“… [the prophet Samuel] looked on [David’s brother] Eliab, and said, Surely the LORD’s anointed is before him. But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:6b-7)
You may be tall. You may be big. You may be handsome. You may be cute. But none of these will determine your stand before the Lord. According to the above quote, it is not how you look on the outside that determines your stand before God, but rather how you look on the inside. Or, as the song says, “The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart” (good song).
Now the above quote also fascinates me, and I find is highly instructional, because it (hopefully) wipes out the concept that a true prophet of God must be perfect in every way and can’t make mistakes. You know, there is a teaching in the church today that says, “If these so called prophets who say they are prophets were really prophets after all, then they wouldn’t make any mistakes!” The critics of the prophetic movement of today are ready to dismiss the whole thing on this one point alone. Have they read 1 Samuel 16:7, in which the Lord rebukes the prophet Samuel on account of his error? For Samuel did not discern with true discernment, but rather with fleshly (outward) discernment.
You might say, Samuel was predispositioned to believing that David’s brother Eliab was God’s “chosen” king, perhaps on account of what Samuel had come to believe about kings when he was younger. “A king is handsome, strong, tall, mighty, etc …”. God’s response? “Samuel, you are wrong! I don’t look outwardly, like you are doing right now.” What a blow for Samuel … and it’s written down for us all to see! Praise the Lord for that, because it’s highly instructional, and helps us to understand that true prophets do indeed make innocent blunders! Do you know something? They are still prophets, called of God, for as it says in yet another passage of Scripture, “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” (Romans 11:29) In other words, once a prophet, always a prophet!
Are you a prophet? Don’t dismiss your call on account of one or two or more errors. But don’t gloat in errors, either. If you have made errors, acknowledge them, and try not to make them again. Most errors in prophecy occur because we are too quick to judge, and because we are vulnerable to receiving a bad word based on false presuppositions. First, let’s deal with being too quick to judge. We may actually hear or receive a true word from God, but because we are too quick to judge and interpret that word, we mess it up. Be careful not to throw your own interpretation into what God shows you. If you do go beyond what God shows you, then, if you really are a prophet, then God will show you that. When God shows you, be ready to listen. True prophets who don’t listen to what God is telling them risk losing their lives.
Second, prophets make errors because of false presuppositions. A classic error is that of Samuel above. He believed that kings were of a certain outward type. Because Samuel’s heart was very soft, God was able to correct him right then and there. That’s what made him such a wonderful prophet: not that he was perfect, but that he had a very soft and teachable heart. Remain soft and teachable and you will avoid the snares encountered by false presuppositions. By the way, we all have false presuppositions about life, and about God, that need correcting. Don’t be dismayed about these (God isn’t). God will use them as an oppportunity to teach you and lead you and correct you, and keep you close and dependent upon him.
Fathers, and mothers, and teachers, and all people in places of spiritual authority everywhere, if you want to help out the younger ones to be able to walk in their prophetic calling, which God is surely raising up in this day and age in which we now live, do them a favor: teach them, and keep teaching them, and keep teaching them, and correcting them, and instructing them, in the right way to go. Lay down a good foundation for their lives now, and help them to learn what is right, right now, so as to avoid the many snares that they might otherwise encounter on account of false presuppositions. The more effective your teaching ministry to these children is now, the greater impact they will have for the Lord in the days to come. And it will be a mighty, powerful, harvest, that the Lord reaps through them. You will see.
Praise God for prophets, and prophetic callings. This has been vastly missing in the church and God today is helping us to understand what it is all about. There has been much misinformation about this important ministry, in my opinion, that has continued to “keep the door closed” for so many, when in fact, God wants many of us to walk right through it! Are you armed for the task?