What do you think of when you hear the word prophecy? Most of us, myself included, automatically think of people like Elijah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, or John. From another world view, we might think of Nostradamus or the Oracles of Delphi. The prophecies of this kind in the Old Testament are often so remarkably accurate and detailed that, when at all possible, “historians” have decided they must actually have been penned after the fact. Others are too ancient, and their fulfillments too recent, for this argument to plausibly be made.
This is not the kind of prophecy I want to talk about here. Not every Christ follower has the gift of prophecy in the sense of fortelling the future, but prophecy is not limited to this. Prophecy most often consists of a word of encouragement, divinely inspired. Any believer can give this sort of word if he or she is in regular fellowship with God. We say that so easily . . . regular fellowship with God. I would never dream of being in regular fellowship with the PM of England or even the CEO of the small organization I work for, but “fellowship with God” rolls right off my tongue with hardly a second thought. We can all have regular fellowship with God, but how many of us can be bothered?
You may remember from my commentary on 1 Corinthians that Paul told the Corinthian Christians, “You can all prophecy, one by one.” (1 Cor 14:31) This sort of prophecy does not typically predict the future. It is a gift of revealing the person and nature of Christ to one another. We can only do this if we have something to reveal, hence the need for consistent fellowship with Him.
One way to do this is through the practice of “Divine Reading,” which means simply, reading and meditating on short passages of scripture and listening for God’s word to you on the subject. This is a great way to study the bible, whether individually or in a group. One caveat–if you don’t know the word quite well, do submit your inspired interpretations to a more mature believer with whom you have built up trust to get his/her take on them. It’s easy to hear from yourself and think it is God speaking, particularly if you have an emotional stake in the answer.
When God does speak to you, write it down. I promise you that you will not remember a tenth of what He says if you skip this step. That’s what I’m going to be doing here for as long as God directs. I believe He’s leading me to 1 & 2 Thessalonians at present, and I’m going to share the verses I’m meditating on, along with my journal entries (at least those parts not too personal to be meaningful to others).
Grace and Peace,