The Voice of Prophecy – Prophets Listening and Speaking Truth

How clearly does the voice of prophecy resound today? Are prophets still listening to God and speaking His prophetic truth in our generation? Has their voice diminished or is it strong? Prophets throughout the ages have been mocked, ridiculed, crucified and burned. Few people, if any, stand in line saying, “Pick me, Lord! Pick me to prophesy!”

Just before Stephen was stoned to death, he asked,

“Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? . . .”
Acts 7:52

Of all the spiritual gifts, why does prophecy get such a bad wrap? Undoubtedly, there is a lethargy toward spiritual gifts, an absence of mature mentors and misguided notions of prophecy. All, perhaps, put this beautiful and important gift in dim light.

Gifts of Perfume

Yet, prophecy remains among the gifts God gives to the church.

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them . . . To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”
1 Corinthians 12:4-11

Six times Paul states that the gifts are given by the Spirit “as he determines,” including the voice of prophecy.

Gifts of Love

‘Charisma’ (singular) or ‘charismata’ (plural), commonly translated as gifts, means ‘gift of God’s love.‘ God beautifully lavishes His church with gifts of His love. Another word, ‘phanerosis,’ we also find translated as gift, means manifestation.

Child's ear

For the church to experience God’s love, His gifts must be seen and known. Without the gifts, His love remains hidden, not just from the church, but from the entire world.

For All

The gift of prophecy encourages believers while convicting those who neither know nor acknowledge God.

“. . . prophecy, however, is not for unbelievers but for believers . . . But if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted . . .”
1 Corinthians 14:22-25

The voice of prophecy bridges the gap between those inside and outside the church. Both declare, “God is really among you!”

“. . . they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all, as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, ‘God is really among you!'”
1 Corinthians 14:24-25

Eyes to See

Honestly, I’ve approached the prophetic praying the secrets of my heart would forever remain hidden. Nonetheless, the unveiling of the heart draws one closer to our loving Father. Whatever God exposes, He redeems!

The Voice of Prophecy

When Jesus, the perfect Prophet, met the woman at the well and told her everything she ever did, worship was her predictable response.

. . . You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
John 4:17-18

Jesus spoke to her privately, honoring and elevating her to a place of dignity while exposing the real pain and giving her the hope of an intimate relationship with God.

“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” John 4:24

One prophetic word brought a woman out of a hopeless situation and an entire town into knowing Jesus the Messiah.

True Prophecy

The honest voice of prophecy encourages those who hear and points them not to the prophet but to God. Prophets precisely tune their ears to hear God’s voice and focus their sight to heavenly realms to accurately relay what they hear and see to others.

“But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.”
1 Corinthians 14:3

Although most prophecy adheres to this principle, not all. One doesn’t have to read the Bible long before realizing that the voice of prophecy often brought necessary correction from their loving Father.

Child and Adult

Earthly fathers who refuse to correct when necessary, harm those entrusted to them. Every loving father, including our Heavenly Father, loves enough to speak correction. He invites the listener to strength, courage and comfort.

Covet Prophecy

Paul commands his listeners to covet and zealously pursues prophecy.

“Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy . . .”
1 Corinthians 14:39

Why such a strong admonishment? Why does he encourage everyone to prophesy?

Microphone

“Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.”
1 Corinthians 14:1

What is it about the voice of prophecy that brings substantial “strengthening, encouragement and comfort?”

Whenever I have prophesied over others or God has spoken to me through a prophet, the awareness that God knows, sees and loves, even in the midst of personal messiness, inspires greater faith and trust, motivating to godly purpose and calling. Why?

“. . . the one who prophesies edifies the church.”
1 Corinthians 14:4

Testing Prophecy

For this reason, the voice of prophecy must be tested to ensure it agrees with the heart of God and the Word of Scripture, the Bible.

Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.”
1 Thessalonians 5:19-20

The scrutinizing of the voice of prophecy ensures the purity of the word spoken. When God gives His gifts, it is the recipient’s responsibility to exercise and develop those gifts to reach their fullest potential and greatest benefit to His Kingdom.

