Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Ignore the Prophets and the Drought will STILL Come

I Kings 16:

27 As for the other events of Omri's reign, what he did and the things he achieved, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel? 28 Omri rested with his fathers and was buried in Samaria. And Ahab his son succeeded him as king.

Ahab Becomes King of Israel

29 In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab son of Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned in Samaria over Israel twenty-two years. 30 Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the LORD than any of those before him. 31 He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him. 32 He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria. 33 Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to provoke the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger than did all the kings of Israel before him.

34 In Ahab's time, Hiel of Bethel rebuilt Jericho. He laid its foundations at the cost of his firstborn son Abiram, and he set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, in accordance with the word of the LORD spoken by Joshua son of Nun.

1 Kings 17

Elijah Fed by Ravens

1 Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe [a] in Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word."

2 Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah: 3 "Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. 4 You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there."

5 So he did what the LORD had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.

The Widow at Zarephath

7 Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. 8 Then the word of the LORD came to him: 9 "Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food." 10 So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, "Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?" 11 As she was going to get it, he called, "And bring me, please, a piece of bread."

12 "As surely as the LORD your God lives," she replied, "I don't have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die."

13 Elijah said to her, "Don't be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD gives rain on the land.' "

15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the LORD spoken by Elijah.

If you get this story, you will see that evidently Elijah as a Prophet had been speaking to the King about his behavior. Building false Altars, Rebuilding Jericho, Evident Child Sacrifice and the worship of a false god, Baal. Elijah had condemned this. He had caused Ahab trouble. But Ahab ignored him. He went on in his bullheaded rebellion. Finally, God had enough. He pronounces a drought on Israel. Now, the King was the one who ignored him. Ignoring Elijah didn't exempt Ahab from drought nor those who were in his care as King. They all suffered. This is happening today in the Church of Jesus.

I don't think the Church of Jesus in the 21st century gets it yet. At least not the church that should. I understand if a Methodist or Baptist church somewhere doesn't. It's OK.

But when a church that supposedly believes the whole Bible, full Gospel, Genesis to Maps, one that says we embrace all the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit, when they don't get it, that's a problem.

The role and function of the prophet in their midst is accomplish his ministry purpose among them:

* Encourage
* Admonish
* Illustrate
* Clarify
* Apply
* Assure
* Warn
* Correct
* Communicate Vision
* Tear Down
* Build Up
* Hold Promise
* Define Action
* Reveal the Future
* Use imagery for illustration
* Confront
* Declare

In developing an understanding of the role of a prophet among the gatekeepers in scripture I have come to see a principle. He says, do this and prosper or don't and suffer. The gatekeepers in most cases were kings and rulers.

In the church of Jesus there is a leadership order. If the leadership of a church makes a decision to NOT hear what the prophetic is saying, or worse to hear it and go against it, they are essentially placing duct tape over the mouth of God. They are also condemning themselves and the congregations they lead to go thru the drought without warning or assurance. They are no better off than the world. Alone without God.

The reality is a Prophet only has the tools available to him. God made it work that way. He can only proclaim. The rest is up to leadership. This is why I do NOT think it is in order for a Prophet to be the leader of a Church. Just as I do not think that a Ministry calling (not a title alone) of a Pastor should lead a Church. Nor an Evangelist. Sometimes a teacher can. But, God's purposes is for those with Apostolic callings in ministry to be leaders. Then they must have a hearing ear to the Prophets around them and then use that to release the Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher.

There are lots of illustrations of what a prophet does. What is most clear from scripture is the Prophetic words and actions of Elijah. More tomorrow on that. Elijah only deals directly with false prophets. That's his only call. Everything and everyone else must be dealt with by the people God places in power. That is the problem. People who are placed in authority by God won't hear from God thru his prophets. They don't take the action required. And drought comes. Prosperity is lost in their ministry.

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