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Respect The Prophets, 8/21/14

In our present time in America the body of Christ as a whole is very much out of line with God and his judgments are about to break out at a whole new level because of our sin and disobedience. One of the main ways this state of affairs happens is by the people of God not listening to the prophets. By and large the vast majority of the body of Christ in America doesn't even know who the true prophets are much less listen to them adequately and follow their lead. I have written before about the virtues and benefits of listening to the prophets words from God but there is another aspect to relationship with God's friends that is very important. Prophets are spiritually mature servants of God whom he considers his own personal close friends and so he shares with them his secrets of what he is doing in the world and the prophets serve him and the people by passing those messages along. The goal is to affect the leadership of the people in the good intentions of God for them as shown in the account of Israel being led out of Egypt by Moses:

Hosea 12:13
By a prophet the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt, And by a prophet he was preserved.

So we see that God uses the prophets to preserve his people and hopefully we all have the good sense to want to be preserved. Obviously the role of the prophets is very important to the people of God.

The prophets need to be treated with great respect and the scripture is abundantly clear on how dangerous it can be to fail to do this. Let's take a look at some the accounts in scripture that illustrate this principle that is encapsulated in this passage:

1 Chronicles 16:22
Saying, “Do not touch My anointed ones, And do My prophets no harm.”

Abraham was called God's friend:

Isaiah 41:8
“But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, The descendants of Abraham My friend.

God was very jealous of Abraham needs and boundaries because he was his prophet/friend and the consequences of doing Abraham wrong were potentially very great:

Genesis 20:3-7New King James Version (NKJV)
3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, “Indeed you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.” 4 But Abimelech had not come near her; and he said, “Lord, will You slay a righteous nation also? 5 Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she, even she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and innocence of my hands I have done this.” 6 And God said to him in a dream, “Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart. For I also withheld you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her. 7 Now therefore, restore the man’s wife; FOR HE IS A PROPHET, and he will pray for you and you shall live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.”

So we see how God readily and fearsomely backed up his friend the prophet and protected his interests.

Moses was God's prophet and God was very jealous for him to have the appropriate respect, even from his older sister and ministry partner Miriam:

Numbers 12:1-10New King James Version (NKJV)
12 Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman. 2 So they said, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?” And the Lord heard it. 3 (Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth.) 4 Suddenly the Lord said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, “Come out, you three, to the tabernacle of meeting!” So the three came out. 5 Then the Lord came down in the pillar of cloud and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam. And they both went forward. 6 Then He said,

“Hear now My words:
If there is a prophet among you,
I, the Lord, make Myself known to him in a vision;
I speak to him in a dream.
7 Not so with My servant Moses;
He is faithful in all My house.
8 I speak with him face to face,
Even plainly, and not in dark sayings;
And he sees the form of the Lord.
Why then were you not afraid
To speak against My servant Moses?”

9 So the anger of the Lord was aroused against them, and He departed. 10 And when the cloud departed from above the tabernacle, suddenly Miriam became leprous, as white as snow. Then Aaron turned toward Miriam, and there she was, a leper.

So again we see God coming to the support of his prophet with fearsome jealousy.

God showed up with terrifying clarity on his requirements for treatment of the prophets when King Ahaziah's men failed to show Elijah the proper respect. In this account note how the disrespectful captains and their men get roasted but the respectful captain and his men are spared:

2 Kings 1:9-15New King James Version (NKJV)
9 Then the king sent to him a captain of fifty with his fifty men. So he went up to him; and there he was, sitting on the top of a hill. And he spoke to him: “Man of God, the king has said, ‘Come down!’”
10 So Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, “If I am a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men.” And fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty. 11 Then he sent to him another captain of fifty with his fifty men. And he answered and said to him: “Man of God, thus has the king said, ‘Come down quickly!’” 12 So Elijah answered and said to them, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men.” And the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.
13 Again, he sent a third captain of fifty with his fifty men. And the third captain of fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and pleaded with him, and said to him: “Man of God, please let my life and the life of these fifty servants of yours be precious in your sight. 14 Look, fire has come down from heaven and burned up the first two captains of fifties with their fifties. But let my life now be precious in your sight.” 15 And the angel[a] of the Lord said to Elijah, “Go down with him; do not be afraid of him.” So he arose and went down with him to the king.

This is a most terrifying account of how not to treat the prophets for the rebellious and disrespectful men met God in one of his most terrifying manifestations:

Hebrews 12:29
For our God is a consuming fire.

God dealt very seriously with some mouthy youths for making fun of Elisha for being bald:

2 Kings 2:22-24New King James Version (NKJV)
22 So the water remains healed to this day, according to the word of Elisha which he spoke. 23 Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up the road, some youths came from the city and mocked him, and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!” 24 So he turned around and looked at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the Lord. And two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.

So we again see clearly that God does not play games with the issue of honor and respect due to his friends the prophets.

Then there was a prophet named Jesus.  He said this about Judas Iscariot who was about to betray him:

Matthew 26:24New King James Version (NKJV)

24 The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.”

And it was soon fulfilled:

 Matthew 27:3-5New King James Version (NKJV)

3 Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”

That term “hanged himself” is a reference to a practice of a man running with his sword in hand and diving on its point and impaling himself to death.  The is the same death that king Saul, the persecutor of the prophet David gave himself.  This is why the scripture says of Judas:

Acts 1:16-18New King James Version (NKJV)

16 “Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus; 17 for he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry.” 18 (Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out.

So we see that God’s jealous defense of his prophets is a principle that is not bound to any particular covenant but is an immutable truth.

God is the best friend anyone could have, he defines what true friendship is and he is loyal to his best friends the prophets. There is an order to the family of God and he ordains that his prophets need to be greatly respected. All in the body of Christ are accountable to find out who the prophets are, give them the appropriate respect and follow their leadership. Please do not think you your pastor is your prophet, that is not biblical at all. If you are not on track with this please seek God and ask him what prophets he would have you be listening to and obeying. Not doing this leaves you increasingly at great risk in the times ahead. God bless you today.

-Steve Pursell, 8/21/14


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