I don’t have much understanding of prophets. They are far too mystical for me to understand. Most of the time, I think of crystal balls, tarot cards and Ouija boards. In our culture, these things are shrouded in secrecy and darkness. There are at least two reasons I do not go near them or the people that interpret them. The first is skepticism. What makes them so important that they can see the future? If I could get over my skepticism, I would be confronted with fear. You see, when our future is predicted, our sense of control disappears. We must endure the future without choices. I have to consider the pain and suffering that will come along with it. It’s hopeless. I want nothing to do with it!
My definition of prophets helps me. Wait a minute. Maybe that’s not the right way to say it. My perspective of prophets might be preventing me from fully realizing my calling as a Christ-follower. How does that work? Read through God’s calling in Ezekiel 2:3. It reads, “And he said to me, ‘Son of man, I send you to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels, who have rebelled against me. They and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day.” God wants Ezekiel to rebuke them. Now, imagine that God said that to you. I’m guessing that your response is similar to mine. “No, way!” Why not? Because my reputation, my friendships and my very life are at stake. What will people think of me when they hear me talking like that? Guess what? It doesn’t matter. God continues with Ezekiel saying, “whether they hear or refuse to hear” Ezekiel 3:11 (ESV). These words are important to us because I believe that God may be calling us to be prophets.
No, God may not endow us with powers like Elijah or the ability to determine future events. We need to think about prophets differently. I would like to share something I learned from A.W. Tozer. He helps me fix my picture of prophets and how we fit in. In his book Tozer on Christian Leadership, he describes today’s prophet as someone who interprets the present. This calling requires discernment to understand current events and the ability to translate God’s position on them. Unfortunately, I think most Christians cut ourselves short. God may be wanting to bestow this gift of prophecy on us, but our refusal to surrender to Him inhibits the spirit from working. What would it look like if we fully sought him and surrendered? Maybe, you are like me, worried that He might call you to be something more.
It’s time to retire my old definition of prophet and replace it with God’s truth. Jesus Christ does not remove control from me. He restores control to me. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, my future is secure. Abundance, peace and love are mine. Forever and always. If you believe that, it is worth considering what a prophet looks like. I’m sure that we have been given the command, just as Ezekiel was given the command.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV)