October 5, 2015

What about prophecy and the will of God?

Ezekiel 12:1–13:23, Revelation 3:14–4:11, Job 33:19–28

An outgoing and personable person thinks that God has given her a prophetic ministry for others. The two times she ‘did this for me’ her words were not biblical and totally missed the problem at hand. Even though she kept saying I was wonderful, I felt a bit like Job. Her ‘ministry’ rang false rather than comforting or edifying me.

I’m also concerned that she wants to teach this “skill” to others. She invites women to do things with her, trying to fill their heads with her ideas. I’m cautious, yet wonder what to do about this. Today God surprised me with these verses . . .

“Set your face against the daughters of your people, who prophesy out of their own hearts. Prophesy against them and say, Thus says the Lord God . . . .”

The rest of the passage describes more about these women and gives instruction concerning what God wanted to do with those who claim to be saying His words . . . “I will deliver my people out of your hand, and they shall be no more in your hand as prey, and you shall know that I am the Lord. Because you have disheartened the righteous falsely, although I have not grieved him, and you have encouraged the wicked, that he should not turn from his evil way to save his life, therefore you shall no more see false visions nor practice divination. I will deliver my people out of your hand. And you shall know that I am the Lord.” (Ezekiel 13:17–23)

It is a relief to realize that God will do this, but a challenge to realize that Ezekiel had to tell the offenders.  I don’t have the courage or the words to say anything. Besides, I need to be sure I’m not guilty of doing the same thing by speaking out of my heart instead of saying what God wants said.

It is easy to rebuke others rather than build them up. Job’s young friend, Elihu, told Job a parable of sorts. He said, “Man is also rebuked with pain on his bed and with continual strife in his bones, so that his life loathes bread, and his appetite the choicest food. His flesh is so wasted away that it cannot be seen, and his bones that were not seen stick out . . . . If there be for him an angel, a mediator, one of the thousand, to declare to man what is right for him, and he is merciful to him, and says, ‘Deliver him from going down into the pit; I have found a ransom; let his flesh become fresh with youth; let him return to the days of his youthful vigor’; then man prays to God, and he accepts him; he sees his face with a shout of joy, and he restores to man his righteousness. He sings before men and says: ‘I sinned and perverted what was right, and it was not repaid to me. He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit, and my life shall look upon the light.’” (Job 33:19–21, 23–28)

Basically, he told Job that if he just confesses his sin, his terrible suffering will end and all will go back to normal. But Job did not sin. This means Elihu is a false prophet. His ideas came out of his own heart rather than from God.

How then can I know for certain what God wants? For one thing, I know that God doesn’t need me to rebuke or discipline His people. “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.” (Revelation 3:19) He is fully capable of doing it Himself even though He often told His prophets to do it. The Bible is full of rebuke and correction written by the hands of men who were filled with the Spirit of God.

Certainly I also need to have a clear motive for speaking. My own heart needs to be free from speaking my own words. I do not want to be guilty of false visions or divination or any other self-sourced activities, never mind call this a “ministry” to others.

I also realize that whatever I do, it should glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. “And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, ‘Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.’” (Revelation 4:9–11)

When God speaks to me, it is almost always about my sin, not the sin of others, or He speaks of what He has done so I can be forgiven. He speaks of His love for me, but without giving me any reasons for earning or deserving it. Perhaps others are edified by being told how wonderful they are, but for me, that only lasts until the next time I crash. I do far better hearing how wonderful is Jesus, and how worthy He is! No matter what happens, those words stand fast and minister to me.

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