Many of us agree that Abraham is the father of faith. However, something struck me about Abraham. God was the personal prophet of Abraham. It was God himself who spoke to Abraham about leaving his father’s house and how to move and when to move. God came to him again and told him what he was going to make of him and how he was going to be blessed. He told him he was going to become a father of nations and he was going to be prosperous.
Many of the things that Abraham experienced were things God had spoken to him about. There was no other prophet speaking to him but God himself. I call these words of God to Abraham prophecies because they were events and occurrences for the future at the time Abraham heard them. If God had sent word to Abraham through another person, we clearly would have agreed that those words were prophecies. By the way, prophecies, within the context of the kingdom of God, are words of God spoken forth about future events regarding a person’s life or events in a certain place.
What is the point here? The point is that Abraham had words to hold unto that guided his faith and walk with God. He didn’t have faith in nothing. He had faith in the word of God. His faith was on the basis of what God told him was going to happen though everything around him looked otherwise. So we can say Abraham had prophecies about how prosperous he was going to become and that he was going to have a child.
There are several other characters in the Bible whose births were foretold. It wasn’t just their births that were foretold but what they were coming to the earth to do. The word that had gone ahead of these characters made it easy for some of them to excel in life. There were those who still failed but knowing the word that went ahead of them helped them with direction in life.
The focus in this context is to talk about how important prophecy is in guiding us to where we are supposed to be in life. This is not and exegesis on prophecy. I also understand that the office of the prophet is one of the most abused offices identified in the Bible and because of that, many people are no longer interested or now think that it is not important.
Some other people, because of their disappointment in prophets also say that they will hear God for themselves. I will come to that later but there is one bitter truth for a number of people to accept. That bitter truth is the fact that in some cases in life, even a prophet needs a prophet. Again, my focus in not on prophets but on prophecies and I am not asking you to go out to start looking for prophets who can speak to your life. I will also balance this to let you know how this can happen.
If you are a child of God and you attend a Bible believing church where the Spirit of God operates, there can be an express prophecy to you through the servants of God there. There can also be prophecies to you through the teachings of the word in that church or from the teachers of the word that you listen to.
Prophecies can come through the Spirit of God directly to you and they can come from the word of God which is also birthed by the Spirit of God. You might be reading the word and some lines jump out at you. Words can become life because of the Spirit breathing on those scriptures. Words in the Bible can become prophecies to you as you read and the Spirit of God ministers to you.
Several years ago, I was reading the word of God and I got to the book Isaiah chapter 50 verse 4 where the Bible says:
“The Lord God has given Me
The tongue of the learned,
That I should know how to speak
A word in season to him who is weary.
He awakens Me morning by morning,
He awakens My ear
To hear as the learned.
These lines jumped at me! It was as though the Spirit of God was waiting for me to get to this portion of scripture. I couldn’t continue again. I was so excited. As a teenager when I saw this scripture, I ran around in the room where I was. That word become a prophecy to me. I just felt like the verse was written for me.
Over the years, I have met with prophets who have also spoken to me but there is nothing they said that contradicts what this verse of scripture already told me. In fact, when a prophet comes to me and wants to talk to me about my future, this verse of scripture is one of the verses that will judge whatever the person is saying. That is because this verse already summarizes by future to me. You cannot contradict it. You cannot on agree with it and expand it.
You also need a word over your life and this word should come from the scripture. It can be further confirmed by anyone who operates in the office of a prophet so that you’re not misguided or led into error. Prophecies are scriptural and we must not discard the office of the prophet because we need prophets and prophecies. However, we must be careful not to turn prophets to God or turn to prophets when we should turn to God.
Scripturally, we see that prophecies proceeded our Lord Jesus and he operated in life with those prophecies. We knew them, read them and worked with them. In the book of Luke 4:16 – 21, Jesus read and confirmed the fulfillment of a prophecy that was foretold about him.
16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had
been brought up. And as His custom was,
He went into the synagogue on the
Sabbath day, and stood up to read.
17 And He was handed the book of the
prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened
the book, He found the place where it was written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me [a]to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are [b]oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to
the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all
who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him.
21 And He began to say to them, “Today this
Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Verse 16 told us he had a custom of going into the synagogue to read. And on this day he read the portion of scripture where a prophecy was written about him. He was sure about what he come to do on earth. Nothing any other person said got to him or derailed him. When they wanted to forcefully make him a king, he knew that wasn’t a part of the prophecy that had gone ahead of him. He wasn’t here to be a king on earth.
Without a prophecy, you may get some offers that look good in life and you will take them just thinking that they are good and you should enjoy them. I should also say that there may be no consequences for taking those offers but God may have more for you in life. You may be settling for less in life if you do not have a word that has gone ahead of you. You may also waste so much time doing things that you have no business doing at all.
