to a wounded king and the Messiah to come. He expresses great excitement about what’s on the horizon.

Malachi: Malachi addresses a period when the temple had been rebuilt and sacrifices were offered again, but challenges persisted. He emphasizes the importance of genuine heart devotion in religious observance.

These Minor Prophets each bring a unique perspective and message, collectively shedding light on various aspects of faith, justice, and God’s relationship with humanity.

Isaiah: The name Isaiah means “the Lord saves.” He was a married man with two sons, lived in Jerusalem, and wrote a biography of King Uzziah. He met a gruesome end, being sawn in half. One of the key verses in his book speaks of a new heaven, a new Earth, and a new Jerusalem where there will be everlasting joy and no more sorrow.

In Chapter 7, verse 14, Isaiah discusses the word “alma,” which is often translated as “virgin.” However, it generally refers to a young woman and specifically means “virgin” in certain contexts. The text also alludes to his wife being pregnant, signifying hope for a faithful generation.

Jeremiah: Jeremiah delivers a message about the new covenant that the Lord will make with the people of Israel, where His law will be written on their hearts and minds. He was a social revolutionary and political activist who faced exile, humiliation, and imprisonment. There is an interesting section in Chapter 36. It seems Jeremiah had been speaking at the temple and before the King. Jeremiah’s words are not appreciated. When Jeremiah is thrown out for speaking up, he dictates his prophecies to a scribe named Barak instead. This is that book.

Lamentations: Lamentations is a poignant poem, essentially a funeral dirge for Jerusalem. Amidst the lament, there is a moment of hope in Chapter 3, where the author breaks into a song of praise.

Ezekiel: Ezekiel prophesies that God will open graves, breathe life into the dead, and set them free with His spirit. He uses dramatic enactments to convey his messages, such as lying on his side for 390 days and digging through a wall to emphasize the narrowness of escape.

Daniel: The Book of Daniel combines narrative storytelling with a series of visions. It narrates the story of Daniel, a Jewish exile in Babylon, and provides insights into the rise and fall of future empires.

These Major Prophets offer a range of messages, including visions of the future, calls for faithfulness, and allegorical representations. Each contributes to a broader understanding of God’s plan and expectations for His people.

Throughout the prophetic books of the Old Testament, several themes consistently emerge, with a strong focus on mercy, justice, and care for the poor. These prophets often confronted the failures of past leaders, be they kings, priests, or the people themselves. There existed a deep longing for a perfect King, Prophet, and Priesthood—a yearning for a Savior who could fulfill all these roles and usher in God’s perfect kingdom.

The prophecies within these books laid the groundwork for the expectation of a Messiah who would bring a new covenant, perform life-affirming deeds, be born of a virgin, and arrive according to a precise timetable. 400 years before the birth of Jesus, they foresaw a suffering servant who would bear the sins of the people, experience resurrection and exaltation, and be preceded by Elijah. The prophecies also detailed events such as His piercing, entry on a donkey, time in Egypt, betrayal for 30 pieces of silver, and identification as the “Son of Man.” Furthermore, they predicted His birth in Bethlehem, bearing titles like “Wonderful Counselor,” and being preceded by a messenger. Even the location of His residence in Nazareth and signs of healing were prophesied.

These prophecies served as a guiding light for the faithful, offering assurance that God’s plan would unfold as promised. They provided hope in times of adversity and uncertainty, pointing toward the ultimate fulfillment in the Messiah—a figure who would establish God’s perfect reign, embodying salvation, and renewal for all of humanity.

In short, the prophets and their messages are an integral part of the biblical narrative, shaping the faith, hope, and expectations of generations past and present. Their enduring significance lies in their unwavering commitment to delivering God’s truth, calling for repentance, and offering a glimpse of the glorious future that awaits those who remain faithful to the divine covenant. But a question looms deeply over the prophets. It is the same question that looms over the literature of wisdom in scripture and the same indeed which we find in the first five books, the first story in fact and at the very beginning and throughout their history. If each step towards finding a new way ends in failure what chance do we really have on our own? And thus, the Hebrew Bible concludes with many a question mark hanging in the air?

How do we return to the garden of Eden (to the ideal, to perfection, to heaven, to the perfect presence of God)? Since Adam and Eve (Humanity) and (Life) we have awaited the arrival of each new generation that they will not repeat the failures of the last. We seek out a sacrifice to end all, a King who is fair, a Priests worthy of making our offering for us and an offering itself that is innocent but also not forced. The systems in place present a world where there is no way out. And yet, there is a promise. Unfulfilled is not the same as failed. The Old Testament ends awaiting a conclusion – a Messiah.

And that is where the Gospels come in. [i]

Song: This is the day (78)

We respond to serve God

Reflection on giving: Dayspring is empowered to carry out our mission of worship, service, and care by generously given volunteer time, talent, and treasure. Many thanks to all who give so generously!

Prayer of gratitude and a Grandparents Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, we come before You today with hearts full of gratitude for the precious gift of grandparents and those who lovingly step into the roles of grandparents in our lives. We thank You, Lord, for the wisdom, love, and unwavering support they provide, enriching our lives in countless ways.

Gracious God, we thank You for grandparents’ enduring love. Their love reflects Your boundless and unconditional love for us. We are blessed to witness their love as it stands the test of time, offering us a glimpse of Your eternal love that knows no end.

Heavenly Father, we thank You for the wisdom of grandparents. Their life experiences and stories are like treasure troves of knowledge, imparting valuable lessons that guide us through our journey. Their wisdom, often born of challenges and triumphs, is a beacon of light in our lives, showing us the way.