Positive and Negative Image

The prophet requires a safe and loving atmosphere to hone the prophetic gift. Godly prophetic mentors, solid in the faith and established in the Word guide the maturing process.

We often see groups of prophets hanging out together in the Old Testament. For good reason! Here they developed, became accountable and grew in their gift (2 Kgs 6:1). Elisha followed Elijah, learning and growing in his gift. The disciples followed Jesus, watching and training as prophets.

The Prophetic Office

Testing the voice of prophecy is especially essential in regard to the office of the prophet. Few prophets mature to a recognized place of holding the position, or ministry, of a prophet, which is different than operating in the prophetic gift.

“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
Ephesians 4:11-13

Many people today create business cards identifying themselves as apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher. How God labels a ministry matters far more.

Sound Studio

Though many operate in the gifting found within the five-fold ministry, few hold the true spiritual office of that position. One of the frustrating aspects of any ministry is being pigeon-holed under a title, not God-given — frustrating for the individual and for the people under his or her ministry.

Avoiding man-made labels and maintaining a humble, godly attitude ensures the free-flow of the gifts God gives. He calls each of us to pursue spiritual gifts, test and hone them, then use them for His Kingdom purposes.

Prophets and prophetesses boldly arise! May your senses be open to perceive the currents of heaven releasing the prophetic voice once again for the strengthening, encouraging and comfort” of all.

Wake Up Deborah! Part 2 – Arise Warriors Without Weapons

Deborah Arise - Warriors without Weapons

The people began to cry out to the LORD in their oppression. God called forth Deborah as prophet and judge over Israel. She arose inspiring warriors without weapons to fight.  Deborah’s voice became a tremor that shock her nation to stand!

Though most of the judges were acknowledged following a major victory, Deborah was an exception. She was a valiant and powerful leader prior to any military exploit.

A Mother of Israel

The bible and history show how God raises up a woman during revival or crisis. When a woman leads, it is birthing time – time for a new generation, a new move, or a new thing. Women are designed to produce seed, carry it to maturity and then bring it forth. Men contribute to the process, but only women birth!

She senses movement! She perceives time!

“People avoided the main roads,
and travelers stayed on winding pathways.
There were few people left in the villages of Israel –
until Deborah arose as a mother for Israel.
When Israel chose new gods,
war erupted at the city gates.”
Judges 5:6,7

People avoided the main roads.

Israel was desperate! City streets were unsafe, let alone the country roads. Because they had forsaken God, He turned them over to their Canaanite enemies.

It took twenty years, but Israel began to cry out to the LORD. They didn’t repent; nor did they seek mercy. They cried for relief from oppression.

“Bee”

We are born naked but with gifts. God has entrusted each of us with natural and spiritual gifts necessary to fulfill His purposes. Deborah busily exercised her gifts of prophecy and wisdom living up to her name, meaning “bee”.

Breaking through stereotypes, she arose as political and spiritual leader over Israel. Often, it is in difficult times that ones’ true nature is revealed.

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
—Joseph Kennedy

Deborah - "bee"

When the queen bee starts moving, warriors become activated responding to her instincts.

Wake up, Deborah, wake up!
Wake up, wake up, and sing a song!
Arise, Barak! Lead your captives away…”
Judges 5:12

Out of apathy and complacency Deborah arose prophetically speaking God’s word over her nation. God’s voice through Deborah pierced the atmosphere, gaining her recognition as a righteous judge.

Woman Under Cover

The bible prioritizes whatever is mentioned first. The first detail spoken of Deborah is that she was

“the wife of Lappidoth.”
Judges 4: 4

Lappidoth means “torches or flames.” A wife first, she honoured her powerhouse husband. They were equals! Deborah was a prophetic torch over her nation; her husband was also a man of fire.

Lappidoth - torches or flames

strong husband releases and opens doors for his wife to serve God wholeheartedly.

Whether male or female, it is imperative that we honour leadership staying under the spiritual cover they provide. Godly leaders will always build, advance, and promote others whether in our homes, churches or workplace.