In some cases, people struggle not because they’re not blessed or that God does not want to bless them. They struggle because they are operating outside of what God already ordained as their avenue for blessings. They also do not know about this because there is no prophet in their lives or a prophecy to guide or correct them. Some people may find out later in life what they were supposed to have been doing but they may have lost the strength needed to accomplish those things. There are those who will still have some time and energy to get started. In all of these, the most beautiful thing is to have started out early in life with a word guiding you into the place God already prepared for you.
You need prophecy in order not to be confused in life. You may have so many things in place and all that you have in place are the wrong things. Even the bible says there is a way that seems right unto man but the end thereof is destruction. Prophecy guides you into the future that you are to prepare for. Please note that prophecy will only foretell the future but that future will not happen by itself. You have to take daily consistent steps to make it happen. Prophecy tells you what will happen ahead. With prophecy, you can avert disasters. I also think that with prophecy, you’re better prepared or equipped for life.
Let me spell out in plain terms some of the things I have been trying to say about prophecy and why you need one or why you need a prophet to succeed in life. I can also call this the purpose of a prophecy.
Purpose of a prophecy
- Foretell the future
When you hear a prophecy, it tells you about a concluded plan of God that will unfold in the future. In Some cases, God also uses prophecies to unveil the plans of the devil against the life of anyone to counter that evil plan. You get to know what to expect. You may not get the details of how these things will happen but you already have a word regarding what will happen in the future. With this, you know where you are going in life.
- Guide you into destiny
When a word has gone ahead of you about what God is planning to do in your life, that word continues to guide your daily actions. If you obey, like Abraham did, you will eventually be led to your promised land and will not be stagnant in life. When you are about to do something, you can check your actions with the prophecies to you and ask yourself if what you’re about to do aligns with the promises of God to you or not. If those actions do not align, then you stop those actions and stay away from them.
- Correct an error
A prophecy can correct an error that was made in the past either by you or by someone else which is no affecting you and it can correct an error that you are about to make. I remember there is something I have always wanted to do in a certain location. In fact, I believe it is something God would have me do and that it was the right thing to do. At some point, I got talking to a prophet and he said there was no clear road in that direction. This is something I would have gone into and I was already making the move to go into it. Now I should also say that prophets aren’t infallible. They can make mistakes and in some cases, they may receive a word from the Lord but allow the interference of flesh to interpret the word they had received. It is not that they did not receive or see clearly. They received an accurate vision or word but may still misinterpret. A prophet will become false prophet when he or she deliberately misinterprets a vision for personal gain or says something in the name of God when God has not spoken. Therefore, we can say that prophets may also operate in error despite the fact that some prophecies were meant to correct error.
- Encourage you
There are too many moments when I feel like giving up but I remember the word of God in that Isaiah 50:4 and many other prophecies that had gone ahead of me. Life is discouraging. You can get a word today about becoming a king tomorrow but your next set of experiences will not be different from that of a slave. You can do everything possible and you will wonder what about you will ever become a king because of the kind of circumstances you are in. when you have a word of prophecy in moments of discouragements, that word will lift your spirit and not allow you give in to the demoralizing thoughts of the devil. We were warned in scriptures not to be ignorant of the devices of the devil. Sometimes, the devil does not do much against some people. He does not attack their health or finances as we may expect him to do. He does not attack their spouses or children or do anything to work against them. The devil simply talks some people out of destiny. A discouragement from continuing with the word that had gone ahead of you could be the devil talking you out of destiny. You ask yourself why you should continue. You tell yourself nothing is worth it. You give up and the devil is happy that you did because you will not be able to wreck the havoc that your success should have against his plans. What the devil do in the garden of even? He simply talked Eve into doing what God told Eve and Adam not to do. Just as he talks people into doing what they shouldn’t do, he also talks people out of doing what they ought to be doing and discouragement is one of his tools. Without the devil in the picture, life naturally discourages. You will get to a time in your life where it looks as if everything was designed to work against you but when a word from the Lord comes, it will lift your spirit and you’re good to go again.
- Keep you on the path of God’s assignment
There are times when we want to do what looks good. There are times when we are not sure what God is saying. There are also times when it looks as if what God is saying isn’t working though we are working at it. A word is needed to keep us on the assignment. God can tell you to start something and also tell you to shut it. If you do not hear from God constantly or there is no prophecy, you may continue with what God has discontinued. You may also plant to shut down what God is getting ready to build on and conclude in your heart that these things are not working and it means that God is not involved. You would need a prophecy to know that God is involved but his timing is not your timing. You would have to let him make things happen in His time and not your time.