Merciful Lord, we thank You for the patience of grandparents. They are a source of comfort and understanding in our moments of struggle. With their gentle and patient hearts, they teach us the beauty of compassion and the importance of being there for one another.

Loving God, we thank You for the joy of grandparents. Their laughter and cheerful presence bring warmth to our homes and hearts. They remind us to find joy in the little things and to cherish moments of togetherness.

Gracious Father, we thank You for the legacy of faith passed down by grandparents. Their unwavering faith in You is an inspiration. They teach us the importance of seeking Your guidance in all aspects of our lives and trusting in Your divine plan.

Lord of Generations, we thank You for the stories of the past shared by grandparents. Their tales of bygone days connect us to our roots and provide us with a sense of identity. Through their stories, we learn about our family’s history and the values that have shaped us.

Heavenly Father, we thank You for the sacrifices made by grandparents. Their selflessness and willingness to give their all for their families set a remarkable example. They teach us the value of putting others before ourselves and the beauty of sacrificial love.

Lord, we ask for Your blessings upon our grandparents. May You grant them good health, happiness, and peace in their golden years. Shower them with Your love and grace, just as they have showered us with their love throughout our lives.

Dear God, we pray that You help us cherish our grandparents. Open our hearts to the lessons they impart and the love they offer. May we learn from their experiences and embrace the values they hold dear.

Gracious Lord, we ask for Your guidance in being sources of joy, comfort, and wisdom to our grandparents as they have been to us. May we bring them happiness and be there for them, just as they have been there for us.

Heavenly Father, we thank You for the immeasurable gift of grandparents and those who act as grandparents in our lives. Their love, wisdom, and presence are a testament to Your grace and goodness. We are truly blessed to have them, and for that, we are eternally thankful.

In Your holy name, we pray, Amen.

Song: Lord, the light of your love is shining: Shine, Jesus Shine (376)

Sending out with God’s blessing

“So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)

Response: God to enfold you

Music postlude


Numbers in brackets after a song/hymn indicate that it is from the 1997 Book of Praise of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. Those and other songs are being used in accordance with the specifications of Dayspring’s licensing with One Licence (3095377) and CLC (A735555).

The Rev. Brad Childs retains the copyright (© 2023) on all original material in this service. As far as Brad Childs is aware, all of the material that has not been attributed to others is his own creation or is in the public domain. Unacknowledged use of copyrighted material is unintentional and will be corrected immediately upon notification being received.


[i] Daniel 9:24–27 outlines a timetable for the Messiah’s. And according to Matthew 24:15-16, Mark 13:14-15, and Galatians 4:4 they saw it happen.

Isaiah 7:14 predicted the Messiah’s birth from a young woman giving hope but even more so, from the virgin as explained by Matthew 1:22–23 and Luke 1:31–35.

The yet unidentified messianic (salvation brining) King to come, (in Hosea 11:1) is predicted to sojourn in Egypt, just as Matthew 2:13–15 notes Jesus did, and we recall every Christmas.

In Micah 5:2 it is said that the Savior will be born in Bethlehem just as Matisyahu notes Jesus was in Matthew 2:1–6.

This new Adam (a different kind of humanity) would be called a Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace in Isaiah 9:6–7 and I think we all know how that worked out.

This King says the prophet Malachi 3:1 is set to be proceeded by a messenger making straight the path before him (or paving the way), recognized in Matthew 11:10, Mark 1:2, and Luke 1:76 as the work of one John the Baptist.

For unknown reasons the example of God ruling properly on earth through His “image” this person will be referred to as a Nazarene. And someone is coming from that very land as Matthew will soon note.

The rescuer will demonstrate signs by healing says Isaiah 35:5-6 (as do Matthew 11:4-6 and Luke 7:20-23). In fact, there will be many life-affirming deeds (Isaiah 61:1-2 and Luke 4:16-21).

To recognize him and prove his identity he will be proceeded by Elijah, as Malachi 4:5-6 says (see Matthew 11:14-15).

They will see him as the “Son of Man” from Daniel 7:13-14 who comes to be with them and delivers them from the flames of fire their enemies put upon them.

As Jeremiah 31:31 says, the new Adam (or new humanity) brings about a new covenant, affirmed in the New Testament (Matthew 26:28, Luke 22:20, 2 Corinthians 3:6, Hebrews 8:6–13, Hebrews 9:15, Hebrews 12:24).

He builds a New Temple not by stone and never to be constructed but made of hearts, honestly devoted to God’s will.

Strangely Isaiah 52:13–53:12 describes this person as a suffering servant who is rejected and accused without reason.

The Messiah is said to arrive on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9 and fulfilled in Matthew 21:1–7).

A murderous plot will befall him states Jeremiah 31:15; paralleled in Matthew 2:16–18.

He will be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12–13; Matthew 26:14–15).

Zechariah 12:10 says he will be innocent and yet pierced, nonetheless. (See Matthew 24:30, John 19:31–37, and Revelation 1:7).

Isaih again and again notes that this Saviour bears the sin of the people willingly and perfectly and is truly innocent in every way. (Matthew 8:16–17, Matthew 20:28, Matthew 26:28, and more).

Finally, Isaiah 53:10-53:12 says that death cannot hold the Anointed One. But he will instead, rise again. And so, too shall those who follow. (Isaiah 53:10–53:12, echoed in Hebrews 9:28 and 1 Peter 2:21–25).

Posted in Recent Sermons.