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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