Thursday, June 23, 2011

Accountability of the Prophetic Gift

Ezekiel 13:1-8 The Word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophecy against the prophets of Israel who are now prophesying. Say to those who prophecy out of their own imagination: Here the words of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to you foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing! Your Prophets, O Israel, are like Jackals among ruins. You have not gone up to the breaks in the wall to repair it for the house of Israel so that it will stand firm on the day of the Lord. Their visions are false and their divinations a lie. They say, “The Lord declares,” when the Lord has not sent them; yet they expect their words to be fulfilled. Have you not seen false visions and uttered lying divinations when you say, “The Lord declares,” though I have not spoken? Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because of your false words and lying visions, I am against you, declares the Sovereign Lord.

I need to start off by telling you I absolutely believe the gift of prophecy still exists, I’ve seen it, I’ve experienced it, although it clearly happens in God’s timing not our own and not as often as we might like. I think some of us have gotten so excited over the fact that God works this way that we have let a lot of our discernment fly out the window, and instead of holding the prophet accountable, we look the other way. We enable them to continue being irresponsible because we are afraid to “shut up the word of God.” Truth is we can never shut up the word of God! To think so is arrogance. We care called in Matthew 18:15-19 to hold each other accountable in love. I’m sure we have all read the following, but we seem to forget the content of these verses.

Deuteronomy 18:20-21 But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.” You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?” If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.

I’m not suggesting we should put a prophet to death if he makes a false prophecy, but certainly the scriptures carry a strong rebuke for such a person, yet we look continually away as they are made right in front of us.
Certainly I am not telling you anything you don’t already know but it seems we are just too often afraid to act. Personally I have refused to refer to myself as “a prophet,” it seems to self important. It is a title I feel needs to be bestowed on us by other people. If someone is “a prophet” it is also important to remember, they are still real human beings, not super saints which is also why I only call people with the prophetic gift a prophet when I am referring to a specific instance or word from them. When it becomes a common title I think it can become quite dangerous because it honors and gives glory to the prophet not God the giver of the prophecy.

A prophet must be aware of every stroke of his pen. If they are unsure they best hold their tongue or change their wording. How can one teach a truth he does not yet understand? Do not say it until he has fully prepared you, and you are certain of what is being revealed. Do not speak for him, unless you have consulted him and waited patiently for his answer. Prayer must be sought ought before during and after recording the prophecy and over every line. There is no shame in saying “I felt the Lord was telling me” instead of “Thus saith the Lord.” When we speak with authority we better be certain, and if it fails to come about, even if it is only 1% of the prophecy, that prophet must repent and repent loudly. You cannot simply tuck away or hide a false prophecy because it has shamed the name of Christ and cannot be revoked. That time of repentance and humility should be lasting, months, not hours and the prophet should be seeking desperately where he went wrong because the Lord certainly does not make mistakes.

A prophetic gift is a wonderful thing, but it must be under the authority of someone with strong character, humility and deep integrity, otherwise it is not only worthless but dangerous and destructive. I think we also need to remember that the prophets of old did far more correcting and rebuking and exercising their gifts of discernment then they did telling people about the future events. I implore you all to hold each other accountable in love so we don’t sabotage the work of the Holy Spirit. Do not allow false prophets to continue in their claims. If they do not repent then we need to call them out. And remember that the greatest gift is love which is something we all need to be doing better.

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