Can we trust anyone who says they have heard from God or intimated God revealed to them future events? No way, they’ve lost their mind! ~ Well, maybe? ~ It’s miry clay.
Generally we should say no because the commitment to speak accurately in God’s name has become increasingly ambiguous. Let me be clear, this blog is referring to those who actually declare they are speaking for God. Too many people declare a Word has come from God when the message is coming from their own mind or emotions. Excessively, people think they are speaking prophetically and then their prognostications fail to come to pass. That just does not float.
When people have an – anything goes – mindset, prophets and seers can earn people’s trust even when their prophecies do not come to pass? Such is not a Biblical standard. Some have even defended random prophecies spoken in God’s name by saying, “Oh God put something on their heart and they are just doing the best they can to express God’s message.” Hooey! He is God! If He cannot pass an accurate message to a sentient-being then He isn’t much of a God.
So when can we believe someone is actually hearing from God? First of all the Word or message must always agree with God’s Word. This is critical! Secondly, if you don’t believe in God, then I suppose you would not believe someone is speaking in His name. However, for those of us who have made a genuine connection and life changing relationship with God we need to be very careful indeed. Be aware, God’s Word established a standard for prophecy several millennia ago (Deuteronomy 18:21-22).
If you say to yourself, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?” Or in today’s vernacular, how can we know when God is or is not speaking through an individual?
God provided the following answer: “If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.” Again, in today’s vernacular, if the prophecy does not come to pass then they are not speaking for God.
Additionally, once someone has accurately prophesied coming events we can begin to expand our expectations they are likely hearing from the Lord. Over time and with little to no mistakes our confidence can increase. We need to remember God generally speaks through the mouth of two or more witnesses. It is important for the standard to remain firm. When mistakes are made, for we are all human, we must remember that all things work together for good to those who are God’s. So, be merciful.
Lastly, we should all be filled with the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 14:32 tells us: The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. Even if you cannot consistently tell when the Spirit is moving, there should be individuals within your church, ministry or Christian circle which can discern God’s move, voice or Spirit. As you pursue a deeper relationship with God, the move of His Spirit should become more apparent. Jesus’ family can hear His voice.
So there you have it, three ways to discern if it is God who is speaking through an individual in His name.