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Chapter 6

A Prophetic People

Judges 5:15

And the princes of Issachar were with Deborah; as Issachar, so was Barak sent into the valley under his command; among the divisions of Reuben there were great resolves of heart.

The sons of Issachar were working with the prophetess Deborah (Judges 4:4). She was the leader, judge and prophetess of Israel during this time. In partnering and working together with her, the sons of Issachar were involved in her prophetic ministry. They became a prophetic people. Great prophetic anointing and power were released. Their enemies were outwitted and defeated. God gave them victory.

This prophetic legacy of the sons of Issachar was evident throughout the ages as they faithfully passed on from generation to generation. They were strong in the grace and anointing of the LORD. And they were great disciple-makers. Whatever things they had learnt from the LORD, they were able to commit them to faithful men who would be able to teach others also.

Do you know that God desires that all of us are prophets? In Numbers 11:29, Moses said, ""Are you zealous for my sake? Oh, that all the LORD'S people were prophets and that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!" Moses desired that the LORD would put His Spirit upon all His people so that all of them would be His prophets!

Prophets hear directly from God and become His mouthpiece as they speak forth His Word to the people concerned. Prophets are not those who chase after the prophecies of others, nor are they constantly seeking after other prophets.

True prophets seek God! They can be in the company of other prophets as they seek God together. They are sensitive to hearing the voice of the Lord through reading the Word, prayer and intercession, praise and worship, dreams and visions, and times of intimate walking and talking with the Lord along the paths of life.

The Apostle Paul gave us this exhortation in 1 Corinthians 14:1, 39-40: "Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy…Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order."

All children of God are encouraged to prophesy. We are to seek earnestly this spiritual gift. God desires to give it to us! But we must ask Him for it! We have not because we ask not! This art of hearing God requires an undivided heart so that we can give Him full attention when He speaks to us. God is always speaking to us. But the problem is that we are not hearing Him.

In John 12:28-29, we have this account of the Father speaking to His Son: ""Father, glorify Your name." Then a voice came from heaven, saying, "I have both glorified it and will glorify it again." Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, "An angel has spoken to Him.""

There were those who heard the sound but did not receive the message. They only knew that it was thundering loud! There were those who heard the message but they were not able to distinguish the source. They thought it was the voice of an angel. They did not know the voice of their Heavenly Father! But John, the author of this gospel account, heard the message, and he also knew the Source! It was the Father speaking to His Son about glorifying His name!

Hearing God demands our obedience. Our hearts are deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). We are disobedient by our own sinful nature. We often filter off what we do not want to hear and retain what we want to hear. We follow after our heart’s desires and not His desires.

We need to learn and develop this art of hearing God. Only then, we will begin to hear His voice more easily and accurately as the days go by. Hearing God requires our spiritual ears to be sensitive and attentive to His voice. When we disobey Him on one given prophetic message, our ears may become hardened.

To hear God clearly requires pure hearts and clean hands. The pure in heart will see God (Matthew 5:8). They will hear God too. But those hands that are stained with sins and disobedience will build walls that separate them from God. If we regard iniquity in our hearts, the Lord will not hear us (Psalm 66:18). And we will not be able to hear God clearly.

Some of us have closed ears (Acts 28:27). Our hearts have grown dull. Our ears are hard of hearing, and our eyes are closed. We become weary after hearing too much. All inputs and no outputs will eventually become a Dead Sea! Too much prophetic words without proper actions taken will result in spiritual gossips.

When we hear God, we need to do what He says. What is the use of prophetic words if they are not faithfully carried out? God does not give us messages to make us feel spiritually high and heavenly good. All the prophets in the Bible lived out the Word they prophesied! Each of the messengers bore the messages with their own lives! They became His living epistles!

Some of us have itching ears (2 Tim 4:3-4). We will not endure sound doctrine, but according to our own desires, we will heap up for ourselves teachers. We will turn our ears away from the truth, and sway aside to fables. Always seeking new revelations, dreams and visions but never work on those already being revealed, interpreted and envisioned. Always wandering from one church to another church; one teacher to another teacher; and one prophet to another prophet.

Some of us have spiritual ears, and we are hearing God and what the Spirit is saying to us! The Book of Revelation is a book containing the seven letters to the seven churches. In Revelation 1:11, the LORD spoke this to John, "What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea."

All the seven letters was written in one book. And this one book was sent to the seven churches. Each of the seven churches received the book containing all the seven messages. Besides their own letters, they got to read the contents of the letters to the other churches too. Each of the seven messages, exhortations, rebukes and rewards were different in each of the seven churches.

We need to hear what the Spirit is saying to us and also to others. The best way to learn is through the mistakes of others so that we will not commit them ourselves! Some mistakes are best not to be committed. The pains can be prolonged, intense and extensive. All the seven messages are written in one book so that we can encourage, edify and exhort one another in love.

Some of the prophetic words are for the general public; some of the prophetic words are for a targeted audience; and some of the prophetic words are for just one particular individual. But every word of prophecy should be tested. The Apostle Paul gave us this godly counsel (1Thes 5:19-22):

  • Do not quench the Spirit.
  • Do not despise prophecies.
  • Test all things; hold fast what is good.
  • Abstain from every form of evil.

The beloved disciple of Christ, John, also gave us this advice (1 John 4:1): "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world."

Always test every word of prophecy with the Word of God, the Holy Bible! Always test the spirit of the prophet with the Spirit of God in us. The message includes the attitude, the behaviour, the tone and the life. Does the life bear the message? Is the messenger also the message?

God is raising up a prophetic people who will hear Him directly. He is fine-tuning us with His Word and His Spirit. Unless we know the Word of God, we do not have anything to test any word of prophecy. We also may not give a prophetic word according to His Word. His Word is our light and our guide.

God has given us His Holy Spirit. Besides enabling and empowering us to live the Christian life, He is also our beloved Teacher. Unless we have the Holy Spirit in us, we will not be able to discern false prophets and spirits. We also will not be able to test our own spirit operating in us when we give the prophetic word. We can easily deceive our own selves.

As sons of Issachar, we are to be accurate and reliable. We know the Word of God ourselves. We have integrity as our lives are living epistles for others to read. Our hearts are totally committed to God. We will fulfill the vision and purpose that God has called us to be. Our giftings and anointings are being developed over the years. And we will faithfully pass them on from generation to generation.

God is raising up us to be His prophetic people. He is perfecting us to live the life according to His Word. We will trust and obey Him. Every prophetic word from Him is proclaimed and faithfully carried out. No halfway abandonment for comfort and no giving up for the lack of faith and strength. The LORD Who gives us the prophetic word is faithful, He also will do it. He will bring it to pass! Every word that He sent will fulfill His purpose!

This is His promise in Isaiah 55:11: "So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it."

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