Have you ever had someone come to you and say, “The Lord put this on my heart to say to you”? A question arose in my yesterday, and I had to search it out and find the answer this morning. The question was, “How do I know that this person was directly speaking for God?” This is a good question for us to ask, and for us to seek out when someone comes to us and says they have a “message” from the Lord. The Apostle John tells us that we should “try every spirit” because not everyone who says they are of God, is of God. (1 John 4:1)
As I prayed this morning and sought the Lord’s direction and guidance, He showed me Deuteronomy 18: 20-22. “'But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die. And if you say in your heart, 'How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken? When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.” A prophet was someone who spoke God’s word to the people, when they spoke God expected them to listen. But, there were some (as there is today) that claimed to be speaking for God, when in fact they were speaking out of their own hearts, and not sent from God.
We are in danger today of this as well. In the New Testament, Jesus, Peter, John, Paul, all warned us about false prophets that will come into our lives, and even our churches. A false prophet is someone who “acts the part of a divinely inspired prophet, and utters falsehoods under the name of the Divine.” But how do we know if someone has spoken from their own heart and that we have not just “heard from the Lord?” There are two ways we can know and can be confident that the Lord has or has not spoken to us through this person.
The first way, is to wait and see. The Lord God tells us that “when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken.” (Deut. 18:22) If what this messenger spoke to you comes to pass, or what they said becomes evident in your life through the Word of God, then that person did speak as the Lord directed. However, if it does not happen, or if it is not confirmed by the Word of God, then that person is a false prophet, and what they spoke should not be heeded nor should it be given one more moment thought. It is important for us that we go and seek out what the Lord is saying to us. The more I know God and His Word, the easier it will be to discern whether this messenger speaks for God or for themselves.
The second way that we can know whether or not the message has come from the Lord is by knowing who God is. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 14 warns us against false prophets in the church. He tells us that “God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.” (1 Cor. 14:33) God’s word, even though it brings conviction and repentance will always, always be peaceful. If what you have just heard creates confusion then it is not from the Lord. But we must be mindful to go and seek out what was said, to find out if it is true or if it is false.
Pastor Chuck Smith states, “God doesn’t appreciate it when a person comes along and says, “Thus saith the Lord” and he speaks out of his own heart and really isn’t saying God’s word.” When you go to God’s word and you ask Him if what this person spoke was of Him, He will confirm or deny it for you. God does not appreciate nor does he tolerate false prophecies. He will tell you one way or the other, but we have to ask Him first. If someone comes to you and says, “The Lord put this on my heart to speak to you,” listen to what they have to say, then go and get with God to find out if He truly is speaking to you through this person. He will either confirm it or deny it. If what they speak is true, not only will God confirm it but He will also bring it to pass. (Notice I said HE will bring it pass.)
Matthew Henry writes, “Whatever is directly repugnant to sense, to the light and law of nature, and to the plain meaning of the written word, we may be sure it is not that which the Lord has spoken, nor that which gives countenance and encouragement to sin, or has a manifest tendency to the destruction of piety or charity. Far be it from God that He should contradict Himself.” God will not, and cannot contradict Himself. If what a person speaks to you is contrary to God’s Word, then run as far from it as possible. But to be able to recognize it, we must also have knowledge of His word. The Lord God does not tell us to take His word lightly, but we are to submerse our souls, our minds, our strength, our spirits in His living word, it is our armor of protection so that when anyone or anything comes against us we are equipped to stand upon His mighty power.
“Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1) I, unfortunately, have been the recipient of false messages, and they have damaged my walk to some extent. But God, who is ever faithful, has always brought me back to the place where He desires me to be, and that is at His feet, bowed down to worship Him and Him alone. As the end draws near, more and more false prophets will arise, and more and more of us will be drawn away- take heed and test what is being spoken to you. Hold it up to the Word of God and if it is not from God, not confirmed through His word- then run and don’t look back.
“Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
*This blog is merely an opinion based upon my own personal study of God's Word. I encourage each and everyone to go and search the scriptures for yourself. I am human, I am just as much a sinner in need of a Savior as all who read this blog. My desire is to always point you back to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. Amen and Amen.