One of the major aspects of prophetic ministry is not so much calling God’s people or even society to repentance, neither is it about prophetic utterance concerning the future, or even the heart-warming emotional aspect of an invitation to intimacy with God.
It’s about trust. God loves to be trusted.
To trust God, is make him the object of our dependence and demonstrates obedience to the command to avoid idolatry (Exodus 20:4) In our modern-day approach to life this it is very easy for us be caught up in the tension of trusting God, whilst also applying common sense. We value common sense, usually equating it with wisdom.
At the end of days, God is never going to tell reprimand anyone saying, “you put too much emphasis on trusting me!”
Horses – really?
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. (Ps 20:7) If you have an army then horses and chariots makes for good sense, but David realised that although he needed these things, the object of his trust was to be God. Moses urged the Israelites, to avert their gaze from being overly concerned about an enemy that ‘seemed’ well prepared with practical resources and strategy, which basically implied, “don’t do this yourself – keep your focus always on God, trust Him!”
“When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you.(Deuteronomy 20:1)
Moses was not at all encouraging them to look for more resources, people, weapons, stuff. In contrast, Sun Tzu, the world-famous Chinese general, military strategist, and alleged author of “The Art of War” would have got it totally wrong.
The extent to which we all need to trust God is a level playing field despite the fact that some people feel they need to trust God, and others who through reason of trial or circumstance have to trust God. No, our circumstance, unbeknown to us is that at all times, we are heavily dependant on Him, and need to actively assert our trust in Him.
“God helps those who help themselves”, is not in the bible. He does help those who can’t help themselves though…
When it comes to faith, there are two dynamic issues; you cannot out-give God and neither can you out-trust God, that is you can never trust God more than you should have.
Prophetic ministry at its core points the entire church to the imperative of trusting God because if our hearts are locked into trusting God, all the other issues in life that keep us away from God or that hinder or frustrate our walk will be affected.
You can never trust God too much – He provides everything we have in life, and as our Father is committed to us in a way that is beyond our comprehension. He is a good God that does not merely tolerate us, but is with us and for us, despite our inconsistency, failure and proneness to wander.
God is not only trustworthy but he Has never been less trustworthy or more. His character means we can, should and by His grace put all our trust and confidence in Him. He can’t be better than He is!
Let me close by saying that the Old Testament uses seven words when it speaks of “Trust”. They are important to us because as you consider them collectively you begin to realise that what is implied in the word, ‘trust’ is actually ‘faith’.
Why is this such an important factor in prophetic ministry?
We need to remind one another regularly not so much to keep faith (although that is necessary), but to hold on to an emphasis on the grace of God. We have not been saved and set on our way, but we have become disciples. Our path is one of learning, evaluating, investigating and discovering not just who we are (an over-emphasis of an individualistic self-absorbed culture), but more importantly who God is.
What does it really mean to be in Christ? What is God’s agenda with us, and can He be trusted? If God can be trusted where does personal responsibility come in? There are lots of questions that can be raised, but the starting point has to be, let’s put our full trust in God, and then work out practicalities later as we discern the leading of the Spirit, and understand the counsel of the Word of God (not necessarily in that order!).
Where do we find a good example of just what it means to trust God explicitly? No points for guessing, it’s Jesus. Other humans in history inspire us, motivate us, challenge us. Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Isaiah, even John the Baptist can be inspirational to us, but each one of them needed a saviour to save them from their sin. Their sin separated them from God. So, it’s Jesus we turn to for our great example. And what an example.
Jesus knew there was nothing about the Father (about Himself) that He did not, would not, could not trust.
Jesus knew who the Father was. John 2:23-25 tells us that “He would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.” He knew, and there was nothing about the Father (about Himself) that He did not trust. There was never a time when He asked the Father about going to the Cross and dying for mankind that he questioned the purpose of the Father, or His power to raise Him from the dead, or even His willingness to do it. His ‘out-loud’ prayer revealed that He knew the Father always heard Him, and that He always did the things that please Him. Always. Said with confidence and with conviction.
There was One that could be trusted, and Jesus put His life in His hands.
That’s where prophets come in. Encouraging the Church not to talk about themselves, or their value, potential. The message of the Cross is not to make much of man, but that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. It is about Him, bringing a people back for Himself. All the glory that the Church has, belongs to Christ. Prophets proclaiming an impassioned call for the Church to emphatically put their trust in Christ wield a very sharp sword. It cuts off disillusionment, despair, despondency and brings hope, faith and courage.
Proverbs 3:5 has to be the national anthem for the Church across the world; “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”
A trinity of words!
It is a shame that there is not a collective word for the expression of this encouragement, but there seems to be a trinity of words, none of which will exist outside of the other; faith, trust, obedience. Of course, it is a given that you realise that in English, the bible uses the words ‘faith’ and ‘believe’ interchangeably – they are both the same word in Greek. So, believing, trusting and obeying all work together.
You won’t always get what you ask for in prayer, but you will be rewarded for those three elements because having faith means trusting, and that trusting can never happen outside of obedience.
Much to think about!
So, here are the seven words used to speak of trust. I will leave you to muse over them, but my guess is you will have moved on before you have had three more breaths! But do keep trusting, encourage others to keep trusting, ask God to help you trust Him, and dare to trust Him more than you ever have. He is faithful, kind, merciful, loving, compassionate, loyal and whilst He and others, do not always trust you – you can always trust Him!
- Hasah a verb meaning to seek, to take refuge, like the shade of a tree. It is used particurly of the Lord. He is our shield providing refuge.
- batah confidence, it expresses the feeling of security that is felt when one can rely on someone else.
- aman to build up, to nurture, primarily providing security, like a baby in the arms of a parent.
- mibtah to trust , to be confident, it refers to the person of thing in which one puts their trust.
- yahal to wait with hope.
- hul to whirl, to shake, to writhe, it it used to describe an anxious waiting, to describe labor pains, it also implies God’s creative work.
- mahseh a noun designating refuge or shelter, it indicates the place of safety and protection.