I thought that this teaching from seventeen years ago, November 23, 2002, might still have application for many of us today.
“The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening,” Isaiah 3:10.
“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires,” James 1:19-20.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash,” Matthew 7:24-27.
For all of us, the issue of speaking, listening, and doing are important ingredients for a person in this life.
Most of us know that what we say and how we say something, is very important, particularly when we are talking about “Words from the LORD,” and those who are involved in prophetic ministry.
We also know that words are important for us as people, primarily because if we guard the words that we say, then we guard our lives, and we are preserved from many of the dangers that beset us.
“He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin,” Proverbs 13:3.
It is true that God has chosen certain people to speak His words unto the people. It is also true that all of us have been chosen to declare His name and to speak about Him to a world that is lost and dying.
God has chosen His prophets to speak forth the oracles of God and to declare those things that have been hidden. But the aspect of speaking, listening, and doing is something that all of us need to know and to practice.
We are told in James:
“This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger,” James 1:19.
Most of us consider that the primary role of prophets and prophetic people is in speaking forth the Word of the LORD.
This is generally true, but without the other two ingredients, listening and doing, then the speaking is worthless.
What would our message from the LORD be if first we hadn’t spent time before Him and “listened” to what He was saying unto us?
If the young Samuel had not first listened to the LORD as He was speaking to him, then he never would have had the words that were given to Him to speak unto the people as a Judge for Israel.
If the prophet Isaiah hadn’t heard the LORD’s voice proclaim unto him. “Whom shall I send and who will go for us,” then he never would have known what to speak, nor would he have had a commission from the LORD to speak it.
There are countless examples from Jeremiah to the apostle Paul, from Elijah, and to Abraham.
However, even with the listening and the speaking, there is still another ingredient that is missing from this list. We are told in one of the many parables of Jesus that whoever hears the words of God and puts them into practice is like the wise man who built his house upon the rock.
Likewise, if he does not put them into practice, then his house will fall into the ocean. For without the action of putting His words into practice, then it is utter foolishness.
But I find that there is also the need for the prophet to especially remember this treatise. He or she is called upon to not only speak forth the very words of God, but to “embrace them” so that they become part of him.
As it is spoken forth into the heavenlies and unto the people, they carry the weight of then having that word become a part of them. It needs to be life-changing. It needs to be something that reaches down and changes their character. They become the word.
Henry McKeating has some good things to say about this:
“Thus almost everything a prophet like Jeremiah does can become a prophecy. He lives his prophecies. His witness is not simply what he says but what he does. A prophet can be described, then, not only as a proclaimer of truth but as a demonstrator of truth, and he demonstrates truth both in actions that we can define quite narrowly as enacted prophecies and also in wider ways, in his own attitudes and behavior towards the events of his time.”
~ Stephen Hanson
Stephen Hanson of In His Truth Ministries came to the LORD is a special way in 1975 and has prophesied regularly since. In these end-time birthing pangs we are reminded that judgment must first begin with the household of God. Will we be prepared and ready?