- Eliminate or minimize frustration
A word in season is the easiest way to get rid of the strategic frustrations of the devil planned to either derail you or stop you completely from fulfilling God’s purpose for your life. Without a word of prophecy, many of us will effortlessly cooperate with the devil to change God’s plans for our lives and walk straight into frustration. In other cases, the devil is not in the details but lack of direction from the word is what we are struggling with. Many people are simply struggling to make something happen when God does not plan to make that thing happen for them. This continued frustration is stemming from ignorance of the plans of God. A word of prophecy will abort this frustration conceived because we probably didn’t seek the face of God or didn’t hear God clearly. There are times when we want to do what we love when God is telling us to do something else. There are times when we bring people into our company when God does not need those people because of the assignment he has given to us. There are just so many things that we do to frustrate ourselves but a word can help us see that we are frustrating ourselves rather than aligning with the word.
It doesn’t matter who you are and what your level is in God spiritually, you need a word of prophecy either directly from God or through his children and from the word. Prophecy clearly helps us in knowing what path to stay on and what not to go into because of what God already planned out for us.
There are prophets who still see ‘men like trees’ but it does not mean that we do not need prophets. To ‘see men like trees’ is like a parable. You will recall Jesus wanted to heal a blind man and he asked him what he saw. This man said he saw men like trees. In fact, I love his honesty and accurate description of what he saw. He knew he saw men but also knew that he wasn’t seeing correctly. There are prophets who also ‘see men’ but are not honest enough to admit that they are seeing them ‘like trees.’ That is where error may come in but you also have the obligation to seek clarity from God regarding anything anyone says to you. We also have a word regarding the truth being established in the mouth of two or three witnesses. Whatever one person tells you, the Spirit of God is willing and ready to confirm it to you. You need a prophet to excel in life and according to the plans of God.
Finally, you’re the greatest prophet over your life! There is nothing anyone call tell you that can happen without your cooperation. Either for good or for bad, prophecies also need our cooperation. In the book of Genesis chapter 18, Abraham had received guests who were just passing by but he delayed them and asked them to eat in his house. After they ate, they prophesied about a baby coming to the house of Abraham soon. Sarah laughed when she heard it because she was thinking about her age and the age of her husband. If not for grace, her laugher could have been taken as doubt and that was enough to cancel the prophecy, but God had a plan. The prophecy came to pass in Genesis 21. God returned unto Sarah as he had said and did unto her according to his word before that time.
If God sends a word to you and you simply believe it at the time the word was sent, it does not mean that the word will happen. If you begin to believe the circumstances around you over the word of God, you may receive the rewards or results from the circumstances and not the word of God. God hates unbelief so he may give you a word and still not compel all circumstances to make it happen if you do not align with the word and show that you believe that word.
You may wonder how God can make a promised and still not make it happen because of your unbelief. Our case in point is that of the children of Israel that God took out of the land of Egypt. There was a word to them that God was taking them to a land flowing with milk and honey. God told them he was going to deliver them by a mighty hand. He had to deliver the Israelites after 10 separate plagues upon the land of Egypt. He was the one who hardened the heart of pharaoh and still brought a plague upon him to prove that he is God and to let the Israelites go. All these miracles were still not enough to convince the people that God was with them. Anytime they ran into small trouble, they complained to Moses and against God. They kept talking about death. They kept asking if he had brought them out of Egypt because there were no graves in Egypt. God gave them manner to show that he was with them. He parted the red sea to show that he was leading them. He brought water out of the rock just by having a stick touch the rock yet, the children of God chose to forget all these mighty miracles and kept talking about death.
When God had had enough of their unbelief, he replied them in Numbers 14:28 by saying:
Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you:
God promised to respond to their confession of death rather than his promise to get them into a land flowing with milk and honey. What happened after this was that God killed all the adults that got out of Egypt, except Joshua and Caleb, and preserved all the young ones to make it into the land he had promised their fathers.
Remember that your belief in the word of God is called faith and your belief in the word of the devil is called fear. Whichever you respond to determines what you get in life. are You responding to the word of God and speaking to yourself on that basis or responding to the word of the devil and speaking to yourself on that basis? You are the greatest prophet of your life and your words will eventually determine your life. That is why you must prophesy to your own life. Speak into existence the things you want to see and believe they will happen. However, as a child of God and someone who is submitting to the will of God, it is better to prophesy to your life in alignment with the will and plans of God for your life.
The Israelites who died didn’t die because it was the plan of God for them. They died because that was what they confessed with their mouths. God’s plan was to keep them whole and get them into the promised land. When you look at Joshua and Caleb after they made it into the promised land, you will understand God’s plans for them. At 85, Caleb said he was still strong enough to lead a battle to claim the possession God had promised him. We do not know the ages of those who had gone to spy out the land before they accessed it. We can assume that some were older and some others were the same age with Caleb. A few could also have been younger
Now if all of these spies sent out by Moses had kept the same confession with Caleb, we would be seeing men in their 80s, 90s, 100s or more fighting to claim a land and they would still be strong enough for that with the backing of God because that was his promise to them.