It doesn’t take much channel surfing, or browsing clips on YouTube to find some pretty outrageous and outlandish people speaking in the name of God.
I when remember a group of friends and I huddled around a computer to watch some online sermons of a guy who through his yelling and screaming condemned the country, the president, other Christians, other non Christians, the gopher under his porch, and kids who use training wheels past age three.
Or maybe you can think back as people have come on TV after natural disasters or tragedy and proclaimed it God’s judgment for some reason.
These people claim to speak for God. The word that we find throughout history is the word prophet, which is initially a word that means “spokesperson”. The people you have likely seen or heard from on YouTube are not God’s spokespeople. But is anyone?
The Old Testament contains 17 prophetic books. Now there are about 48 people mentioned as prophets who spoke over various size groups however there are 17 unique voices inspired by God speaking to a people who have lost there way separated into unique books. Here’s how God identified prophets:
1) God’s people would fall away from him.
2) God would identify someone to speak truth to his people.
3) God would give that person a unique message.
Now the result would vary. Sometimes, God’s people would listen to his prophets, sometimes, they wouldn’t.
But a prophet’s success wasn’t dependent on if people listened. It was their business if they listened. A prophet’s success was dependent on their faithfulness to the message God has given them.
Prophets were also called to speak against God’s people more than they were called against people who didn’t follow God. Prophets were sent to speak against foreign rulers and kinds, Moses to Pharaoh, and Jonah to the Assyrians to name a few, but more often God called prophets to speak truth into the people who were already supposed to be following him.
And the message God called his prophets to speak was almost never safe. The could lose everything. They could be killed.
God doesn’t need to call people to speak safe messages.
As Christians, all to often we are concerned with speaking a prophetic word to the world, when instead we should be listening to the prophetic word God has for us. God’s people are not exempt from him judgment, Paul actually talks about how we are held to a higher standard.
I believe God still give’s people messages of truth that he wants us to speak over communities, businesses, churches, small groups, families, or friends. They aren’t safe messages, but they are important. The question is: Are we listening to God and are we speaking his message?
So might we remember
1) No one else will be saying it, God called you.
2) Your success is not determined by people listening, it is determined by speaking truth.
3) God always speaks consistent with his character
3) God more often speaks truth against people who call themselves his followers as opposed to those who don’t.