We Must Learn From Israels Mistakes
1 Corinthians 10:1–12 Remember our history, friends, and be warned. All our ancestors were led by the providential Cloud and taken miraculously through the Sea. They went through the waters, in a baptism like ours, as Moses led them from enslaving death to salvation life. They all ate and drank identical food and drink, meals provided daily by God. They drank from the Rock, God’s fountain for them that stayed with them wherever they were. And the Rock was Christ. But just experiencing God’s wonder and grace didn’t seem to mean much—most of them were defeated by temptation during the hard times in the desert, and God was not pleased. 6–10 The same thing could happen to us. We must be on guard so that we never get caught up in wanting our own way as they did. And we must not turn our religion into a circus as they did—“First the people partied, then they threw a dance.” We must not be sexually promiscuous—they paid for that, remember, with 23,000 deaths in one day! We must never try to get Christ to serve us instead of us serving him; they tried it, and God launched an epidemic of poisonous snakes. We must be careful not to stir up discontent; discontent destroyed them. 11–12 These are all warning markers—DANGER!—in our history books, written down so that we don’t repeat their mistakes. Our positions in the story are parallel—they at the beginning, we at the end—and we are just as capable of messing it up as they were. Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence. (The Message Bible)
What can we learn from Israel in relation to prophets and prophecy?
Exodus 6:8-9 And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage. I am the Lord. So Moses spoke thus to the children of Israel, but they did not heed Moses because of anguish of spirit and cruel bondage.
Right from the very start, God and Moses battled to get the majority of God’s people to align their thoughts and ways with God’s. Their bondage had become so extremely oppressive that they had lost all hope of ever being redeemed from it. Their labour had been so excessively harsh and unremitting that they hardly had time to breathe. They battled to believe that, in the midst of this cruel bondage, God could fulfill the promise of His goodness to them.
Their negative, fearful and bad attitudes were a constant challenge to the prophecy, God’s will for their lives and His great promise!
Exodus 13:17–18 17 It so happened that after Pharaoh released the people, God didn’t lead them by the road through the land of the Philistines, which was the shortest route, for God thought, “If the people encounter war, they’ll change their minds and go back to Egypt.” 18 So God led the people on the wilderness road, looping around to the Red Sea. The Israelites left Egypt in military formation. (The Message Bible)
They did not want to fight that good fight of faith! As a result what should have been an approximate 8-day journey became a never-ending story! When they finally reached the Promised Land, ten of their twelve leaders returned from spying out the land with a negative report
Numbers 13:26–14:4 26–27 They presented themselves before Moses and Aaron and the whole congregation of the People of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran at Kadesh. They reported to the whole congregation and showed them the fruit of the land. Then they told the story of their trip: 27–29 “We went to the land to which you sent us and, oh! It does flow with milk and honey! Just look at this fruit! The only thing is that the people who live there are fierce, their cities are huge and well fortified. Worse yet, we saw descendants of the giant Anak. Amalekites are spread out in the Negev; Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites hold the hill country; and the Canaanites are established on the Mediterranean Sea and along the Jordan.” 30 Caleb interrupted, called for silence before Moses and said, “Let’s go up and take the land—now. We can do it.” 31–33 But the others said, “We can’t attack those people; they’re way stronger than we are.” They spread scary rumors among the People of Israel. They said, “We scouted out the land from one end to the other—it’s a land that swallows people whole. Everybody we saw was huge. Why, we even saw the Nephilim giants (the Anak giants come from the Nephilim). Alongside them we felt like grasshoppers. And they looked down on us as if we were grasshoppers.” (The Message Bible)
Their negative attitude towards the circumstances, despite the powerful prophecy from God through Moses, caused the fruit of sadness and mourning to defile the entire congregation.
Numbers 14:1 The whole community was in an uproar, wailing all night long. All the People of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The entire community was in on it: “Why didn’t we die in Egypt? Or in this wilderness? Why has GOD brought us to this country to kill us? Our wives and children are about to become plunder. Why don’t we just head back to Egypt? And right now!” 4 Soon they were all saying it to one another: “Let’s pick a new leader; let’s head back to Egypt.” (The Message Bible)
Negativity and unbelief can destroy God’s plan for your life. There were two leaders who believed they were able to destroy the threat of death facing them. There was no fear of the giants from the two because they believed that the Lord was with them and His report was the one to be trusted. Caleb had a different spirit and was positive that God was able to fulfill His will for their lives, (Numbers 14 : 24), whereas the negativity of the people was causing them to be contradictory to God, putting themselves in union with satanic powers. This is evidenced by the fact that those who embraced the negative report of doom and gloom and destruction, decided to kill Joshua and Caleb for daring to be positive about the future of the congregation.
Numbers 14:9-10 “Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them” And all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Now the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of meeting before all the children of Israel.
When those who have heard from God begin to move in the realm of faith, those who operate by the law of knowledge of good and evil will desire to kill. Out of that entire generation, only Joshua and Caleb inherited the promise, together with another generation that God raised up; the promise was fulfilled in the lives of those who believed, and in the next generation. Our attitudes are crucial to the fulfillment of our personal prophecies. Firstly, we need to have the attitude of faith. If we do not believe that prophecy is scriptural and we despise the truth of this precious ability of the Holy Spirit to prophesy through people, we will be in danger of harboring unbelief, which insults God.
