One might expect a post entitled “Prophetic Perspectives” to talk about what is coming or how to understand current headlines in light of biblical prophecy. However, I want to talk about something more important, the posture of our hearts. In a recent post I wrote about the opportunity to have a ‘new bible’ by having a different perspective. I want to explore that concept further by highlighting practical ways of engaging in and going beyond ‘seeing’ the kingdom (Jn. 3:3) to ‘entering’ the kingdom (Jn. 3:5).
Most of us love a good mystery show? Police and detective shows are popular and in various iterations have been for a long time. What makes shows like ‘Monk’ of recent years or ‘The Mentalist’ or ‘Elementary’ popular? Much of the popularity arises from the amazing skill or abilities of the main characters. The key characters in each show looks at the same scene or set of circumstances as the rest of the characters, yet they see different things and come to different conclusions. Does their skill lie in having a different set of eyes or looking through similar eyes with a different perspective?
If we anchor this concept back to scripture we can see that Ezekiel was given an opportunity to see differently.
1 The hand of the LORD came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. 2 Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. 3 And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” So I answered, “O Lord GOD, You know.” 4 Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! 5 Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live.” Ezekiel 37:1-5 (NKJV)
Ezekiel was given the opportunity to look at the scene and circumstances and see what everyone else would see, dry bones, no life. However, Yahweh wanted to give Ezekiel a new perspective. So when asked a question with an apparently obvious answer Ezekiel went through a perspective shift and wisely said, “O Lord GOD, You know.”
Most of us know that it is easy to identify dry bones; or in many cases prophesy death instead of life. As Francis Frangipane has well said, “All it takes to find problems in the church is one good eye and a carnal mind.” Francis is here talking about our propensity to think from a natural perspective with an unrenewed mind.
Yet how many of us enjoy having someone come alongside us and discourage us? Do we find it uplifting and life giving? What about the Ezekiel option? If we know Jesus and have the Holy Spirit living inside of us then in most problem situations we enter into us He is asking us a question, ‘Son/daughter of God, can these bones live?’ In the place of discouragement we have the opportunity to release life? After all we are told,
1 Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 2 For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. 3 But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. 4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. 1 Corinthians 14:1-4 (NKJV)
31 For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. 1 Corinthians 14:31 (NKJV)
We learn from these passages that we are to pursue prophecy and that all believers can prophesy. There is a distinction between the New Testament office of the prophet and the simple gift of prophecy, a bit like ducks and birds. All ducks are birds (we can all prophesy) but not all birds are ducks (not all who prophesy are prophets). Prophesying at the most basic level is dialing down into our spirit, hearing His heart, and speaking His heart into the situation or circumstance in someone’s life, normally used as Paul says for edification, exhortation/encouragement and comfort. The qualifier is I think it is easy to just be nice, I think it is far more helpful and effective to hear His heart and speak that because sometimes edification or encouragement is challenging people to change rather than comforting them in a wrong place or heart attitude. Not all personal prophecy feels ‘good’ in the moment but if the heart of the giver is right and the recipient takes and weighs it before the Lord the fruit can be very good.
In future posts I will dig a little deeper into this from a scriptural perspective and share some examples, whether dreams or words in the moment.
So, more to come in the weeks to come…
If you have stories to share that you think would help other readers please post them or email to me and I can do the post.