Prophetic Utterance

Deuteronomy 18:15       Complete Jewish Bible 

ADONAI will raise up for you a prophet like me from among yourselves, from your own kinsmen. You are to pay attention to him.”

I have been looking at this verse for some time now. What do you think of it? One of my reactions to it goes back to yesterday’s verse. People are so easily offended these days that it makes the job of a pastor a challenge. How do you say what people need to hear if they so easily take offense?

I have also noticed a general sense of bringing everyone down to a uniform level. We don’t honor experts any longer. People with advanced degrees are not called by their honorific title. We act as though we know more than our doctors, lawyers and yes, even our prophets. That increases the difficulty for clergy to offer an “expert” opinion.

First, it is important that we take responsibility for our own lives as it relates to our health and our spiritual health. We should not rely on our medical doctors or our pastors solely. It is not because they are not competent. It’s just that we have the ultimate responsibility for our lives, including our health and spiritual growth. With that caveat out of the way, there is one other point one might make about this verse. We are in a different dispensation than those to whom Deuteronomy was first directed. None the less, this verse in in our Bible for a reason. God didn’t take it out when He made the Christian Bible. He didn’t relegate it to the Jews. Therefore, it must still have some meaning for us.

In this new dispensation, we are allowed and welcome to go into the Father’s presence for ourselves. You do not need me, or any other intermediary, in order for you to have a jolly good time in the presence of the Lord. You can walk with Him, talk with Him and spend your entire day with Him. I have heard it said that anyone with a computer and a search engine can become a Bible expert. I think that comment speaks directly to this issue of what makes a spiritual leader. “Professional” clergy are probably feeling frustrated and perhaps not very appreciated. They see uncredentialed people teaching and there is some push back. My question is, how has that changed? Sure, technology is a major asset, but couldn’t you say of the old days, “Anyone with a Bible can be an expert.”

So, who should you listen to? Perhaps no one other than yourself? Afterall, you have admittance to the throne room. “As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him,” (1 John 2: 27). John recognizes the Spirit within you and your own access to God’s wisdom. However, look at this comment from Hebrews 5: 12, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.” You are not babies, but truth be told, we all have need of learning and guidance.

Well, I have done the typical lawyer thing to you. I have argued both sides of the issue. Now, I would like to give you my thoughts on the matter. I think there is only one credential which makes someone worthy to be your teacher. It is the beginning of today’s verse, “ADONAI will raise up for you a prophet.” Only God makes a person qualified as a teacher. I don’t think having a seminary degree or an advanced degree in theology qualifies a person to be a spiritual leader, teacher or advisor and I most certainly do not think anyone should call themselves a prophet unless Yahweh, Himself, has appointed and anointed them to that role.

My greater concern is this, it’s that we wouldn’t recognize a prophet if one fell on us and further, we wouldn’t know what to do with them. I do believe God is still giving us spiritual leaders and that we are well advised to follow them, even if we don’t always agree with them, perhaps especially when we don’t agree. My concern is that we get wrapped up in the world around us and do not listen to the teachers and prophets God is sending us. Even preachers are fools, to my way of thinking, if they don’t receive teaching from other anointed preachers. I have seen ministers who only take their own counsel and, unfortunately, some of them don’t last when that happens. It can be very tragic. I don’t want that for you.

Has God dropped some prophets into your society? How about into your life? I bet He has. Sure, use your discernment regarding whose counsel you receive, but don’t be your own preacher. Go to God in your own time, definitely. Get wise counsel from Him directly. You are entitled to that and He wants the Holy Spirit to be your teacher. But, don’t discount that God is raising up prophets in this day and time and we are supposed to pay attention to them.

Milk or Meat?

Hebrews 5: 12

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.

It is so easy to end up right here, still requiring the milk of the Word instead of the meat. In fact, sometimes it is comfortable. It is a place of little responsibility. Someone else has the responsibility of feeding us. Our job is to listen. We want people to sit under teaching ministries and absorb all they can. However, there comes a time when each of us must arise and put all of it into use. We must pursue maturity even as we continue to absorb the teachings of those who have gone before us.

Eventually, too, we should graduate to meat from milk. Why are our teachers still having to teach kindergarten? The writer of Hebrews says by this time we ought to be teaching and yet we are still suckling. It’s time to step up and grow up.

No one wants a 40 year old baby, not even our teachers. Of course, in the body of Christ there is no age specific parameter. Rather, we all begin knowing very little and grow in our knowledge and wisdom. After a while, though, we ought to be able to stand on our feet and walk. We no longer need someone to hold our hands every step of the way. We always have our elders for those issues which are outside our experience or knowledge but we ought to come to a place where we can handle the milk of the Word with grace.

This is not a call to arrogance or independence. It is encouragement to grow to the full maturity of the Word in Jesus, our Christ. It is time for some of us to stand up and use what we have been given. I believe in soaking in the Word and in teaching but I also believe in doing what we know to do without being coached day in and day out. As long as we stay babies, we have an excuse but God is calling us into maturity, where “I didn’t know,” will no longer suffice. Grow into your full stature while remaining humble and subject to instruction for it is not maturity if you cannot still receive instruction. That is called arrogance and it is dangerous. Rise up and be who you are destined to be. Quit playing at being a Christian and instead put on the full mantle of God in Christ Jesus.