I’m thankful for prophetic voices in the Church that urge us to godly, righteous, Christ-honoring lives! Voices that encourage us to live in such a way that God can use us and bless us so that we can be a blessing to others!
I grieve that sometimes the “prophetic voice” has been given a false caricature – a stereotype that is largely negative and shrill. Don’t get me wrong, warning and correction may characterize the “prophetic voice” but it may also bear a positive, encouraging tone and message. In fact, that is precisely how Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:3 characterized it! He said, “The one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation!
This morning during “coffee with the Lord” I read an account that affirms the positive, encouraging tone of prophecy…
Asa had become king in Judah and he showed some promise as an emerging leader with godly inclinations and traits. The Bible says one day, “The Spirit of God came upon Azariah, the son of Oded, and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, ‘Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you… Take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded!’”
And the result? As soon as Asa heard these words, the prophecy of Azariah the son of Oded, he took courage and put away the detestable idols from all the land of Judah… he repaired the altar of the Lord… He gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and those from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon… and they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and with all their soul… And all Judah rejoiced over the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and they sought the Lord with their whole desire, and He was found by them, and the Lord gave them rest all around.” (From II Chronicles 15:1-19)
You know what? When I think back on the prophetic voices within the Church that I’ve been exposed to… I would have to say voices like that of Azariah – Positive, challenging, encouraging voices that urged me to live for the Lord with all my heart and, as a result, experience God wonderful blessing – have done more to help me in my Christian walk then the shrill, negative voices. And during this Thanksgiving week I want to thank God for prophetic voices like Azariah’s within the Church! They’ve made a positive impact upon my life!