Being Prophetic?

What do you feel about being prophetic? I imagine many Christians would feel that it’s cool to be prophetic, or at least it’s something good and desirable. And why is that? I guess that’s because what many people has in mind about “being prophetic” is something verbal: it’s something you express in words. There are various kinds of artistic expression as well that are generally regarded as expression of “being prophetic”.

However, what if God calls you to be prophetic with your life? What if God chooses to speak not through your posts, nor through your lyrics, nor through your sermons, nor through your works of art; but through your life? Would that still be cool? Would that still be good and desirable? Would “being prophetic” still be something you desire for your loved ones?

Would You Rather be Isaiah or Jonah?

Any Christian in their right mind would choose Isaiah over Jonah. People name their sons Isaiah over the biblical character, but my guess is when they name their sons Jonah it’d probably be after some famous people instead of the biblical Jonah.

However though, looking at these two men’s lives, I imagine most parents in their right mind would rather choose Jonah’s life over Isaiah’s for their children.

Who is Jonah?

He’s probably the one Israelite prophet with the most glittering CV of all. He had a highly successful career both at home and abroad. At home, he served under an evil king, Jeroboam II, yet he prophesied great victories for the king and his prophecies came true (2 Kings 14:25). I imagine he’d be rubbing shoulders with the dignitaries of the day. No wonder he’s so afraid being sent abroad! Abroad though, he only repeated his success at home — probably with more stunning result: he preached not even 10 words, and every single person in the big city repented!

Today, Jonah would be that pastor with the best LinkedIn profile of all: great prophecies, highly effective sermons, successful both at home and abroad.

Who is Isaiah?

He’s born a royal, a nephew of King Amaziah, yet he died sawn in two (Heb. 11:37). Talk about reverse social mobility! His whole life, humanly speaking, was virtually a downward social mobility, and that included his ‘ministry life’. The reverse of Jonah’s super-short sermon, Isaiah’s sermon is a literature masterpiece, and not a short one at that, his masterpiece is also one of the longest books of the Bible! Was it effective?

Reading Isaiah’s commissioning by God in Isaiah 6:8-13, could you not feel sorry for him? Right after he said, “Here I am! Send me,” God right away received Isaiah offering of his life and, almost in the same breath, essentially told him, “Whatever you do, nothing will work.” What kind of CV can a guy like Isaiah put together these days?

And Then, There’s Ezekiel and Hosea…

God assigned Ezekiel to act like a crazy guy for roughly 14 months, eating bread that’s baked on cow’s dung — and that’s already a compromise since God initially instructed him to use human dung. I wonder if you don’t feel some sense of disgust and pity, just from reading how God uses Ezekiel’s life as an act of prophecy in Ezekiel 4.

And finally there’s Hosea, whose life is probably the Old Testament’s most vivid imagery of the Gospel: God chasing His unfaithful people, seen through Hosea’s dedication to his prostitute wife. God told Hosea to go to a brothel and take a professional prostitute as his wife!

Not only would she return to her former life as a prostitute and Hosea would again have to redeem her, from how the story is presented we’re not even sure that the children this woman bore to Hosea during their marriage life were actually Hosea’s biological children!

As a man, how would you feel, and how would you respond, if God calls you to be prophetic through your life, like He did these men in the Bible? Living a life that literally goes against the current: Instead of building a glittering CV, follow God’s direction the other way around? Instead of marrying up into a respectable family, marry a woman of dubious reputation?

These men of the Bible actually lived what Paul says in Philippians 3:8, “I consider them sh*t” (literally, that’s the translation of Paul’s choice of word). God called them to be prophetic, first and foremost, with their lives!

Being Prophetic with Your Life?

Have you ever imagined “being prophetic” in this way? It can be cool to be prophetic in what we say, in what we express, in what we produce…. God may not be satisfied with that though.

He may want to speak more of Him, through more of you: not just your posts, not just your lyrics, not just your sermons, not just your works of art; but first and foremost through the life you live, through the crucial decisions in your life.

What would you feel about being prophetic in this way? Would this still be cool for you? Would you still see this as something good and desirable? I guess the ultimate litmus test is: would this be a life you desire for your loved ones?