Prophetic Word or Analytical Assessment?
“If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God ….” (KJV)
“If anyone speaks, let it be as it were the very words of God….” (HNV)
— 1 Peter 4:11
I’ve had to learn the hard way to clearly state whether I am speaking a prophetic word of the Lord into a situation or merely an analytical assessment — an opinion — coming out of general good judgment or wisdom. People don’t always understand which is which, if we don’t clearly state, “The Lord said to me, ‘__________,'” versus, “I think this is what happening, but I don’t have a specific word from God about it.” But I’ve also had to learn the hard way not to be quick in volunteering analytical assessments without praying them through and getting the counsel of the Lord.
It is easy, and common, for prophetic people to jumble together a mixture of a true prophetic word and an interpretation that is mostly analytical assessment. We have to draw the line between the two, or our words take on too many impurities. The actual prophetic word comes from the Lord, of course, but when we add to it, based on what we see and hear with our physical eyes and ears, we have tacked on an assessment of the situation which may indeed be accurate – but then again, it may not. We have only limited information available from our physical senses, so we must be careful not to jump to conclusions.
There is nothing wrong with speaking forth an assessment, as long as we state clearly that that is all it is. But often it is better not to speak, if we are not sure. It’s OK to say, “Let me get back to you on that. I am not certain what God’s counsel is yet.”
We have a classic example in the Bible of a tried and true prophet of the Lord who fell into giving a seemingly wise bit of counsel, but he did not ask God first, and ended up having to take back what he had said:
Now, … as David sat in his house, … David said to Nathan the prophet, “Look, I dwell in a house of cedars, but the ark of the covenant of the LORD remains under curtains.”
Then Nathan said to David, “Do all that is in your heart; for God is with you.”
And … the same night, … the word of God came to Nathan, saying, “Go and tell David my servant, ‘Thus says the LORD: You shall not build me a house to dwell in.'”
– 1 Chronicles 17:1-4
Nathan based his original counsel on very real and accurate things: he saw the favor of God upon David’s life, and he knew that David had a right heart attitude toward the Lord. But there were spiritual factors that he missed in his limited understanding. God later revealed that because David had been a man of war who had shed much blood, he would not be allowed to build the temple. His son, Solomon, a man of peace and rest, was more appropriately the one to build it. There were certain aspects of Solomon and his building of the temple which were also symbolic types of the coming Messiah and the building of the Church (1 Chronicles 22:6-10). Nathan could not know how important these factors were in God’s sight, merely based on general wisdom and appearance.
We want to speak from a position of having the mind of Christ, rather than hastily giving opinions which seem right to our own thinking. No matter how close we are to the Lord, this is something we will always have to watch over carefully, as long as we dwell in our mortal bodies.
Next time we will talk about bringing our words into alignment with God.
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Next: Part 3 — Bringing Our Words into Alignment with God
Speaking as the Oracles of God & Resisting Negative Words audio teaching (CD or mp3 download)