Moses: oh that you were all prophets! (Numbers 11:29)
What was an OT prophet? One who spoke the words of God (cf Hebrews 1:1-3). Those words were always timely, always calling God’s people back to Himself, always addressing their current situations. Sometimes those prophecies included promises of what was to come–promises concerning the Messiah, or even concerning the surrounding nations many years hence.
Moses laments because the Israelites tend to forget God’s words, they tend to rely on what they heard or saw while in Egypt (thus the golden calf, and all the grumbling, and their lack of faith shown through carrying about idols with them through all their wanderings), and soon enough they would struggle with other voices as they entered their new homeland. Oh that they would all be prophets, who listen to God’s words, share them freely with one another (speaking as pictured in Deuteronomy 6 and 11), and pass them on to future generations in purity.
Paul: desire the spiritual gifts, especially prophecy (1 Corinthians 14).
How is this gift different? How is it displayed now? Paul’s desire seems to be similar to Moses’. In the present age, the New Testament canon is complete. Yet Christians are called to speak God’s words to one another–but only out of a heart that abides in His words.
In various ways Christians will fulfill the role of prophet and priest, awaiting the time when Christ takes us home where our inheritance will be given, reigning with Christ. We do not know what that will look like, so I’ll not speculate here. Rather, the focus should be on our current call to share God’s words as God’s people.
The Holy Spirit gives us understanding, grows us in knowledge and grace, and empowers us to obey the call to speak truth to one another.
The church ought to be filled with the truths revealed in Scripture, rather than therapeutic self help and a loss of metaphysical morals. The world says there are no standards other than leaving everyone alone with their own personal truth. The Word instructs us to speak to one another, restore one another, encourage one another, admonish one another, confront sin and confess sins to one another…do you see how different the current culture is from what Jesus wants in His church?
O, that we would all speak to one another, as a prophet, proclaiming His unchanging truth! Admonishing one another, encouraging one another, building one another up in the faith! What a beautiful facet of our life together in the Body of Christ.
This seems awkward and inappropriate if you’ve never experienced this fellowship before. “Who are you to share that verse with me?” Western thinkers have grown accustomed to protecting their beloved autonomy. But in Christ, we are members of one another; we are part of Christ’s Body, and must not seek to be little islands.
But take heart, when you are devoted to the fellowship (Acts 2:40-43; Romans 12:9-15; Galatians 5:13) and walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-26), this will become less awkward and more beautiful.
We cannot share His love apart from His truth (the only truth).
We are not looking for a new word. We are not trying to be “mindful” and “silent” waiting for Him to drop new words into our brains–we do not follow the paths of mysticism. We are looking to His Spirit to guide us and teach us in the Word, but not apart from the Word.
We cling to the One who claims to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We have hope, we are a people of hope. Hope undergirds our everyday; hope–not wishful thinking, not a desire for earthly things–hope does not disappoint (Romans 5:1-5) People of hope offer up lamentations and grief; we groan, eagerly awaiting the day when we are “further clothed,” when He has taken us home (2 Cor. 5). We do not use lament as a means to join the world, or to start new trends, or to tear apart what God loves.
We need the sojourner mindset, the exile mindset–an exile who lives in this place that is not our true home, yet we seek the good (Jeremiah 29:4-14; Galatians 6:7-10) of those around us. We settle down to live our quiet, peaceful lives, being His light and salt (1 Timothy 2:1-7).
We declare His words and beauty and goodness to the next generation, we do not remain silent. We abide in His words, we share His words. We do not shrink back (Hebrews 10:32-39), we put one foot in front of the other, following His pace.
Come and hear, all who fear God, and I will tell of what He has done for my soul. Psalm 66:16