Prophet and Judge

“The Israelites would go to her for judgment.”
Judges 4:5

Deborah’s position took courage and strength.  Standing against the wickedness of her nation, she challenging Israel to godliness. Displaying faithfulness  and wisdom, she received honour and respect from all.

God fights for Israel

The day came! Something was shifting! She declared the word of victory to Barak, the military leader.

“This is what the LORD, the God of Israel,
commands you call out 10,000 warriors
from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun …
I will call out Sisera … along with his chariots and warriors,
to the Kishon River.
There I will give you victory over him.”
Judges 4:6.7

Women arise! Wake up and step into God’s purpose! In your rising, inspire and elevate men as leaders and warriors. God is calling our men to stand and fight. Deborah’s daughters will always speak God’s word of victory into men.

Woman of Wisdom

We know little about Barak. Some would call him weak; I think he was wise. Barak means “lightning”! Lightning is different from a “flame” or a “bee” but extremely powerful.

“Yet, not a shield or spear could be seen among
forty thousand warriors in Israel!”
Judges 5:8

Deborah’s word from God was so powerful that 10,000 warriors without weapons gathered to engage a vicious enemy! “If God is for us, who can be against us?” It takes a man of audacious faith and courage to head out into battle without a weapon in hand!

Israel had one weapon! The word of the LORD, through Deborah!

I will go, but only if you go with me.”
Judges 4:8

Deborah neither pinpointed Barak’s response as weakness, nor did she ridicule, nag, command or manipulate. Deborah prophesied that the glory of victory would be shared with woman – accolades Barak was willing to share. Together they became a fearless force drawing from each other’s strengths.

God’s choice of a man to partner with Deborah for military victory was no accident. Barak

  • did not covet personal glory
  • held no prejudice or gender bias
  • desired God’s continued word and presence to guide him
  • determined to stay under spiritual cover

Know Your Position

God’s voice spoke through Deborah,

Get ready! This is the day
the LORD will give you victory over Sisera,
for the LORD is marching ahead of you.”
Judges 4:14

This is the day! It is birthing time! She convinced Barak to fix his eyes on the LORD. Victory would come through God’s intervention alone. Barak needed only to muster his small army of 10,000 foot soldiers and obey.

Sisera and 900 chariots

The Canaanite came like a flood, 900 chariots strong. But God! God had a flood of His own!

LORD, when you set out
and marched across the fields…
the earth trembled, and the cloudy skies poured down rain.
The mountains quaked in the presence of the LORD….
The stars fought from heaven,
The stars in their orbits fought against Sisera.
The Kishon River swept them away –
that ancient torrent, the Kishon.”
Judges 4:4, 5, 20, 21

Flash flood and overflowing river? Chariots immobilized!

Shared the Victory

Deborah partnered with Barak on the battlefield; then they sing the only recorded biblical duet. Deborah was already known for her songs of worship; Barak joined her triumphant chorus.

“On that day Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang this song.”
Judges 5:1

No other woman in the bible exemplifies honouring God and others like this woman! Deborah willingly acknowledges those strategic in battle:

  • the LORD (5:2-6, 9, 11,20-21)
  • Barak (5:12,15)
  • Israels’ leaders and commanders (5:1, 9)
  • the people who fought, especially from Zebulun and Issachar (5:1,9,13,14,18)
  • Jael (5:24-27)

As a godly leader, she built up her team, commending the brave and inspiring them to further greatness. Deborah’s anointed leadership brought forty years of peace for Israel.

Together, Deborah and Barak present a profound illustration of the synergy available when men and women work together. They demonstrate the essence of honour, bridging genders and uniting spiritual, political and military strength.

Arise! Wake up and step into your anointing! Lock arms in victory! Together we will be undefeated in Christ, and when we do revival may just be around the corner….

Rise up, O LORD, in all your power
with music and singing
we celebrate your mighty acts.”
Psalm 21:13

But there is one more piece! Without it victory will never be complete!

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More Reading:

Wake Up Deborah! Part 1 – Take Your Position

Do it Again Lord! Renew! Restore! Revive!

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