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Prophets Among Us

“So, you’re a prophet now?” I paused momentarily, trying to determine how I was going to answer the question. We were discussing prophecy, and I was sharing with a friend my understanding of the “last days” invasion of Israel in the book of Ezekiel (Chapters 38-39). With the term “prophesy,” most Christians think of “foretelling” the future, and that is a part of it, but it is much, much more.

In the Old Testament prophetic books, we see phrases like “the word of the Lord” or “thus saith the Lord.” While there are future prophecies in these books, most of their proclamations are God speaking through the prophets to call His people to repent and return to Him. That call of God continues into the New Testament era, where the term used to describe this is “prophesy.” The Apostle Paul lists prophecy as one of the spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:10) and he elevates that gift over several others.

“Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation.”

1 Corinthians 14:1-3, ESV

Biblically speaking, “prophesy” is God speaking through an individual for “up-building, encouragement, and consolation.” In layman’s terms, the Word of God “comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable!”

I believe there are too few “prophets” in the pulpits today – men who seek God and speak His Words to their congregations. Pastor, author, and, dare I say, prophet A. W. Tozer describes the need for the hour for such men.

“Today we need prophetic preachers – not preachers of prophecy merely, but preachers with a gift of prophecy. The word of wisdom is missing. We need the gift of discernment again in our pulpits. It is not the ability to predict that we need, but the anointed eye, the power of spiritual penetration and interpretation, the ability to appraise the religious scene as viewed from God’s position, and to tell us what is actually going on” (Of God and Men).

The church at large has drifted from the God-anointed message to a culturally “appropriate” self-help gospel that saves no one because it offends no one. The Apostle Paul tells us this:

“For the word [KJV “preaching”] of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

1 Corinthians 1:18, ESV

The church today needs a powerful message to be a powerful church, a church demonstrating the “power of God” to live lives that honor Him and to be a light in the darkness.

While few of us have a pulpit ministry, all of us can pray that our pastors and leaders become people who hear from God and speak the Word of God to encourage, build up, and console God’s people.

Back to my friend’s question, “Are you a prophet?” I pray that I am now, and will continue to be, a man who seeks to hear from God.

What say you, Man of Valor?

Adapted from Men of Valor Devotional by Ron Helle, 24 May 2024

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