Are there Prophets today? If so, how do we recognize them? What would we expect them to say on our Lord’s behalf? Do we care? Are there false prophets today? Were there Prophets just for the Old Testament? Would we reject a Prophet today if he or she spoke God’s truth, but it didn’t fit our denominational thinking and culture?
As we know, the Bible separates the major Prophets from the minor Prophets not so much in terms of their message and its importance but rather more in the length of their time, service and message. To be a Prophet one must be called of God, set apart and be willing to pay the price of fulfilling this incredible calling of being a Prophet of God and speaking His word even to those who do not want to hear it.
What often gets overlooked are the Prophets who do not have a “book” named after them but were so significant in their role as Prophets. Yet their message could be for one person and not so much for a Nation or Nations. It’s also important to note how a true Prophet cares for the Word he or she gives and its impact even on one person.
A case in point is Elisha, the protege of Elijah who was about to be supernaturallytaken directly to heaven in a whirlwind. Just before Elijah was taken up, he asked Elisha what he could do for him and Elisha comes up with this incredible answer that tells Elijah, us and most importantly the Lord, where his heart and desire wereat. “Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit.”
As Elisha was fulfilling his Ministry as a Prophet, he would travel to Shunem in the northern part of Israel, and he would stop for dinner at a couple’s residence where the food must have been good. The woman shared with her husband that Elisha was a “holy man of God”, and they should build a room for him on the top of their roof so he could stay there when traveling through. This they did.
Eventually Elisha asked the woman what he could do for her because of her kindness, and she expressed her comfort with no needs in spite of the couple beingchildless. Elisha said to her “About this time next year you will hold a son in your arms.” Her response “Don’t mislead your servant, O man of God” as her reaction was historical disappointment and not wanting to get her hopes up again. She did in fact become pregnant just as Elisha had shared and gave birth to a son.
Years later the boy went to the field to help his father but fell sick and died. You can imagine the pain of the loss to the mother as she got her servant to assist her with a donkey and she went to Mt Carmel where Elisha the man of God was. She reminded him “Didn’t I tell you, don’t raise my hopes.” Elisha went with her to the home where the boy was lying dead on the couch in his room. Elisha closed the door and started praying and eventually the boy sneezed 7 times and opened his eyes. The mother fell at Elisha’s feet and bowed down in thankfulness and gratitude and then took her son.
There are so many nuggets in this story:
- Elisha was identified as a Man of God
- The family recognized and provided for him
- Elisha heard from the Lord and spoke truth
- so often pain and disappointment can bind us
- Years later Elisha cared not only for the family including the boy, but he honored and watched over the Word of the Lord
- It shows us how personal, caring and intimate the Lord truly is.
John Grady - Fort St John