Do prophets prophesy at will?

announce1-1-150x150RT Kendall says of the prophetic ministry, ‘You can’t turn it on, and you can’t turn it off!’

But can prophets prophesy at will? It’s a good question and one that deserves some consideration.

The prophets were raised to positions of extraordinary privilege and dignity as the personal agents of the very words of the Lord. The Lord himself used Moses and Aaron as figures of the true. Moses urged his hesitant speech as a reason why he should not go to Egypt, and the Lord graciously condescended to this acknowledged deficiency by providing Aaron as the spokesman, but this is the way he put it: ‘He, for his part, will be a mouth for you and, as for you, you will be God to him’ (Ex 4:16, lit).

In other words, it is the part of God to give the words; it is the part of the prophet to speak them.

Yet prophets were never masters of the word but always its, and the Lord’s servants. The Lord was their master in that they could not, so to speak, turn on the word at will like a tap.  No technique was put at their disposal whereby they could command a word; they could only wait until a word was given.

When the word was given, it became their master. Micaiah the son of Imlah when urged to do himself a favour by conforming his word to popular whim, replied, ‘what the Lord says to me, that is what I will speak’ (1 Kings 22:14, lit) – a commitment not of arrogance but of subservience.

The word is the master of the mouthpiece. Jeremiah, out of distaste for his prophetic work and message, tried silence only to find that  ‘it is in my heart like a fire burning, shut away in my bones, and I am tired of holding it in, indeed I am not able’ (Jer 20:9 Lit).

I’m aware that in the ‘professional’ prophetic culture that faces us in these days, that this topic is not a welcome one, but we must always stray towards what the Bible says and not use circumstance to create a doctrinal stance.

Speaking what God has already revealed to us in the past at the ‘right’ time, is a matter of maturity and wisdom, but God is the author of revelation, and we in honesty, can only speak when He reveals or discloses himself to us, not as and when we want.

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2 thoughts on “Do prophets prophesy at will?

  1. spot on as ever Jon
    I am amazed how God plants stuff in us to be brought forth in due time.
    You comment that the speaking out of these things in down to maturity and wisdom but I would contend that this is true only in part.
    Often, for me, the due time becomes apparent as it bubbles up within me like pressure within a geyser.
    Keep on keeping on.
    g

  2. Jon

    Great word, as usual.

    I do want to ‘add unto’ what you have said, as a humble servant woman who God touches with His very own words… as He sees fit…

    I totally agree with all that you have written and I wish to offer another, an added dimension, to it. It is that “Prophecy” (notice I did not say ‘prophets”) in NT times and in the present milieu is the Spirit of God living IN men rather than resting upon men.

    And, to me, this is the change and the difference:

    Because I have the abiding and indwelling of Holy Spirit, and because I have been brought nigh by the Blood of Jesus–I have an ongoing, cumulative Testimony.

    My Testimony Prophesies! As does yours for certain!

    And, that Testimony can be called up at will.

    OH! I must say that in using the word “Testimony” I mean a telling of what the Lord Jesus is doing in and through my life and spirit PRESENTLY. (rather than an old recounting of my conversion experience.)

    What say you?

    And how are you, by the way!

    Love and Jesus!

    Kelly Deppen

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