To understand the times, I always try to go to the foundation of a matter to see if I can recognize the hand of God in it. We are told in Psalm 90:17, "Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; and confirm for us the work of our hands; yes, confirm the work of our hands." I pray this often because I do not want just to be busy but to be about our Father's business. I want to know that what I am doing is truly His work, and that what I am studying is for His purposes. Many things interest me, but I am not here to be entertained; I am here to do the Lord's will, so I seek confirmation for what I'm working on.
As the leader of a ministry that draws many prophetic people, I have spent decades seeking to understand prophecy and have never found a place in Scripture where the Lord is obligated to confirm prophecy by repeating it. As we read in the case of Josiah, one of the most righteous kings in Israel's history, he died because he did not heed the voice of the Lord spoken through a most unlikely source, and it was not repeated. It can be dangerous to presume things, especially to teach certain things as principles that are not established as such in the Scriptures.
Because something is found once in the Scriptures does not make it a principle. However, if it is found once, it does make it possible. A basic theological principle that I believe is sound, is that if the entire weight of the Scriptures says one thing, and there is one verse or one example that stands in contrast to the weight of the Scriptures—do not base your theology on the one, but on the entire weight of the Scriptures. Of course, we should seek to understand what seems to be the exception, but until we do, we should not base our theology or teaching on it.
We do have examples of the Lord repeating Himself to people, but it is the exception. By far, we see that He tends to speak once, and He expects us to hear and obey Him. He is not like a parent who repeats an instruction to a child so that the child learns he does not have to obey until the commands have come many times or the tone of voice has reached a certain level of irritation. The Lord said that our yes should mean yes, and our no should mean no, and anything beyond that is evil (see Matthew 5:37). We can expect that He teaches His children to hear the first time, and that He means just what He says the first time.
Hear and Obey
I tried to teach my children the same way—to hear and obey the first time I said it, without debate, unless they did not hear me clearly. I would never discourage them from asking me what I said if they did not understand me, but I would not let them challenge my instructions unless there was a major factor that they did not think I was aware of that could change my instructions. I learned this in the military and as a pilot.
I was told in infantry training that if I did not obey the commands, I would likely die, and those under me would probably die also, and I could in fact jeopardize our entire force by not obeying. If I was told to take up a position and arrived there, but thought I saw a better position nearby and moved to it, I would likely be killed by friendly fire. Why? If they observed firing coming from a position they had not sent anyone to, they would think it was the enemy. The more intense the situation is, the more dangerous it is to not hear instructions clearly and obey them without question.
As a pilot, if I was told to be at a certain altitude and heading, and if I did not listen or obey, I could find myself occupying the same space at the same time as another plane—which is not preferable. In combat flying, if you are not on an assigned heading and altitude, you could be presumed to be the enemy and be taken down by your own forces just as the wayward infantryman.
As we proceed toward the end of this age, hearing and obeying the voice of the Lord will be increasingly critical, and in due time, will be a life or death matter. Because our ministry has emphasized knowing the voice of the Lord since our beginning, and we have had decades of seeking to know His voice better, I think as a ministry we are about as good in this as any I know of. However, I have repeatedly heard from the Lord that we must know His voice much better than we do now to make it through the times that are coming.