Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Responsibility of the Prophetic





Scripture

I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and in my mouth it was sweet as honey; and when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter.
(Revelation 10:10 NASB)
And they said to me, “You must prophesy again concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and kings.”
(Revelation 10:11 NASB)

 

Observation

The scene here parallels that of the prophet Ezekiel. Both John and Ezekiel were to consume the scroll. At first, the scroll is sweet and seems quite appealing, but after it is eaten, a terrible sensation washes over the individual. No longer is it sweet, but it causes great distress, and out of this distress is a responsibility to report the truth of the prophesy. If the people continue on the current path, while enjoying the pleasures of the day, the sweetness of the day, the end result will be terrible destruction.

 

Application


Have you ever had food poisoning? I've had that experience on several occasions while traveling and it is probably the most unpleasant experience of my life. The problem is that the culprit is often something that you really like. You may have eaten a piece of fresh fruit or a vegetable which seemed so sweet and succulent at the time, but little did you know it was harboring a bacteria which was alien to your system. Within a few hours your body is violently trying to reject the little "bug" which had attached itself to the savory item.

There are times when God genuinely shares a prophetic word with us and there is a temptation to hang onto the sweet, savoriness of the fact that God would delight in us and use us for the prophetic. However, just as with John and Ezekiel, the sweetness was short-lived. We are excited to hear from God and to receive a vision for the future and we want to go out and share it with others, until we begin to digest the ramifications. Upon digestion, it is no longer sweet. It's not about us. It's about God. It's about his people. It's about the results of infidelity to a faithful God. And it is painful. And therein lies the responsibility of the prophetic. Both John and Ezekiel were faithful in their obedience to God and recognized that this was not about them personally being recognized as prophets, but about faithfulness to God. They began to digest the truth of the prophecy and realize what it meant for the people around them. The people within their community of faith were going to have to suffer the consequences of their behavior. Choices had been made to enjoy the things of the world, and as a result, they were going to suffer. The pangs of food poisoning overwhelmed them. Their body ached with the pain of knowing what was going to happen to the people whom they and God loved.

God is speaking out to his people today in a prophetic voice, but it is a bittersweet voice. The purpose of the prophetic is to call people back to God, and yet, because so often the people will not respond, it is a prophecy of destruction which is to come. When God speaks to us, we must be willing to be his messengers, but we must also realize the responsibility which comes with that message. Our hearts should break over what we see and understand and we should be willing to intercede on behalf of those around us. That is the responsibility of the prophetic...not just to speak, but to allow the message to reach to our very core, and to be broken, just like Christ, over the state of humanity around us.

Prayer

Lord, please help me to be willing to take the responsibility which comes with seeing the world the way you see the world -- and allowing my heart to break as yours breaks. Amen.

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