The Pain of the Prophet: True Prophets vs. False Prophets
There is so much that is tossed around in
the name of the prophetic today. That which
is truly prophetic is in a class by itself.
It is called total identification with
the heart of God.
The true prophet is birthed for a season of
calamity and lives set apart unto God.
His or her life is watermarked with pain,
for a prophet sees what will happen
if people cannot hear and obey God.
A prophet lives alone upon a hill, looking
for danger, for the first wisps of smoke
that spell only one thing: "Fire!" He
calls first for the fire of God to enliven
and purify through repentance. Unheeded, his
calls for fire will bring warning of the
fire of God that will burn in judgment.
The prophet, therefore, carries a message
that few would want to hear unless
they care for the state of their souls,
even their eternal lives.
One can ignore the cry of "Fire!" but
that does not make the fire cease its
burning or enable the prophet to cease
his commission. Indeed, for a prophet
to be proved right, a certain judgment
must fall, a sure chastisement administered,
a corrective work applied. If this is
not painful to the prophet then he is
not a true prophet and lacks the heart
of God for true restoration.
There are myriads of prophets who like
to pronounce gloom and doom, but which
of them has the heart to bear the pain
of interceding for a genuine repentance?
A true prophet must desire, above all,
that his or her clarion call will bring a
genuine return to God. It is easy to rail,
it is agony to stand and watch and call
people who are not listening back to
It is a fearsome and holy task to enter
into the very heart of God as He calls
His people back to Himself. The
heart of the prophet must echo forth the
eternal love of God. There can be no
joy at the idea of judgment coming, even
when it appears inevitable, even when
the prophet himself is harmed or stoned
or even killed in the process.
God does not wish to punish. He takes
no pleasure in judgment. He does not
wait and watch for wrongdoing in
order to find pleasure in chastising
waywardness. A prophet MUST have this
tenor of heart or he does not stand
Consider Jonah. He understood God,
he understood the prophetic role,
but he did not have the heart of God.
He understood quite well that for God
to reap a family of restored hearts,
that he would have to be proved wrong.
And if the people of Nineveh did not turn to
God, Jonah should find no pleasure
in their chastisement.
Job failed on both points: he was not
willing to be proved wrong for the
sake of another. He was unwilling to
bear a message of judgment unless it
ended in judgment. He did not want mercy
to intervene for it would make him
appear lesser in the eyes of others.
He did not have the heart of God.
One gets the impression that he preferred
that the people be judged so he could
be proved "right." With "right" like that
I would hate to see what wrong might look
How many prophets have this kind of
heart? How many prophets are unwilling
to bear the pain of their calling
because they are not able to identify
with God as He ever so patiently waits
for His people to return to Him?
God does not ask of a prophet something
He does not endure Himself. People
constantly accuse God of allowing evil
and not putting an end to suffering.
God waits and waits for us to return
to Him. If He was a God who delighted
in meting out punishment, the earth
would be devoid of human life for
all of us would have been destroyed.
That which the prophet speaks should
call people back to God. What becomes
of the prophet, what his reputation
is, what accolades or resistances
are thrown upon him, should matter
not one whit to him: it comes with the
territory of being a prophet.
The words of a prophet are born and
spearheaded out of his or her own
repentance, they are to be ministered in
humility. The true prophet takes no
pleasure in being right. For "being right"
is about words and reputations and
and pride. A true prophet must
bear great pain in a hidden place.
He must live and die for the
kind of reconcilation that Jesus
lived and died for. It is not
for the fainthearted.
The true prophet must be a deaf
and blind servant of the Lord.
The prophet who truly sees must
be blind to all that would
stop him from his mission.
The prophet who truly hears must
be deaf to the reasonings of man,
to the hurtful taunts that will fall
upon his ears, and the painful rejections
that will fall upon his life. He must
be able to accept the pain inflicted
on his heart by those who do not see,
or worse yet, do not want to see.
He must have one prayer:
"Father, forgive them, for they
do not know what they are doing."
This kind of pain is part and parcel
of the prophetic call. That is the
hard part. The glorious part is that
those prophets who identify with
the heart of God, get the heart
of God planted forever within
them. The medium becomes the
message. The prophet becomes
the priest. A heart of stone
is replaced with a heart of
flesh, and that heart is
a redeemed heart, made in
the image of the heart of
Jesus. That would make it all
worthwhile, wouldn't it?
So to all those true prophets
who happen upon this article,
to everyone who thinks
they have a prophetic message,
search deeply to see whether
you are able to administer
it with the heart of God.
You will know the answer
by the amount of pain that
surrounds its delivery. Let us
trust that you will share the
joy of watching the Lamb
receive the fruits of His
labor. Anything less is just not