The world is getting louder. Our culture is becoming bolder. Shut our eyes as we might, it is no longer possible to honestly say that things are going to improve apart from a Holy Spirit initiated awakening in America. Let’s hold to a semblance of integrity and call things as they are: America is in trouble, and the voices of those who might rescue us are being muzzled everywhere. We need a fresh, new, committed crop of prophets to stand up and speak the truth.
“I raised up some of your sons for prophets, and some of your young men for Nazarites. Is it not indeed so, O people of Israel?” declares the LORD. “But you made the Nazarites drink wine, and commanded the prophets, saying, ‘You shall not prophesy.” – Amos 2:11-12
Our generation is in dire need of the ministry of the prophets. These unique individuals are seen in Scripture to be those who, without fear of people, boldly spoke God’s truth in a way which addressed the times in which they were living. These were no clever preachers who slowly handled a text, parsing each letter and unpacking the tense of verbs while doing ceaseless word studies. The prophet is a person of fire who first burns deeply within and then, with mouth wide open, the prophet proves to be a holy flame thrower in the hand of God. It is not that the prophets were mean-spirited or unnecessarily abrasive, it is that they are consumed on the inside with God’s revelation, and when it comes out from them it is true to its own nature, burning away the worthless while purifying what is gold. We need the prophets to return to the American church with voices that will not become dizzied at the noxious fumes of political correctness nor melt in a puddle at the heat of resistance or persecution from a culture that is addicted to lies. We need many Spirit-dispatched prophetic voices to help us remember who our God truly is – and it takes a prophet to yank off the moldy tarp of religion which has been draped over the holy throne of the glorious sovereign and secured there with the bungee cords of comfortable churchianity.
No more head-patting preachers, please. No more quests for nice, neat, tidy ministries where everything runs by the schedule and the quaint toasts are raised to God in our Sunday morning gatherings…at which gatherings the presence of God the Spirit Himself is not desired, lest He spoil the system. Prophets will tell us that we have prepared a feast in the honor of One whom we will not let in! Prophets will call us to question why we are doing what we do in the name of Jesus. Prophets will not allow us to continue to move in action without addressing the motives of our hearts. Prophets will call those kneeling in prayer to ask why they feel they must bow their bodies when their hearts remain stiff and unbroken – for prayer is not about our position but, rather, our disposition. Prophets will remind us how to be angry at the proper things. Those who have been raised up as prophets do not need to be pastors, missionaries, ordained ministers or publicly acknowledged pulpit possessors. For that matter they do not need to be male or adult. In Acts chapter two Peter declared that the outpouring of Pentecost inaugurated a new era which continues until this very moment wherein men and women, young and old, masters and servants would all be candidates for an anointing to proclaim what is true from God. Where are they today?
We have muted the prophets and the church is living off of dimming theological light which no longer carries the necessary heat of transformational proclamation. We have prayed for revival but planned quaint bible studies. We have yearned for an outpouring but have raised up our tiny thimbles to God and told Him that this amount will suffice. We have lamented our sons’ and daughters’ directions in life, but fed them with the wax fruit of the age. We need prophets to open our eyes to the incongruity of our lives. We need them now.
While you pray for the return of the prophets to our churches, consider that you may be one. Does a protest burn within you at what is wrong all around you? Does your own sin grieve you more than anything? Do you feel trapped in this land of unrighteousness, longing for the visible return of the King who will set things aright? Can you no longer bear to watch your generation sing the songs of the Lord without really caring if the Lord Himself shows up to hear those songs? While your children and grandchildren are being siphoned from the things of God into a world of images, texts, games and voyeuristic pursuits into the lives of others, do you find yourself churning inside as you wonder what will become of them and their generation when the hell of tribulation breaks forth on this planet? There is a famine of conversions in the land, an absence of deep roots and a barren desert in churches who are called to worship, live and serve in the fullness of the Spirit. Prophets are crying for God the Spirit to come and invade but, like Jesus outside the bolted door of Laodicea’s church (Rev. 3:20), the Holy Spirit is being verbally welcomed to observe our ministries as long as He does not interfere with our plans.
The prophets are being silenced.
But the prophets are still being stirred.
The prophets are being sent to us from God.
But the prophets are being shushed.
The prophets are still being strengthened to speak to us.
But the prophets are being shunned by us.
The prophets are still being stoked by the hand of God lest they go cold and dark.
But the prophets are being stigmatized by the very ones to whom they are sent.
Is there a prophet in the midst? The Church needs to recognize that voice, as sharp as the words may be. Without the prophets God’s people have always fallen into a state of being which God cannot bless. I believe the American Church needs the prophets today more than this nation ever has before. The worst thing that might happen to us is that God would no longer send us prophets. But if we will listen to them, He will keep sending them to us.
“…then they will know that a prophet has been among them.” – Ezekiel 33:3
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