“But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy…” (Acts 2:16-17a)
“Then the Lord said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.” (Jeremiah 14:14)
That’s pretty serious. And it has nothing to do with “that which was spoken by the prophet Joel.” Not sure if anything like that is going on in the world today, I wouldn’t doubt it though. In Jeremiah’s time, when things were a lot rawer, it seems, than they are now, God called it like He saw it. The prophets, who, presumably were at one time right with God, had gotten so far off base that they had slipped in their inward vision of God. The gift with which they’d been blessed for the betterment of the people had been hijacked and was being used to spill lies to the rest of society. This, I think, is one of the reasons (and rightfully so) why you don’t encounter the spiritual gifts in operation like they were either in Old Testament times or in the Christian church during the time of Paul. Because we’re afraid of letting in something that is deceptive and clearly not from Heaven. I mean, if it wasn’t from God’s heart and mind, from where else could it have sprung? God says “a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.” So here it looks like it was colored by their own carnal nature. But spiritual emanations and utterances are from one camp or another. White or black.
The events of the Old Testament speak to the deep level of what’s always been going on in God’s program. This is why it’s good to trudge through them. They may be dry but there’s more going on than we know. The overarching and underlying themes will the Holy Spirit tag and intimate to your memory when you find yourself going through a similar situation. The time, place and epoch are altogether different–radically so. But the main ingredients are the same. God, the devil, people. Lies, truth, etc. Let the Holy Spirit show you what’s what.
“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.” (Hebrews 2:1)
Consider this image that Jesus gives us. “And they answered and said unto Him, Where, Lord? And He said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.” (Luke 17:37) He’s talking about the Second Coming. Arguably the most intense event to happen in millenia. Where the spiritual will break through the physical leaving no reason for questioning the validity or existence of anything spiritual at all. Rewind a bit to what He’s saying though and think about what an eagle is made for. To soar. Its vision is perfect. It can stare into the sun. Yet what are they doing? They’re hanging around the body–“the carcase” as it’s translated in Mark’s gospel (24:28). Presumably He’s referring to His own, I’m not sure. What I see it symbolising is those who have endeavored to lay down their gifts and brood over Jesus. To ensure that, in spite of the radically awesome nature of the gift of flight and vision and tenacity, they remain “pressed in” to Jesus. Because, cliched as it may sound, He’s where “it’s at”. And so, from that, to this:
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
“For the Lord spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying, Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. Sanctify the Lord of hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.” (Isaiah 8:11-13)
I’m not seeking to put the kibosh on prophecy (or any of the spiritual gifts: tongues, healing, visions/dreams, etc.). What I am seeking to express is the utmost importance of receiving one’s validation, not from the gifts, but from Jesus Himself. Yes, “A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.” (Proverbs 18:17) This is a maxim. And so we have the next verse: “He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him.” God gives the gift and it’ll happen of it’s own accord. Your gift, whatever it may be, will work. But the only way it’ll work as it was intended is for you to stay focused on Jesus. Look into the sun. You can do it, you have that ability as one of God’s kids. And He’ll be sure and shine through your gift to bless the body of Christ.
And thank God we have each other to keep us on the straight and narrow.