How to Know a pure prophet of God
“3 “Will you go with me to Ramoth-gilead?” King Ahab of Israel asked King Jehoshaphat of Judah. Jehoshaphat replied, “Why, of course! You and I are as one, and my troops are your troops. We will certainly join you in battle.”
4 Then Jehoshaphat added, “But first let’s find out what the Lord says.”
5 So the king of Israel summoned the prophets, 400 of them, and asked them, “Should we go to war against Ramoth-gilead, or should I hold back?”
They all replied, “Yes, go right ahead! God will give the king victory.”
6 But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there not also a prophet of the Lord here? We should ask him the same question.”
7 The king of Israel replied to Jehoshaphat, “There is one more man who could consult the Lord for us, but I hate him. He never prophesies anything but trouble for me! His name is Micaiah son of Imlah.”
Jehoshaphat replied, “That’s not the way a king should talk! Let’s hear what he has to say.”
8 So the king of Israel called one of his officials and said, “Quick! Bring Micaiah son of Imlah.”
9 King Ahab of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah, dressed in their royal robes, were sitting on thrones at the threshing floor near the gate of Samaria. All of Ahab’s prophets were prophesying there in front of them.
10 One of them, Zedekiah son of Kenaanah, made some iron horns and proclaimed, “This is what the Lord says: With these horns you will gore the Arameans to death!”
11 All the other prophets agreed. “Yes,” they said, “go up to Ramoth-gilead and be victorious, for the Lord will give the king victory!”
12 Meanwhile, the messenger who went to get Micaiah said to him, “Look, all the prophets are promising victory for the king. Be sure that you agree with them and promise success.”
13 But Micaiah replied, “As surely as the Lord lives, I will say only what my God says.”
14 When Micaiah arrived before the king, Ahab asked him, “Micaiah, should we go to war against Ramoth-gilead, or should I hold back?”
Micaiah replied sarcastically, “Yes, go up and be victorious, for you will have victory over them!”
15 But the king replied sharply, “How many times must I demand that you speak only the truth to me when you speak for the Lord?”
16 Then Micaiah told him, “In a vision I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, like sheep without a shepherd. And the Lord said, ‘Their master has been killed.[a] Send them home in peace.’”
17 “Didn’t I tell you?” the king of Israel exclaimed to Jehoshaphat. “He never prophesies anything but trouble for me.”
18 Then Micaiah continued, “Listen to what the Lord says! I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the armies of heaven around him, on his right and on his left.
19 And the Lord said, ‘Who can entice King Ahab of Israel to go into battle against Ramoth-gilead so he can be killed?’“There were many suggestions,
20 and finally a spirit approached the Lord and said, ‘I can do it!’“‘How will you do this?’ the Lord asked.
21 “And the spirit replied, ‘I will go out and inspire all of Ahab’s prophets to speak lies.’ “‘You will succeed,’ said the Lord. ‘Go ahead and do it.’
22 “So you see, the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouths of your prophets. For the Lord has pronounced your doom.”
23 Then Zedekiah son of Kenaanah walked up to Micaiah and slapped him across the face. “Since when did the Spirit of the Lord leave me to speak to you?” he demanded.
24 And Micaiah replied, “You will find out soon enough when you are trying to hide in some secret room!”
25 “Arrest him!” the king of Israel ordered. “Take him back to Amon, the governor of the city, and to my son Joash.
26 Give them this order from the king: ‘Put this man in prison, and feed him nothing but bread and water until I return safely from the battle!’”
27 But Micaiah replied, “If you return safely, it will mean that the Lord has not spoken through me!” Then he added to those standing around, “Everyone mark my words!””
