Moses just finished telling the people not to consult Sooth Sayers or Mediums to know about what was to come. Instead they were to listen to the Prophets God would raise up for them. He would speak through them just as He did through Moses.
There is a spiritual war going on. Last time we were together we recognized the fact that there are two forces in this battle. God and Satan. We KNOW which is the stronger force but we also know that God has given Satan permission to “do his worst” for the time being. This WILL come to an end and there will be a final reckoning afterwards.
Satan speaks through those “who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer of a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead” (list from verse 12b). These practitioners receive their information from the realm of Satan and he uses them to deceive MANY.
God choose to speak to Israel through prophets. We will be walking through many of He spoke through them later on. Moses was the first recognized prophet of this long line. The people asked God to speak through him instead of directly to them because they were afraid. I can’t say as I blame them for their fear. Seeing the mountain burning with fire but not being consumed and hearing a voice out of it would probably scare almost everyone. Moses was used to God’s demonstrations of power by that time as He started speaking to him in the burning bush. A little smaller scale but also VERY awe inspiring!
God promised that these prophets would also be from among the people. He wasn’t going to bring in outsiders to give Israel His instructions. God gave the people the litmus test for prophets. “And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the Lord has not spoken?’—when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken” (verses 21-22a).
There were PLENTY of false prophets who would rise up during Israel’s history. It seems like the ungodly kings were surrounded with false prophets. Their intent was to make the king happy by telling him what he wanted to hear so he could go on with his own plans instead of standing up for what the Lord had to say. We will get to read many of these accounts as we keep moving through the scriptures.
Something that interests me is that these prophets were to be proven over time. Isaiah, Daniel, and Jeremiah were all prophets but many of their prophecies didn’t come to pass in their own lifetime. We are still waiting on some of Daniel’s prophecies to be completed. But they made enough prophecies in God’s name that DID happen right away that their credibility for speaking in His name wasn’t disputed. Much of what they said was unpopular and the people, including those in authority, refused to heed their warnings. I would not be surprised to learn that even those who refused to heed God’s words through these prophets in fact believed them in their hearts anyway but simply refused to accept them because they went against what they wanted to hear.
God still keeps prophecy “in the family” when He speaks through people. His family has expanded though and includes ALL those who come to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 12 that the Holy Spirit gives many gifts to the believers, one of which is the gift of prophecy. We are to use the same litmus test that He gave to Israel to know if what is being shared is of His Spirit or not.
Step one for us is “does it line up with God’s word?” ANY prophecy that goes against God’s word is NOT from Him and should be thrown as far away as possible! Prophecies in Israel had to line up with God’s Law to be even considered as coming from Him.
Step two is to prayerfully judge the heart of the person. God uses His children to convey His message. OCCASIONALLY He might speak through another source, as He did with Balaam but that is not His preferred route. If the person giving the prophecy habitually acts in a manner that you KNOW is against God’s word, be VERY wary of believing what they say.
Step three is to watch the history of prophecies from this person. If what they share from the Lord comes to pass on a regular basis, then you can trust He is speaking through them. BUT I would be wary of “general declarations” that could be interpreted in a hundred different ways. Nostradamus like proclamations are up to the interpreter to determine what they truly mean. A history of specific words from God with tangible proof lends credibility to the messenger.
Step four is to pray about any prophecy you receive that applies to you personally. I have noticed that God has a habit of confirming His word by sending more than one person with His message. Often that “Person” is the Holy Spirit who speaks to us for Him. Ask Him. There is NO ONE closer to God than His Spirit and His Son. He can confirm the Father’s words if you will listen.
Father God, thank You that You continue to speak into my life. I don’t often hear words of prophecy spoken over me personally but the words that You spoke through Your prophets about my future are as sure for me as the sun rising in the morning. Whether I see it or not, it happens! Whether I believe it will or not doesn’t change the facts. You said it and that’s all I need to know. That is why I can trust the prophecies Daniel and John shared. You proved these men faithful to Your words and true prophets. I may not understand every nuance of what they are sharing but the bottom line is that Jesus is coming back for me to take me home. THAT’S all I need to know. You will work the rest of it out in Your own way and time.
As far as prophecies given today, You know the skeptic in me. There are some that I wonder if “maybe” I should heed and others I KNOW to run away from. The ones that try and predict a day or time of Jesus’ return are the ones I run fastest from. Not even Jesus or the angels know the hour or day. NO WAY You would tell a man something You keep hidden from Your own Son. ANYONE who shares these sorts of predictions and claims they are fact will NEVER be listened to by me, on ANY subject! I don’t care if they say the sky is blue. I will require personal proof before accepting their word for it.
But don’t let me get so skeptical of others that I miss something You really want to share with me. Send me word through more than one avenue and especially through Your Holy Spirit. Let me hear You voice so clearly that NO other voice can mislead me. This little sheep wants to hear her Shepherd’s voice and not fall for any other. Teach me daily to listen Lord.