A prophet will call people back to the Word of God
This week we are going to continue with the topic of a prophet and briefly go into their function. We have already given an overall description of a prophet and also discussed their calling, preparation and training. But, how do they function and what exactly do they do once the Lord puts them "to work."
A prophet will call people back to the Word of God, speaking God’s word to him so that the Lord can write His word uniquely on his heart. Behind his words of warning and words to obey is God’s mercy.
But, all the while he may be directed to give a word to others, he is acutely aware of his own sin and deceit in his own heart.
He thinks he will never be true to the Lord and will feel somewhat helpless, but that’s what God wants and this will temper his message to others because the training of a prophet is the most excruciating discipline to endure and his hurts and sins become his schoolmasters.
The prophet will humble the mighty and raise the fallen. When others laugh he will be weeping in his spirit. When others weep and are in the grip of true repentance, his spirit rejoices because he sees God’s rewards of mercy coming. When believers are celebrating a great victory he has already been called to the next battle, the next pit of sorrow.
In other words, a prophet will always feel "out of synch" with other believers and will have a sense that he just doesn’t "fit in," but he really does and the prophet will and must understand this or it will really discourage him. Prophets warn of trouble coming and they prepare people for the fire. He will be laughed at, cursed, rejected, fall and arise.
He may have to speak a hard word to people for which he will disliked and hated. His services are free and they do not charge because the Lord is their sou-rce, not man. It’s acceptable, however, to take an offering but he must never be for hire. Many so-called prophets today are nothing but hirelings and they charge a high price to the next bidder.
This is clearly the mark of a Balaam. A prophet will stand mute before the will of another and must never force what he wants. He must find ways for the person to receive his words and let them join into the search rather than tell them too many answers.
He must not only know what to say, but how to say it. A prophet owes the people nothing but comes and goes as the Lord directs and he may co-exist with some strange people. He sees no visions or perceptions unless the Lord has revealed them. He will never "peep" on his own but will rest in the Spirit and the Word.
He can’t always be gentle or courteous because he must also rebuke, so he must depend on the Spirit of God. If he must render a rebuke then do it, but let God discipline. He also must pray always, think God’s thoughts and study, study, study.
Daniel received angelic visitations after he was studying the Book of Jeremiah because he wanted answers. Much of what God reveals may frighten him or cause him distress so he must pray for guidance or intercede for another. He must also keep quiet about things he knows until the Lord tells him otherwise. He must be careful how he hears and be aware that what people want will and can affect him.
He must not be put into the position of a "seer," this not the primary function of a prophet. He must listen to God’s voice and not be affected by what others say. Warnings may not go down as prophesied because God warns so it WON’T happen.
Confirmation may not mean agreement by others so just because some don’t agree shou-ldn’t stop him. He must do all he can do to verify what he has heard is from the Lord.
The prophet, for the most part, is not for the general public but is sent to believers. (1 Cor 14.22, Matt 7.6). He must give what he has to say to the right people, at the right time.
When disasters happen, that doesn’t mean that the victims were evil (Lk 13.1-5). The relation of sin is more "corporate" than "personal" and doesn’t mean the people have sinned. A prophet must never rationalize too soon by pouring comfort into situation that the Lord was using to move people to repentance.
The Lord’s prophet learns to relax in the mess. He will see God’s faithfulness no matter what is going on. True repentance brings life, but remorse is self centered and the prophet must not only know the difference but be able to recognize it and deal with it in others. A prophet may never see the fulfillment of what he sees. He will have the blueprint that God will use to bring it to pass however.
In the next article we will continue with the function of a prophet and deal with more of what he does, and how does a prophet listen and know when the Lord is speaking to him. How can one discern between his own voice and the voice of the Lord. This will be very helpful, not only to budding prophets, but to believers in general so don’t miss the next article.