MOTIVATION Ashley Thaba
Two weeks ago, we began a mini-series on the topic of hearing from God.
So many people claim to speak and know the will of God.
Many of them tell you what God’s will is for you, especially in the form of prophecies.
How do we know who to trust? In the first week, we did an overview.
Last week, we delved a bit deeper and discussed how to discern prophecy in order to know if it is true.
This week, we are going to discuss contents in a prophecy.
By analysing the actual messages, we might find a clue as to whether these messages are in line with the Word of God, which will help us know if the prophecy is, indeed, from God.
First of all, let me start by saying prophecy is real!
It is an extraordinary gift where our omniscient God reveals a message He wants to speak through a person.
The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21: “Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.”
There are certainly prophecies. But just because someone says they heard a voice from God, surely, doesn’t mean they did.
Throughout the entire Bible, there have been false prophets. We certainly have our share around us today.
So, how do we discern the difference between real and false prophets? Make sure the content goes in line with the gospel message.
The gospel message is that we are sinners in need of a saviour.
The gospel message is that though we live in a world that is full of sickness, pain, greed and jealousy, among other, a loving mediator named Jesus can intercede for us and secure us a “ticket” into an eternal place where there will be no more pain, tears and selfishness.
Once we understand that our greatest freedom is found in not focusing on self, our fleshly desires and that this world around us is fading away, we will begin to realise that God’s main desire is for us to focus on Him and eternity.
Often, people receive prophecies claiming that God’s main plan for us is to be wealthy, but the New Testament tells a different story, describing how He desires for us to be holy more than he desires for us to be rich.
His main desire is for us to walk in humility, not in recognised earthly power and prestige.
We know this when we look at his own son who was despised, rejected and didn’t even have a place to lay his head and told his disciples to go out with only the clothes on their back. Being rich is not wrong. Scripture. however. says over and above that, we cannot love God and money.
We will either love one or the other, but not both (Matthew 6:24).
The Bible admonishes us not to store up for ourselves treasures on earth (Matthew 6:19-20). Hebrews 13:5 challenges us to keep our lives free from the love of money.
There are countless verses where God encourages us to keep our focus on Him and not on material blessings, which are here today and gone tomorrow (1 Timothy 6:10, Matthew 6:21, Ecclesiastes 5:10, Matthew 19:21, Matthew 6:24, Matthew 21:12-13, Matthew 6:1-4, Acts 8:20, Luke 16:13-15, 1 Peter 5:2-3)
Still analysing the content of prophetic messages, let’s look at another verse ; 2 Timothy 4: 3-4: “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”
Are these messages always the messages that people want to hear? Real prophecy is God’s voice and God is one who knows our souls and hearts. He sees who we really are! When He speaks, whether through a prophet or His word, Hebrews 4:12 says God’s word is living and active and judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
2 Timothy 3:16 says all scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realise what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
It would make sense that if a person is truly speaking God’s prophetic word, that it would at times shine a light on our sin and the need to surrender our natural desires as opposed to always being a prophetic message promising some type of material blessing. The biggest blessing God gives us is a life filled with the Spirit! The fruit of the Spirit gives us priceless gifts of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. And the only way, according to Galatians 5, is not to walk in the flesh (focusing on our fleshly desires).
God is much more concerned about you being prepared for eternity than making your bank account bigger today. In fact, God says your life is, but a mist! You are here today and gone tomorrow, so honestly, do you really think that if God is going to speak through a prophet, His main concern to you would be about material gain? If a prophet’s primary message is one that leads you to think about material blessings and earthly success, then one has to wonder why. It contradicts the words of Jesus. When a man ask him and not God, that would be completely wrong as Jesus says for you to “sell all you have and follow me”. (Matthew 19:21).
Is the prophet saying what people want to hear or is he/she is saying what God is leading him/her to say? That, now, is for you to discern, pray and decide on. Remember, 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21: “Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.”