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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Have you been called to be one of God's prophets? How can you tell?



Was Jeremiah a True Prophet?

The story of Jeremiah, who was called to be a prophet, contains several principles that can be applied to anyone who believes they have also been called by God, but are not certain if that be the case. One important point applicable to all who seek to serve is that God knew them before they were even a gleam in their daddy's eyes (see verse 5).

Another principle is that the prophet of God must go wherever God sends him and speak forth what He puts in their mouth, and not be afraid because God will always be with them and can also rescue them from any calamity (see verses 7 and 8). Thirdly, God not only provides the words a prophet is to speak, but He also choose the territory, which may be larger than they think (see verses 9 and 10). These messages He puts in their mouths were not intended for the church, but for kings and leaders. It is easy to criticize fellow disciples, but God's prophets were delivering His messages to the mighty, those who needed to hear God's word! When was the last time you heard any church leader or prophet proclaiming God's indignation to the President of the USA or any other country leader for committing sins against God?

Fourth, and equally important to remember is that God will be monitoring the prophet's assignment to see that the words He placed in their mouth are the same as He instructed them to speak to ensure they are specifically being fulfilled.

Before God's annointed prophets get ready to respond to the call and the specific mission He has given them, He tells them to "get themselves ready" to say exactly what He has commanded. As the great Bible comnentator of yesteryear, Matthew Henry, states about being ready, he reminds us: "Thou, therefore, gird up thy loins; free thyself from all those things that would unfit thee for or hinder thee in this service; buckle to it with readiness and resolution, and be not entangled with doubts about it.’’ He must be quick: Arise, and lose no time. He must be busy: Arise, and speak unto them in season, out of season. He must be bold!"

This part is difficult for many who assume that God has called them as a prophet. Difficult because, although they may have spent years upon years of (self-taught) Bible study or have been trained in a seminary, they believe they must speak forth their own knowledge of God rather than the specific word God wants them to deliver. God does not say, "Go forth ye, and show them how much you know about me, how knowledgable you are about (and have memorized all) my scriptures, what great intellect I have given you, and what great speaking and writing abilities I have blessed thee with." No! He tells the prophet to speak forth what He has placed in their mouth!! He also reminds us that being a prophet has nothing to do with "predictions" or foretelling their interpretations of Old Testament prophecies in attempts to apply them to their own views of unfolding contemporary history. Prophecy entails proclaiming the will of God, not making predictions of future events which only God knows what they are!!

Probably one of the most important message God gives the prophet is for each not to be afraid of those He sends them to, deliver His specific message, and if they do fear them, He will terrify them before their audience. He tells His prophets those to whom He has sent that they will fight them tooth and nail, but not to be afraid because even though He has given His prophets greater power than even they realize, He will not allow His detractors to overcome them, but will rescue each because He is with them.

Jeremiah 1:1-17

1 The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the priests at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin. 2 The word of the LORD came to him in the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah, 3 and through the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, down to the fifth month of the eleventh year of Zedekiah son of Josiah king of Judah, when the people of Jerusalem went into exile.

The Call of Jeremiah

4 The word of the LORD came to me, saying,
5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
6 “Ah, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.” 7 But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD.
9 Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “Now, I have put my words in your mouth. 10 See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”
11 The word of the LORD came to me: “What do you see, Jeremiah?”
“I see the branch of an almond tree,” I replied.
12 The LORD said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching[b] to see that my word is fulfilled.”
13 The word of the LORD came to me again: “What do you see?”
“I see a boiling pot, tilting away from the north,” I answered.
14 The LORD said to me, “From the north disaster will be poured out on all who live in the land. 15 I am about to summon all the peoples of the northern kingdoms,” declares the LORD.
“Their kings will come and set up their thrones
in the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem;
they will come against all her surrounding walls
and against all the towns of Judah.
16 I will pronounce my judgments on my people
because of their wickedness in forsaking me,
in burning incense to other gods
and in worshiping what their hands have made.
17 “Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them.
18 Today I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land—against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests and the people of the land.
19 They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD."

Bottom line, if you even have to ask the question whether you were called to be a Prophet, you were not called!!
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