Here we see, 2 Chronicles coming together to talk about going to battle, Jehoshaphat and Ahab they called 400 “prophets’ in to ask what the Lord thought about them going to battle and out of 400 Jehoshaphat picked up that none of them gave the word of the Lord because he asks isn’t there a prophet of the Lord anywhere? Ahab responds yes but I hate him because he never tells me good words. Jehoshaphat sends for him anyways the prophet was Micaiah In verse 11 we see them begin to test the prophets integrity (purity) they tell him to tell the kings what they want to hear but in verse 13 we see the prophets response he says I will speak what the Lord tells me to speak! Reminds me a lot of society today people trust prophets and men of God as long as they are telling them what they want to hear as opposed of the true word of the Lord! Out of 400 so called prophets none of them had the integrity or purity to operate properly in this situation but Micaiah rises up and shows what true integrity and purity has to do with being a true prophet of God. if he had fallen into the trap of saying what they wanted to hear he would have done a disservice to everyone involved and lost his integrity and purity. Once the prophet delivers the word of the Lord you see them attack the prophet still he maintains his integrity and purity through smacks and imprisonment but he stays true to the word of the Lord and his assignment. If we are going to be successful in our giftings and offices such as that of prophet we must have the integrity and purity because people will see right through it even if what we deliver is accurate the power of God will not back or support half hearted prophets, He will rather Expose them. Facing imprisonment Micaiah gets to say Mark my words because His Obedience, integrity, and purity Marked the word of God that he released. I find it also interesting that later on in verse 29 Ahab says I will hide and wear a disguise so no one will know it’s me, (sounds familiar people thinking a disguise will hide them from the Lord’s word) but as we read on to see an arrow still finds him seemingly against every odd. Reminds me of Isaiah 55:11 NLT It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it. The Word of the Lord will accomplish just what He sent it for no matter how hard we try to run from it disguise ourselves, and God uses His true pure prophets that will speak His word just as He said it no matter how hard it is or who likes them after or whatever affliction they remain true to the Word of the Lord and the assignment in which He has given as we see here with Micaiah. Micaiah Means “who is like YAHWEH?” in Hebrew. What a name!
Some of the key virtues that will be present in a prophet are as follows.
1. Power of the Spirit
Prophets must be full of the power of the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, a prophet cannot function and will be just a babbling voice. The scriptures are clear that prophets must have the Spirit of God upon them.
By your Spirit you admonished them through your prophets (Neh 9:30).
I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his spirit on them (Num 11:29).
I will pour out my Spirit on all people Your sons and your daughters will prophesy, (Acts 2:17).
His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied (Luke 1:67).
2. Total Obedience
A prophet must be totally obedient to God. The prophetic ministry requires a higher standard of holiness than other ministries. 1 Kings 13 tells of a young prophet, who started well, but ended in disaster, because he failed to obey the word that God had spoken to him. All prophets should read this passage frequently. This is what the Lord says: “You have defied the word of the Lord and have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. You came back and ate bread and drank water in the place where he told you not to eat or drink. Therefore your body will not be buried in the tomb of your fathers.” When the man of God had finished eating and drinking, the prophet who had brought him back saddled his donkey for him. As he went on his way, a lion met him on the road and killed him, and his body was thrown down on the road, with both the donkey and the lion standing beside it. Some people who passed by saw the body thrown down there, with the lion standing beside the body, and they went and reported it in the city (1 Kings 13:22-25). Balaam did not practice what he preached, but he was clear about obedience to God. But can I say just anything? I must speak only what God puts in my mouth (Num 22:38). Elisha became a prophet by forsaking his life as a farmer and becoming an attendant to Elijah. He learned obedience. So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his attendant (1 Kings 19:21).
3. Peace with God
The prophetic person must be at peace with God. They must always speak out of their relationship with God and not out of reaction to a situation. There will be times when a prophet gets it wrong. The solution is to repent and turn back to the Lord. A prophet must keep a short slate with the Lord. God promised protection to Jeremiah, while he had a repentant attitude. Therefore this is what the Lord says: “If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me; if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be my spokesman. Let this people turn to you, but you must not turn to them. I will make you a wall to this people, a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you to rescue and save you,” declares the Lord (Jer 15:19,20).
Waiting is an important aspect of the prophetic ministry. Much time will be spent waiting on God. Even more time will be spent waiting for his word to be fulfilled. Those who are impatient will become very frustrated, so patience is essential. It comes out of a dedicated commitment to God and his purposes. The Bible is clear that word received and spoken can take a long time to be fulfilled. He replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end (Dan 12:9).
5. Integrity and honesty
The first loyalty of a prophet is to the truth. To have any credibility, truth and integrity must permeate a prophet’s entire life.
