J. LEE GRADY on TRUE PROPHETS
My heart cries out for the American church to stop muddling,
muffling, cheapening, distorting and merchandising the pure
gospel. How we need to return to the simplicity of evangelism that
cuts to the heart, produces repentance and reveals the Son of God.
For several months I’ve been asking the Lord to make me his
trumpet. In my quest He’s shown me some of the qualities that
shaped biblical prophets into His mouthpieces. I pray all of us will
adopt these same characteristics.
1. A prophet is bold. True prophets have steel backbones and
foreheads of flint. They do not cower when the majority disagrees
with them. Like the apostle Paul, they are compelled to preach
because a holy restlessness churns inside them. They are
possessed by God, and they must release the fire inside. Will you
pray for this boldness and say with Isaiah, “Here am I, send me”
(Is. 6:8, NASB)—even when you know you will be opposed?
2. A prophet stays biblical. So much of what is passed off as
prophecy today resembles what you might find in a daily
horoscope. The so-called “prophetic movement” in the contemporary
church has been tainted by silly fads and charismatic witchcraft.
One prophetic e-mail list sent out a word recently saying that
dormant angels were being awakened out of the walls of our
churches. (That’s not remotely scriptural.) Another predicted that
God would begin to speak to people through the names of candy
bars and blue jeans.
So much of our prophetic verbiage sounds like warm and fuzzy
fortunetelling. This type of “imitation prophecy” can titillate and
thrill those with itching ears, but it is pablum designed for babies
who don’t want to grow up. What we need is a word we can sink
our teeth into—true meat that is the Word of God.
3. A prophet does not compromise. Nathan was willing to confront
King David’s sin, even though the prophet was on the palace
payroll. Yet today, we practice the “you scratch my back, I’ll
scratch yours” rule. We prophesy what people want to hear so we
can get an honorarium and an invitation to return. This has caused
some whole groups of prophets to collectively follow each other
into a ditch.
Beware of the herd mentality! Don’t just swallow and follow! You
cannot go along with something just because everyone else is
doing it or preaching it. Stay close to the Lord, develop keen
discernment and listen to the nagging voice of your conscience.
4. A prophet is compassionate. Some prophets today refuse to
confront because they are too nice. Others speak rashly “like the
thrusts of a sword” (see Prov. 12:18) and their words are delivered
with a bitter, vindictive spirit. Neither of these prophets will receive
his reward. We must speak the truth, and we must do it in love.
Most people think Jeremiah was angry and judgmental, but
actually he wept when he confronted Israel’s sins. It is not enough
to prophesy the Lord’s word—we should aim to speak with His
tone of voice. We must be willing to intercede for and identify with
those we confront.
5. A prophet stays pure. When Moses made the tabernacle, God
told him to make silver trumpets that were “hammered work” (Num.
10:2). If we want to speak for Him, we must be willing to endure
the smelting process. (In other words, prepare to be hammered!)
Before Isaiah could be an effective prophet to his nation, his lips
had to touch burning coals from God’s altar (see Is. 6:6-8). We
must be willing to visit the uncomfortable furnace of sanctification.
God is not so much interested in the booming voice, the rousing
delivery, the charisma or the technological savvy that we expect
today from celebrity preachers. What matters most is pure content,
and that can only flow through a pure vessel.
6. A prophet faithfully embraces the call. Jonah tried to flee as far
as possible from Nineveh, but the God of the second chance used
a strange vessel to get the prophet back on course. It involved a
visit to a fish’s stomach, where Jonah spent three days in
darkness, stewing in digestive juices. When the fish vomited him
on land, he was better prepared to speak heaven’s words.
~From “Becoming a Trumpet of the Lord” – http://fireinmybones.com