Prophetic words are very common in times of unrest. Much of the Old Testament are prophetic words during times of unrest. The times of unrest were because the people of Israel didn’t follow God. Since their focus was on the world, God became a bit player in their lives.
This should sound familiar. The last decade or so has had many “prophetic” words spoken. Most of the ones given attention were of the white evangelical variety.
Whether they were racist diatribes against Obama, misogynistic diatribes against Hillary Clinton, or (really) attempts at character assassinations of any so-called “liberal” leader, it was out-of-hand. It also shows how much the white evangelical church/culture was in “the hands” of a singular political party.
However, despite the “airplay” of much of this, there was just as much towards whichever “evil” Republican or “conservative” that was the focus of the day. It just wasn’t publicized.
Perhaps, someone reading this will say, “See, it’s because ‘they’ are biased!” That isn’t the issue for Christians. The real issue is that the church thinks that it is effective by walking hand-in-hand with earthly power.
The prophetic testing in this passage in Deuteronomy is interesting. One of the biggest tests of a prophet is, do their words come true? Another part of the test, do miracles happen? The church has done okay on the first, and not-so-good on the second.
It is the third test, however, that is the crucial one, does this draw us away from God?
By far, it isn’t solely an (US) American issue. It is an earthly powers issue, and the church is tempted around the world to succumb.
How’s this for a test? Does the person seek to make the “other” the enemy? Not their struggles, their opinion, even their sins…the person themselves.
If there really is an Imago Dei (the Image of God) in every human being, then is defining the “other” as “the enemy” is defining God as the enemy? This is how earthly politics work.
The third test, then, becomes does this “prophetic” word turn people against the Imago Dei?
Over the last 4 years, much attention and vitriol have poured out in the US (and then overflowed into the world). Most of it was based upon pain and fear (and here’s another test: did you say to yourself, yes, “their” pain and fear, and not acknowledge yours?).
Without question, there was a lot of Godly righteous anger. Without question, there was a lot of earthly self-righteous anger. Amid it all, there were Godly prophetic voices and earthly prophetic voices dressed in holy guise.
What “voices” do you (really) listen to in your life? What is the spiritual background of those voices? What is the spiritual expression (how do they live out their lives, versus words) of these “voices”? Do the voices ever challenge your way(s) of thinking?
God, forgive us for not actively listen for and to your voice. Forgive us for not testing the words of others against your Word. Amen.