April 1, 02

This portion of scripture was spoken to the prophet Jeremiah as the Lord reached out his hand and touched his mouth. He said that he had put his words in his mouth and had appointed him to be a prophet over nations and kingdoms.

I believe that the above-mentioned scripture is one that present-day prophets must consider when assessing their ministries, and understanding the tasks that God has appointed for them. However, there is a danger here that oftentimes, can get misconstrued. I find that some prophets are very quick to take on the first part of this mandate but they often leave off the second. Oh, how often have we heard how God is judging this unrighteous nation of ours--or, this church, or this group of people? To be sure, God is in the process of bringing judgment to us, but remember that "judgment must first begin with the household of God." I have read, and perhaps you have as well, the scathing prophecies pronounced from these types of individuals. They seem to be "hell-bent" on sending God's wrath and fury upon us. They sincerely believe that their commission from God is to follow this mandate. But where is to be found how God is going to build and to plant? If a house is to be demolished or torn down, would there not be a plan for how the next structure would be built? I think so.

Within the pages of Isaiah or Jeremiad's prophecies, I find "hope mixed with judgment." I see God's plan for restoration for his people and for a nation there. An true word from the Lord will include this element in it as well. If it doesn't then perhaps we need to consider the source.

" `Return, faithless Israel,' declares the LORD,`I will frown on you no longer for I am merciful,' declares the LORD, `I will not be angry forever. Only acknowledge your guilt--you have rebelled against the LORD your God, you have scattered your favors to foreign gods under every spreading tree, and have not obeyed me,' "'declares the LORD. Jer. 3:12-13

Dear prophets and prophetic people, may we not forget the need to include God's mercy in the words we speak from Him. May we not forget to include God's restorational plan. May we uproot, but may we also encourage. May we destroy the works of the enemy and the flesh, but may we also then, rebuild. Let us be a reflection of God's character in this. I am not calling for weakness here, but for balance. Surely, God's judgment will come on those who continue to ignore His voice and His warnings. May we be like Hezekiah was who when he heard the prophet's pronouncement, chose rather to humble himself, and thus was given fifteen more years to live.

Within the pages of Isaiah I find salvation mixed with judgment. I find God's promise standing beside His justice. For those who are obedient and listen to His Spirit, there will be times of refreshing and peace. Those who continue in their willful disobedience however, will experience His rebuke and anger.

ISA 66:12 For this is what the LORD says:"I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will nurse and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees. ISA 66:13 As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem." ISA 66:14 When you see this, your heart will rejoice and you will flourish like grass; the hand of the LORD will be made known to his servants, but his fury will be shown to his foes. ISA 66:15 See, the LORD is coming with fire, and his chariots are like a whirlwind; he will bring down his anger with fury,and his rebuke with flames of fire. ISA 66:16 For with fire and with his sword the LORD will execute judgment upon all men, and many will be those slain by the LORD.

Let us be careful though, and not dole out God's fury and wrath too quickly. He is long-suffering and patient towards us, and desires that none would perish.

JAS 2:12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, [13] because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!

[32] For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all. Rom. 11:32

Stephen Hanson