When True Prophets Completely Miss It

by | Aug 7, 2014 | Blogs, The Plumb Line

How can you tell a true prophet from a false one? That’s a big question, and it doesn’t have a simple answer—not in New Testament times, anyway.

It seemed simple enough in the Old Testament, didn’t it? Deuteronomy lays it out in no uncertain terms: “But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’—when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him” (Deut. 28:20-22).

And it gets worse: “But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die'” (Deut. 18:20). Of course, we aren’t living with this same standard today or we’d see plenty of Internet, TV and itinerant prophets being carried away in caskets. No, we have a new covenant with God and that includes a new paradigm for prophetic ministry—one that allows grace for innocent mistakes.

Nathan flat out missed it

Indeed, even in Old Testament times, we see God’s grace in prophetic ministry. I’m reminded of the time David was dwelling in his house meditating upon the Lord. God had given him rest from all his enemies. David was talking with the prophet Nathan—the same prophet who later would rebuke him for committing adultery with Bathsheba and setting up the murder of her husband, Uriah the Hittite (2 Sam. 12). David was dismayed because God was dwelling inside tent curtains while he lived in a house of cedar (2 Sam. 7:2).

That’s when Nathan spoke these words from his anointed mouth: “Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you” (2 Sam. 7:3). Although this wasn’t a “thus saith the Lord” type of prophetic word, it was a word of approval from a trusted prophetic voice in David’s life. David was looking for prophetic counsel about his plans to build a house for the Lord, seeking confirmation that it was in God’s will. David seemed to receive that confirmation, but the Lord took steps to correct Nathan’s pure-hearted mistake before the king got too far.

God sent Nathan back to David with a bona fide prophetic word that contradicted his friendly counsel to “do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you.” The Lord did not want David to build him a house but rather committed to establishing David’s throne forever (2 Sam. 7:4-17).

Learning prophetic lessons

There are two lessons we can learn from this incident. First, if you flow in prophetic ministry, you have to be careful not to accidentally lead people astray by sharing your opinion without a disclaimer—and sometimes even with a disclaimer.

In other words, if people know that you flow in prophetic ministry, they will often seek counsel and often take your words as prophetic in nature even if you’re just sharing your opinion from experience or natural wisdom. You could accidentally lead someone astray because they are so desperate for a word from God that they take anything you say as a prophecy.

The larger lesson, though, is the grace of God to correct mistakes in prophetic ministry. Again, although Nathan didn’t preface his encouragement to David with “thus saith the Lord,” he did give David the confirmation he was seeking. David could have charged forth to build a house for God even though it wasn’t the Father’s will.

Be responsible, and let grace abound

Many times in prophetic ministry today, I hear prophecies flat out directing people to buy houses, get married, move to such and such a place, and make other life-altering decisions that are prefaced by “thus saith the Lord.” But many times they flat out miss it and cause plenty of heartache.

Although I’m the last one to encourage people to prophesy about babies and houses without absolute certainty that God is speaking—and even then, I’m not a big fan of those types of prophetic words because of the abuse and error that often trails them—I am grateful that there is grace for those who are growing in their gift. I am grateful that prophets who miss it aren’t put to death. I am grateful for mature prophets that are raising up young prophetic voices who will walk with greater accuracy as they come into greater intimacy with the Lord.

So, no, I’m not excusing irresponsible prophecies—no, not by a long shot. But I am offering a gentle reminder that we don’t need to pick up stones when any prophet—whether immature or seasoned—misses it out of a sincere heart. We need to learn and grow together. Amen.

Click here to download a free chapter of Jennifer’s book, The Making of a Prophet. {eoa}

Jennifer LeClaire is news editor at Charisma. She is also director of IHOP Fort Lauderdale and author of several books, including The Making of a Prophet and The Spiritual Warrior’s Guide to Defeating Jezebel. You can email Jennifer at jennifer.leclaire@charismamedia.com or visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

Mario Murillo: An Era of Mass Soul Winning Has Begun

Mario Murillo: An Era of Mass Soul Winning Has Begun

Read Time: 4 Minutes, 27 Seconds From the very first tent stake we drove into California soil, until now, there has only been one dream. And, after two years, that dream came true in Roseville. Roseville is the victory we have yearned for. It confirms that an era of...

God’s Strategy for His End-Times Church

God’s Strategy for His End-Times Church

Read Time: 2 Minutes 23 Seconds In this webinar, Grant Berry discussed the strategy the Lord is releasing for His end-time plans to reform His Ekklesia/church. God is revealing different focuses of this strategy to various parts of the body, especially as it relates...

How You Can Flow in the River of Living Water

How You Can Flow in the River of Living Water

Read Time: 5 Minutes, 2 Seconds A river is a source of life. As it is in the natural, so it is in the spiritual. Jesus told His disciples that if we believe in Him, "rivers of living water" will flow out from within us, from our hearts. "Anyone who believes in me may...

Cindy Jacobs Prophesies: Trust That He is There

Cindy Jacobs Prophesies: Trust That He is There

Read Time: 2 Minutes 42 Seconds It’s very interesting how the Holy Spirit will use things that you’re going through to not only prophesy to you, but also to prophesy over the body of Christ. In listening to other people and hearing what’s been coming out of their...

Have We Departed From the  Simplicity of Christ?

Have We Departed From the Simplicity of Christ?

Recently I heard a pastor say the following: "When I was pastoring and saw little fruit, I began to call those with potential to reach others for Christ to our home and to mentor them one on one. That's where massive growth happened in the people." Local pastors and...

RECENT ARTICLES

Take the Fight to the Enemy, Before He Strikes at You

Read Time: 3 Minutes 7 Seconds “When the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to seek out David; and when David heard of it, he went down to...
Joyce Meyer: Becoming a Prisoner of Hope

Joyce Meyer: Becoming a Prisoner of Hope

Read Time: 3 Minutes 56 Seconds God is good. And He has a good plan for each of our lives. No matter what may be going on right now, God’s plan is unfolding. In the meantime, Romans 12:12 tells us to “be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer,”...

Victimized By Gaslighting? 5 Steps to Finding Freedom

Victimized By Gaslighting? 5 Steps to Finding Freedom

Read Time: 2 minutes 26 seconds The term "gaslighting" has gone viral across social media this year and Merriam-Webster chose it as their word-of-the-year, saying searches for the word spiked 1,740% in 2022 alone. We're breaking down what the Bible has to say about...

WATCH: Vlad Savchuck: Life, Health and the Bible

WATCH: Vlad Savchuck: Life, Health and the Bible

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZdzLoS3wCM During a recent visit to @HungryGeneration, Pastor Vlad Savchuk asked Bill Wiese to comment on his personal experience applying the Word of God to his own life and health. These same principals hold true for all who read and...

I’m Going Defcon G on the Enemy

I’m Going Defcon G on the Enemy

Read Time: 1 Minute 32 Seconds The last six years have been the best of times and the worst of times. I’ve seen more death, destruction, disease and devastation than I care to remember. I’ve also seen the hand of God move in extraordinary ways. Indeed, sometimes I...

Pin It on Pinterest