Pride kills prophets. Vanity is the greatest threat to prophetic ministry. God will have to establish a deep work of humility in the life of anyone he intends to speak for him. Humility is essential. Paul reminded the church in Corinth that even the most mature prophet has only partial knowledge. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears (1 Cor 13:8-10).
Old Testament prophets are often portrayed as harsh, uncompromising men. This is incorrect: they were uncompromising but they were never harsh. They shed more tears than priests and kings, because compassion was at the heart of their ministry. God is love, so his truth must always be spoken in love. The harder the message the prophet is speaking the more important that it is spoken with compassion. Jeremiah was a compassionate prophet who often wept over the words that the Lord gave him to speak. Since my people are crushed, I am crushed; I mourn, and horror grips me. Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people? Oh, that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears! I would weep day and night for the slain of my people (Jer 8:21-9:1).
8.Tenacity and commitment
All prophets will meet with opposition. Jeremiah is an example of a prophet who was treated cruelly. Shephatiah son of Mattan, Gedaliah son of Pashhur, Jehucal son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur son of Malkijah heard what Jeremiah was telling all the people when he said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague, but whoever goes over to the Babylonians will live. He will escape with his life; he will live.’ And this is what the Lord says: ‘This city will certainly be handed over to the army of the king of Babylon, who will capture it.’ ” Then the officials said to the king, “This man should be put to death. He is discouraging the soldiers who are left in this city, as well as all the people, by the things he is saying to them. This man is not seeking the good of these people but their ruin.” “He is in your hands,” King Zedekiah answered. “The king can do nothing to oppose you.” So they took Jeremiah and put him into the cistern of Malkijah, the king’s son, which was in the courtyard of the guard. They lowered Jeremiah by ropes into the cistern; it had no water in it, only mud, and Jeremiah sank down into the mud (Jer 38:1-6).
Sometimes the most intense opposition comes from the people who know the prophet well. Jeremiah was warned not to trust his own family. “If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan? Your brothers, your own family – even they have betrayed you; they have raised a loud cry against you. Do not trust them, though they speak well of you (Jer 12:5,6).
Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honour in his own country (John 4:44).
Prophets must meet opposition with tenacity and total commitment to God’s purpose. Once called, a prophet must be totally committed to their ministry. They cannot swerve to the left or the right. Loyalty to God must never be shaken, whatever the circumstances. Prophets are often task focused: suffering from a compulsion to fulfil their calling, no matter what it will cost them. Jeremiah understood that he should not let anything stop him from fulfilling his calling. O Lord, you deceived me, and I was deceived; you overpowered me and prevailed. I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me. Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the Lord has brought me insult and reproach all day long. But if I say, “I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. I hear many whispering, “Terror on every side! Report him! Let’s report him!” All my friends are waiting for me to slip, saying, “Perhaps he will be deceived; then we will prevail over him and take our revenge on him.” (Jer 20:7-10). God told Ezekiel that he would need similar tenacity in the face of opposition. He said to me, “Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.” As he spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet, and I heard him speaking to me. He said: “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their fathers have been in revolt against me to this very day. The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says.’ And whether they listen or fail to listen-for they are a rebellious house-they will know that a prophet has been among them. And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briars and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house. You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious (Ezek 2:1-7).
9. Boldness and courage
Loyalty to God will manifest in courage and boldness. There are numerous examples of prophets standing boldly in the face of the political powers. They were often in danger of losing their lives. The Lord told Ezekiel as part of his call that he would need great boldness. He then said to me: “Son of man, go now to the house of Israel and speak my words to them. You are not being sent to a people of obscure speech and difficult language, but to the house of Israel- not to many peoples of obscure speech and difficult language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely if I had sent you to them, they would have listened to you. But the house of Israel is not willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to me, for the whole house of Israel is hardened and obstinate. But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house.” And he said to me, “Son of man, listen carefully and take to heart all the words I speak to you (Ezek 3:4-10). Fulfilling the prophetic ministry will take great boldness. This is doubly true, when the church is weak or rebellious or simply disinterested in the prophetic voice. Fear of man is the great enemy of God’s truth. The only antidote for the fear of man is the fear of God. God has promised that he will protect those who serve and obey him. The following passages are just a few examples from the scriptures. As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike these people with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked. Elisha told them, “This is not the road and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are looking for.” And he led them to Samaria. After they entered the city, Elisha said, “Lord, open the eyes of these men so they can see.” Then the Lord opened their eyes and they looked, and there they were, inside Samaria (2 Kings 6:18-20). When they were but few in number, few indeed, and strangers in it, they wandered from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another. He allowed no man to oppress them; for their sake he rebuked kings: “Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.” (1 Chron 16:19-22; Ps 105:12-15).
