The bible says that the Lord does nothing expect he reveal it to his servants the prophets (Amos 3:7). The prophet is God’s spokesman and what they declare on earth is already declared in heaven. It is in that light that we should understand what Paul said that everyone should desire to prophesy (1Corinthians 14:1-4).
Prophecy is speaking the mind of God for up building, encouragement and consolation.
God told Jeremiah that he has put a word in his mouth, to build up (Jeremiah 1:1-10). People do not normally associate prophetic words to the process of building up, but what really gets build up is your understanding. That is why Paul said that in understanding we should be men but in malice novice (1Corinthians 14:20).
The word declared also serves as the raw material (the building block) for the reality we see. In the making of the earth, God said let there be light (and other declaration) (Genesis 1:1-3). That was a prophetic word.
Before the advent of Jesus, there was the prophetic ministry of John which prepared for his coming, and part of the work he did was to build up the expectation of the people (John 1:24, Isaiah 40:3-5). Therefore the prophetic serves a faith building mechanism. When the mind of God is revealed, it implant a building block of faith (spiritual expectation) in our hearts.
Sometimes, before there is a building up there has to be a breaking down of what is wrongly built. God sent a prophet to Israel, to its idolatrous king Jeroboam, to declare that the altar he made for a god he created from his own imagination will break into two and the ashes will spill to the floor (1Kings 13:1-5). That word was to break down what is false. Within seconds that word came to pass and God was glorified. That prophet also build up the future by speaking of a coming king that will establish righteousness.
When God wanted to use Gideon mightily an angel gave him an instruction to pull down the altar to Baal in his father’s house, before the power of God can be released through him to deliver Israel from oppression, which is a building up (Judges 6).
When talking about the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egypt the bible says that by a prophet Israel was set free, and by a prophet Israel was established (Hosea 12:13). The establishment, building up came after the setting free, which is like the breaking down. God used Moses who described himself as a prophet (Deuteronomy 18:15), to tear off the hold of Egypt on the Israel, by declaring words of deliverance.
Jesus is also described as a prophet (Acts 3:22-23), and he said that he will build his church and the gates of hell will never prevail against it (Matthew 16:11). He pulls us from the world to establish us (a breaking down), to build us up in his kingdom.
The prophetic word is to build you up in faith in understanding and also in mission. When the Holy Spirit spoke to the leadership of the church in Antioch that they should release Paul and Barnabas for the task they needed to do (Acts 13:1-3), it was the birthing of a new mission on the earth to glorify Jesus and establish the kingdom in far places. It was a mission to build us the kingdom of God.
This is the divine word to get us doing the right thing. That was the word which came to Zerubbabel to give him encouragement in the work of building the temple (Ezra 5:1-2). When they have the divine word they could forge ahead, and not look back, in pursuit of the mandate of God. With a look into the mind of God, they could be assured of his backing and therefore will not allow anything to deter them.
The town David was staying was ransacked by a marauding military men carted away their children and wife and burned everything down (1Samuel 30). But when David sought the word of God, he was encouraged to pursue the enemy assured that he will have victory. And that was what happened. His effort was fuelled by the word of God, encouraging him on. It seemed bleak, but rather than yield to the negative emotion, as a result of a recent loss. It was easy for the situation to overwhelm David, but with the green light from God, he moved forward confidently and recovered all that was lost and much more.
The prophetic word of comfort gives the word of a better future. God spoke to Isaiah: comfort my people, speak comfortably to Israel that are warfare is ended and she shall have double for her sin, everything that has gone wrong (Isaiah 40:1-2). That means if her sorrows could be measured on a scale, the joy she will later experience will be double that. The word coming expressed the divine intension for a change of situation.
Three kings leading their armies got into trouble, where there was no water for them to drink and they were on the verge of being defeated, came to Prophet Elisha, who told them by the word of the Lord that they would dig ditches which would be supernaturally filled with water (2Kings 3:5-24). And what was supposed to be the end, was not. They gained a resounding victory by the word of the Lord.
A town came to Elisha Jericho to say that their water is bitter (2Kings 2:18-22). He said they should bring a bowl of salt which he poured in the source of the water, and the water was healed. They had consolation they had comfort, a reversal of fortune by the prophetic word.
With the prophetic word we gain a new perspective. There is nothing better than gaining the divine perspective, and the ultimate perspective is that of love. The bible says that if I have the gift of prophecy but have no love, I am nothing (1Corinthians 13). Love is the higher way and the prophet when he stands in the counsel of God gain his perspective and more accurately represent his heart.
A prophet is not to proclaim his own words. Thus God told Jeremiah: I have put my words in your mouth. Jeremiah will later write that the words of God are like fire shut up in his bones (Jeremiah 20:9). The word moved him to say things that he would not have thought of himself. He bore the heavenly words.
The people of God are supposed to be prophetic people. That was the desire of Moses in the wilderness (Numbers 11:29). Therefore he said to Joshua that rather than have the monopoly of the prophetic gift, he desire that the thousands and thousands of the people of Israel should be prophets.
That shows us the ultimate aim of the prophetic ministry (for which the ministry of Moses was a type). It is not to see things for people but to facilitate their seeing.
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