Heb 4:2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.
This verse tells us that the Israelites’ attitude caused them not to profit from the prophetic word given to them, because they did not combine it with faith. The good news that they received through the prophet Moses was a promise of entering into an earthly rest. The promised good news that we have received is that of entering into an eternal rest.
If you have the attitude of faith, the attitude of obedience will need to accompany your faith. The prophetic word you receive brings the necessary understanding to obey and do God’s will with faith and obedience present in your life. Patience will also be necessary to inherit the promises received by your prophecy.
Hebrews 6:11-12,15 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises … And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
If you choose to receive God’s word of prophecy with an attitude of faith, obedience and patience, you will need to protect your heart from pride. An attitude of humility, meekness and submission to one another in love, is very important. If someone prophesies a true word from God, and your response is an attitude of anger, doubt, resentment, criticism, self justification or arrogance, you will reveal immaturity or, even worse, a wrong spirit. A bad attitude rising up out of ignorance or hardness of heart will neutralise much of what God wants to accomplish by the prophetic word spoken. It is important for you to have a witness in your heart to a prophecy spoken over your life. The way you bear witness is the same way you would bear witness to the truth that you are a child of God, by the Holy Spirit.
Rom 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.
It is the Spirit that must bear witness with our spirits. The reason that many people respond with a bad attitude is because what was prophesied does not confirm their theology, or they do not like what was said, and consequently their emotions react negatively to the prophecy. We must not bear witness to a prophetic utterance with our soulish minds according to our theological beliefs, or our personal opinions, desires or goals. Our traditions, beliefs and strong opinions are not a true witness to prophetic truth. I once called out a young man in a meeting and began to prophesy the future will of God for his life. Part of the message that was prophesied was that God would cause him to walk in the power of the Spirit, and that signs, wonders and miracles would follow his ministry, I could see that the young man’s attitude held a mixture of pride, anger, doubt, resentment, criticism and arrogance. He stormed out the building. I was later to learn that he was part of a denomination that believed that there were no more miracles for our day, and that speaking in other tongues was no longer applicable to the church today. With that attitude, and without repentance in the young man’s life, it is very unlikely that God would be able to accomplish His will for that young man.
There are some people who reject prophecy because what they receive is not a confirmation of something already in their hearts. It is taught to some that prophecy is only for confirmation. This is the ideal, but not the real. It is easier to ‘bear witness’ if a prophecy is a confirmation of what has already been spoken or is already in our spirits. However there is no indication in scripture that this needs to be the case. In fact, there are many cases of prophecy where the words spoken were not in confirmation of what was already known.
One was through the prophet Agabus to a local church, as recorded in Acts 11, where he predicted that a great famine was coming upon the entire Roman world. The decision to send relief to the believers in Judea, made subsequent to the word spoken, makes it clear that this was a fresh word with no previous indication from God.
Acts 11:28-30 Now in these days there came down prophets from Jerusalem to Antioch. And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius. And the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren that dwelt in Judea: which also they did, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.
A second instance is that of Peter on the rooftop where he received revelation regarding the Gentiles, a revelation which was completely new to the church of that time, so much so that, subsequent to his obedience to the vision, he had to give an account of his actions regarding salvation for the Gentiles, to the Church in Jerusalem.
Acts 10:17-20 Now while Peter was much perplexed in himself what the vision which he had seen might mean, behold, the men that were sent by Cornelius, having made inquiry for Simon’s house, stood before the gate, and called and asked whether Simon, who was surnamed Peter, were lodging there. And while Peter thought on “the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men seek you. But arise, and get down, and go with them, nothing doubting: for I have sent them.”
We are not suggesting that God will not confirm his word or that it is wrong to ask for confirmation, but it is error to teach that the prophetic word should only be for confirmation. One of the scriptures used in support of the view that prophecy must only be for confirmation is taken from 2 Corinthians 13 : 1. “This will be the third time that I am coming to you. By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.”
This scripture has nothing to do with prophecy, but everything to do with judicial cases that would require witnesses. The Mosaic law insisted on there being witnesses in all cases that come before a judge. It was necessary to have at least two witnesses to confirm an accusation against a person. Paul was quoting from Deuteronomy 19:5. It was not quoted in reference to prophecy.
There is a real necessity for prophecy to be recorded, read and meditated upon. Paul told Timothy to meditate over his personal prophecy so that everything spoken would be made manifest and become profitable to the whole body of Christ (1 Timothy 4 : 14, 15). It is obviously not possible to meditate on the promise that God has given you through prophecy, unless it is recorded or written down. In every church I visit, if the people are not familiar with the principles governing the prophetic, I ensure that my team have ensured recordings will be available, as well as equipment for recording every word of personal prophecy over each individual. This helps to be able to judge the prophecy if the person does not clearly understand, and for the individual to be able to meditate on the promise so that they might run with it (Habukkuk 2:2). This procedure also helps to protect me and makes me accountable for what I have said.
Don’t let your own bad attitude or the negative attitudes of others rob you of your peace, delay God’s plans for your life and become the ultimate dream thieves!!
Rev 19:10b Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus Christ is the spirit of prophecy!
In His love,
Tweet Post a Comment