Prophets are Different
Prophets don’t fit in easily like other people. They often seem to be off on a tangent, worrying about something that most people don’t care about. The prophet is often out of step with the mood of the times. They often seem to be misfits. However, be careful! Being different does not make you a prophet. The same symptoms are present in people who are rebellious or have a bad attitude. Many difficult and contentious Christians think they are prophetic, when they really just have sin issues that they have refused to deal with. In the end, they give the prophetic ministry a bad name.
Prophets: Why we need these traits:
“9 So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and waited at the door of Elisha’s house.
10 But Elisha sent a messenger out to him with this message: “Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of your leprosy.”
11 But Naaman became angry and stalked away. “I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!” he said. “I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the LORD his God and heal me! 12 Aren’t the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than any of the rivers of Israel? Why shouldn’t I wash in them and be healed?” So Naaman turned and went away in a rage.”
Here we see Naaman come to the prophet epecting a show and a miriacle! And when he don’t get it he becomes very angry at the prophet, if we notice throughout the story though the two never even speak to each other till Naaman becomes obedient and receives his miracle, that shows maturity on the part of Elisha the prophet he sends the word/instruction of the Lord and stays out of it, he doesn’t stay on Naaman or even talk to him, he leaves the “ball in his court” and that requires so many of these traits in order to achieve.
“15 Then Naaman and his entire party went back to find the man of God. They stood before him, and Naaman said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. So please accept a gift from your servant.” 16 But Elisha replied, “As surely as the LORD lives, whom I serve, I will not accept any gifts.” And though Naaman urged him to take the gift, Elisha refused.”
This was a testament to Elisha’s character and integrity, he would not under any means take money or gifts for doing the Lords work.
“20 But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, the man of God, said to himself, “My master should not have let this Aramean get away without accepting any of his gifts. As surely as the LORD lives, I will chase after him and get something from him.” 21 So Gehazi set off after Naaman. When Naaman saw Gehazi running after him, he climbed down from his chariot and went to meet him. “Is everything all right?” Naaman asked. 22 “Yes,” Gehazi said, “but my master has sent me to tell you that two young prophets from the hill country of Ephraim have just arrived. He would like 75 pounds[d] of silver and two sets of clothing to give to them.” 23 “By all means, take twice as much[e] silver,” Naaman insisted. He gave him two sets of clothing, tied up the money in two bags, and sent two of his servants to carry the gifts for Gehazi. 24 But when they arrived at the citadel,[f] Gehazi took the gifts from the servants and sent the men back. Then he went and hid the gifts inside the house. 25 When he went in to his master, Elisha asked him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?” “I haven’t been anywhere,” he replied. 26 But Elisha asked him, “Don’t you realize that I was there in spirit when Naaman stepped down from his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to receive money and clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and cattle, and male and female servants? 27 Because you have done this, you and your descendants will suffer from Naaman’s leprosy forever.” When Gehazi left the room, he was covered with leprosy; his skin was white as snow.”
Here we see a few things, first we have to be careful who we allow with us! The payment thing had already been settled but that wasn’t good enough for Gehazi he wanted to profit on not even his gift but that of the Prophet he sat/worked under, how often do we see this? Not to say God doesn’t open the door for seed to be sowed at the time of miracles but if God says no He means no! Another thing to point out Elisha was so in tune to his Gift and the spirit of God that he didn’t even have to go find his attendant, he watched his attendants mistake in the spirit. Also we see a good set of Elisha’s Maturity and Integrity by how he handles his attendant Gehazi. We have to know who or what is in our camp, to remain pure you and your intimate connections have to be pure! Gehazi fell into Greed and Lied straight to his leaders face and his punishment for his unclean heart was to be exposed as unclean outwardly through leprosy.