The Gifts Part 49
Now that we’ve discussed what the gift of prophecy is not, it is only fitting that we begin discussing what the gift of prophecy is. Although the following might anger some, it must be said, having the gift of prophecy does not necessarily make one a prophet, just as changing a tire does not necessarily make one a mechanic, or changing a light bulb an electrician. When we begin to understand the differences as well as the relationship between the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the offices to which men are called of God, we will have the aptitude and the ability to understand, to accept, and to use without reservation the gifts of the Holy Spirit in the measure that He sees fit to entrust us with.
There is a difference between the office of a prophet, and the gift of prophecy, and although these two have many attributes in common, they are also very different from each other. When we do not understand the difference between the office of a prophet and the gift of prophecy, when we clump them both together attempting to define them as one and the same, not only will we have great difficulty in interpreting scripture, but practical and ongoing problems within the household of faith as well.
While the office of a prophet was more widely attributed to men in the Old Testament, the gift of prophecy is poured out and distributed in the New Testament. It is only men with a special calling that held the office of prophet, and comparatively speaking the number of men who held this office was small indeed. These few men of faith which the Bible identifies were men in which multiple gifts operated simultaneously and in perpetuity. These men did not operate in gifts once in a while, but they saw, heard and perceived the things of God throughout their lives from the moment they were called.
The first such prophet in the Old Testament was Abraham, a man who was God’s friend, and to whom God spoke audibly.
Genesis 22:1, “Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to Him, ‘Abraham!’ and he said, ‘Here I am.’”
If we study the Scriptures diligently we come to understand that although these men were called of God to a special office, they by no means got to bypass testing, they by no means got to bypass obedience, sacrifice, or humility. God tested Abraham, as He tested all the men He chose, and as He continues to test all the men He chooses, for only in testing can we show our faithfulness.
Perhaps the greatest prophet of the Old Testament was Moses, one of whom the word of God itself says that no other has arisen in Israel like him.
Deuteronomy 34:10-12, “But since there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, in all the signs and wonders which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, before Pharaoh, before all his servants, and in all his land, and by all that mighty power and all the great terror which Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.”
Now here was a man who went from being a prince of Egypt, to being a shepherd for forty years, wandering the desert, herding his sheep, and being molded and chiseled of God so that he might carry out that which God had planned for him. The years in the desert places are never easy. The years spent being looked down upon, the years spent being disregarded, despised, and even pitied by those who once knew you as great in the eyes of the world as God burns the pride and the self and the flesh out of you will be some of the most painful of your existence, but know that there is a purpose and a reason and a plan that He has foreordained, and when the purging is done, when the wandering is at an end, God will reveal His plan to you and you will understand.
Yes, it would be easier if God would tell us beforehand, ‘I have a plan for you, but first you must spend a few years being humbled.’ But God never reveals His plan to us before He purges us; it is only after we have been made those vessels of honor that He can use that God reveals our duty toward Him.
Imagine Moses, out in the desert, remembering all that he had been in Egypt, having to contend himself with being a shepherd, not knowing if this was to be his lot in life for the rest of his days. I’m certain that the first few months, or even the first few years, perhaps even as long as the first decade Moses waited with anticipation for the Lord to call him, to speak to him, to instruct him, to send him, but after twenty or thirty years of doing nothing more than chasing after sheep and goats and rams, chances are all dreams and hopes of being somebody significant within the annals of history dwindled and fizzled into nothingness.
These forty years of Moses’ life were one of the greatest teachable moments for me as a young man, because they caused me to realize that only when we’ve abandoned our own dreams, ambitions, desires, and wants, can God point to us and say, ‘you are ready, you must go.’ As long as I keep thinking that I’m special, as long as I keep thinking that I am destined for greatness, as long as I keep thinking that I will do great and mighty things, God will leave me in the desert. It is only when the self has died, it is only when my heart and mind, as one, believe that I can do nothing, but my Lord and God can do all things that we come to that place of readiness, wherein God can use us for His glory and not our own.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.