All these images are from my trip to the East Coast. Some are from New York City, some from quaint, sleepy little hamlets, and some from Boston. Some are from under bridges, on the side of buildings, and some are next to memorials. Some are obviously commissioned pieces while others aren’t.
What they each have in common is story. I found myself intrigued by the “Forgotten Prophets”. It screamed prophetic to me and I couldn’t help but think of Elijah’s declaration to the people of Israel. “I, even I only, remain a prophet of the Lord, but Baal’s prophet are four hundred and fifty men.” (I King 18:22 KJV)
And then again, after Elijah’s grand gesture on Mount Carmel he runs and hides in a cave and cries out to the Lord, claiming he is all that is left and his life is being sought. In I Kings 19: 10 Elijah says, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.“
I love God’s response, Go stand upon the mountain before the Lord. So God showed up, and Elijah once again repeated his cry. “I, even I only, am left.” There is no one with me. No one. They’ve all turned from you, God. They’ve sold out to gods made by the hands of man, they’ve conformed to the ways of this world.
God gives Elijah (my God is Jehovah) tells him to go to Damascus (silent is the sackcloth weaver) to anoint Hazael (one who sees God) to be king of Syria (exalted). And you will anoint Jehu (Jehovah is He) son of Nimshi (rescued) to be king over Israel. And you will anoint Elisha (God is salvation) , the son of Shaphat (judged) of Abelmeholah (meadow of dancing), to be prophet in your room.
And with one final word, he tells Elijah, by the way, I have reserved 7,000 prophets in Israel, whose knees haven’t bowed to Baal. I don’t need to reiterate what just happened just read it again for yourself and pay attention to the words in parentheses.
I don’t know why this graffiti reminded me of these passages, except prophets are curious creatures. Often isolated from people in order to hear God’s instruction. The time spent in travailing prayer, the energy spent relaying messages from God can be exhausting, leaving them vulnerable to suggestive thoughts. Imagine being one, confident and fully of faith that God is who he says he is, standing in front of the masses as you battle 450 men of Baal. No one rises up, no one raises their hand and says I stand with you. No one. In the process, Elijah saw the physical numbers and lost sight of God.
If you’re a prophet, read Romans 12. It’s good. Not only for the prophets, but for the ministers, the teachers, the exhorters, the grace givers. Set your face like flint on the Lord, try not to lose sight of who He is.
By the way, I googled Forgotten Prophets because I assumed it was some sort of gang tag, but I found nothing. What I did find was an underground Indy type band, totally not what I was expecting.
What stories do you see in the murals and graffiti? I’d love to hear them.