The history of Israelites as the chosen people and their relationship with God had always been endearing and tough love particularly since the Exodus [14th-13th century B.C.E] from Egypt to the Promised Land and later to the first destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.E by the invading Babylonians to the second destruction of Jerusalem including the Holy Temple by the Romans in 70 A.D. When they strayed of the path of God, He would punish them but in the meantime, He would show His love and care for them when He sent His prophets to repent and rectify their way. The recurring theme pretty much defined the relationship between God and His chosen people so much so that, it takes the center stage in the narratives of the Old Testament. The major prophets were Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel and of interest, the minor prophets were Jonah, Joel, Micah, Zephaniah and Malachi.
The most unique in style and sense of mission was Jeremiah otherwise known as “The Weeping Prophet” which reflected his melancholic undertone including when he was unassuming prophet as he protested to God about his inability to speak eloquently which was similar to Moses’ alleged stutter when the latter was called to lead the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt. Moreover, Jeremiah was told by God that he was chosen to be a prophet since he was in his mother’s womb—before he was conceived—where it became the center of debate among latter day Theologians between “Free Will” and “Predestination.”
Looking haggard and beaten-up, at the age of 17, Jeremiah set out to convoy the message of doom and gloom when the invasion of Babylonians was a forgone conclusion. People didn’t want to listen to him much less heed his “fatalism.” The reason being, for over 70 years, the people strayed from the path of God and resorted into idolatry instead. In the meantime, false prophets arose who would tell the King and the people what they would want to hear—peace and prosperity. One among other false prophets was Hananiah. Before they knew it though, Jeremiah’s prophecy was accurate not only King Nebuchadnezzar II invaded Judiah but reduced the city Jerusalem to rubbles when he sent the wealthy and the elite to exile in Babylon—present day Southern Iraq.
Ethiopia never had it any better with in the last 27 years particularly after 2005 when the country started to make significant strides in economy, diplomacy and internal stability. I dare say, it was a Golden Era in every stretch of immigration. Not so much utilizing God’s revelation but God’s gift to humanity—the power of reason and wisdom. And that was precisely what the Tigrean leaders particularly Meles—the irreplaceable delivered to Ethiopia before the people opted to listen to false prophets laced with avarice in an age of reason. The macabre result is here for everyone to see. Ethiopia has lost its hard earned respect and luster in international stage when its people are turning against each other which is a harrowing scene in these day and age—[the recent civilian massacre in Wellega and Gambella is a case in point—a continuation of the genocide in Tigray.] The false prophets are relentless when they still tell Abiy that he is the “One” who catapults Ethiopia to greatness when Hananiah told the King in a sharp contrast to Jeremiah’s prophecy.
A bit of disclosure on my part here: I confess Tigrean Orthodox Church and I believe both Revelation and Reason are not contradictory in terms but complimentary to each other instead. Perhaps, the respective prophets in the Old Testament lived in an age of Revelation when we live in an age of God given Reason but again that doesn’t necessarily mean that there is no room for Revelation either. A leader, in particular should lead armed with good intent, integrity, courage, patience and most of all wisdom. Precisely because, St. Augustine’s “City of God” exists in a separate realm when the “City of Man” exists in a reality imbued with imperfection and vice, as such, the calling of a leader is to turn the vice into a collective virtue when the people look up to him for inspiration and guidance when Abiy Ahmed’s Ethiopia is anything but, sadly however.