Katz Prophecy 05

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5 – The Voice of the Prophet

 

God puts a great premium on the voice of the prophets. It is not just their words, but their voice that carries the urgency and divine seriousness of God. If you change that and yet retain the technical word, you have lost the message. There is the resonance of God in his speaking that conveys not only the content and the meaning, but also the disposition of God’s own heart and how He feels about what is being said. The mood of the speaking has nothing to do with the prophet’s choosing. There are times when he is like a piece of putty and he cannot alter it. He is uncomfortable speaking like that and wishes that he had the liberty to give the word the flourish that it needs. He is, however, as much bound in God in the manner of the speaking as the content of the speaking. Other times the same man is beside himself. He cannot be contained. He is falling off the edge of the platform (so to speak) in the intensity of the moment. In both cases, it is not the man who makes that determination, but God.

 

When the prophet, whom God has raised up early and sent often (Jer. 7:25), is not heard and the word is rejected, then the next and last thing is judgment. It is, therefore no wonder that there is an urgency in the speaking and that his words are designed to shock more than edify. The prophet is, therefore, often seen as being horrid, slashing and offensive. The most common accusation is ‘unloving,’ which he has to bear. That is the way it often sounds and appears, but how many of us can see that the harsh word is uttermost love? For a prophet, not to have spoken it would have been unloving—if that is what the urgency of the moment required. That is not a justification to be in that mode continually, but in the moment that God calls for it, it must not be withheld.

 

[The prophet’s mood is often in violent opposition to the mood that has already been established in the congregation, especially by the ‘worship team.’ We ourselves are frequently in conflict with worship teams and worship leaders. They seem often to have an independent purpose for their own activity, no matter what, and establish some kind of mood, however contrary to God it is. Instead of working in conjunction with the word that is to come, or sensing the mood and heart of God, they have already got their choruses numbered and what they are going to sing and do. They have their musical virtuoso, talent and amplifiers and they are going to ‘do their thing,’ and leave you to make the best of it afterwards as well as you can. Many messages have been dulled and the power of them lost because of that unspoken opposition and tension where worship ministry is celebrated as the ultimate thing in itself. We need perhaps to pull the plug out of every overhead projector and every amplifier! Let us rather just splutter and choke along and miss a word here and there and come into the spirit of God’s worship, than that we should be led with choruses and more choruses and more choruses. What it seems they are often really trying to do is to effect an atmosphere for a service, rather than touch the heart of God, let alone prepare for the receiving of a holy word for those assembled.]

 

A prophet will often send people home jarred and unhappy with many unanswered questions. He has not that mentality that wants everything to be wrapped up in one package with a ribbon on it, in one service, and send people home happy. He will let the people go home pained and even agonizing. He will raise perplexing questions that he himself has not adequately answered, and they themselves have got to wrestle and fight their way through to a truer place in God. There are very few pastors, maybe one in a hundred, who would be willing to allow his congregation to suffer that kind of stress and tension. “Send them home happy” is the unspoken premise of contemporary religion to which prophets do not subscribe. They are not in the mood for sending people home happy. They are of a kind to send them home agitated with questions that the hearers are compelled to consider and that cannot be asked and answered in one service.

 

The prophet’s suspicions are alerted if there is any bombast, theatrics or sensationalism that conjures up a manner or a mode of excitement or anything else that the ear loves to hear that would draw out those who are bored and want some kind of alternative to their boredom. The one who speaks of coming judgment should not invest it with anything more than the word itself. He does not have to bring to it an additional quality so as to make it compelling to the hearer. The word itself speaks for itself. Anyone who would seek to bring an extraneous element through his own personality or manner of speaking is likely false. The prophet, therefore, does not have great latitude in how he deports himself. If we are highly individualistic and want to cut a swath for ourselves or do our own thing in our own way, then we are disqualified.

 

Though the prophet’s life is wholly given over to God, there is no surrender of identity. In fact, his authentic identity is established. He loses his life but he has found it. Prophets are distinct, flesh and blood men with personalities. They are not robots who bear the word of God as a mechanical contrivance. They are formed in the womb, and that forming is God’s.

Published in: on November 1, 2008 at 3:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

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