Dead externalism in religious practice and mechanical routine in religious thought has caused the downfall of most groups in religion. This is the reason for the new influx of the ?music programs? and ?Pop worship services? in today?s denominational scene. People tend to think of ceremonies as effective in themselves and come to identify the Word of God with those ceremonies. The prophets, realizing that this erroneous viewpoint had already led the people into dead externalism, desired to do nothing which would foster this thinking, such as an undue use of the name Law. Accordingly, they proclaimed the message contained in the Law, without often employing the name, Law. In keeping with this explanation is the fact that the prophets did speak repeatedly against dead externalism in the sanctuary services. Isaiah 1:11-14; Amos 5:21-24 This answers as to why the prophets were not the same as the priest and Levites who taught the Law as a ?lesson? instead of the vibrant exclamation of God?s demands. When the worship services become more of a stage performance and not a vibrant exclamation of faith in Jesus Christ– something is dead somewhere and there is NO place for the Spirit of God to enter these proceedings!!
It is true that though prophets are recognized in the Law, they were not legally prescribed (noted as a necessity) as were the priests. The reason may be found in the point just made, that prophets excited the spirit of urgency in keeping the Law while the priests taught what the Law demanded. They got the heart and soul into the thought of obeying God. Reformers, after all, are needed because of an abnormal situation. The Jewish tabernacle service had wandered away from the proper course and it needed to be brought back to it again. They needed to be reformed to what they once were or at least to what they should have been. The Law was laid down for the ideal and in that ideal state the people could be expected to follow its teachings, but when as was set forth by the priests, the worshippers had tired of its presentation. So then, prophets were a development of sort of an ?emergency squad? and this kept them always at odds with those who never intended to obey God in the first place. It is in keeping with this fact that the recognition given prophets in Deuteronomy 18 does not refer to them in this role of reformers, but only as recipients of divine revelation to answer the questions of the worshipper. Their worship had not been ?in Spirit? and had grown tiring.
God told Jeremiah ?I have set thee for a tower and a fortress among My people, that thou mayest know and try their way.? Jeremiah 6:27 Jeremiah was to be as strong as a tower and a fortress evaluating their hearts, making judgments to determine if they were pleasing to God. The crier would of course follow the Law but the listener had to be made to see if he was acting in a way that was pleasing to his Maker. What would be the state of affairs if men were not in check and that often? Would just a reading of a text do that job? Would a ritual get to the hearts and minds of the worshipper causing them to evaluate their standing with the Holy One of Israel?
Again, the prophet served as a ?watchman? among their own, pointing out the proper conduct and warned of judgment and punishment that might have been overlooked. ?Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at My mouth and give them warning from Me.? Ezekiel 3:17 God intended the prophet to sound the clarion call so man would not ?die in their sins? It was vital in God?s sight to give this warning call in the face of danger; if He gave the warning and the people did not heed, when they plunged into their death, it would be at their own hands!