“For the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.” There is something about our Sovereign God in that He loves to use His people. He loves to speak to us. In yesterday’s reading you will have doubtless caught the prophecy Peter referred to in his Pentecost sermon – “your sons and daughters will prophesy.” It’s our birthright as New Covenant Christians to be able to hear God for ourselves in His Word as the Spirit speaks through our reading and pondering and through the charismatic gifts of prophecy, dreams, visions and so on.
It was always that way. God wanted to reveal His plans to Abraham concerning Sodom and Gomorrah in Gen 18:17. The Lord spoke to Moses in a greater way than any other Old Testament prophet (Numbers 12:6-8). John the Baptist was the greatest Old Covenant prophet – the last forerunner of Christ (Matt 11:11) The difference between the Old Covenant is the quantity of Spirit filled believers! In the Old Testament, there are something like 150 Spirit filled people, in the New Covenant all can be filled and prophecy.
Amos reveals that the Lord speaks to prophetic people before acting. But prophecy in the Old and New Testament times needs weighing. This morning I also read Nicky Gumbel’s BiOY plan and the Old Testament reading was 1 Kings 22, where most of the prophets were getting it wrong, because a lying sprit had enticed them. In 1 Cor 14 we learn that all prophecy needs “careful weighing” – the good taken on board and the bad thrown out. Does it line up with Scripture? The heart of God? Does it glorify Jesus and bring peace? What about the character of the bringer? All these are good tests to apply to any prophetic word. Interestingly the bulk of Old Testament prophecy is negative in nature, whereas New Covenant prophecy is given to encourage, strengthen and build up believers and convict unbelievers of their sin (1 Cor 14). So we can add those to the questions we ask of a prophetic word – does it give courage? Does it strengthen? Does it build up believers?
Why not spend some time listening to God today and see what He shows you – a Scripture that jumps out, a word, a picture (which of cause is a still image of a vision!)