Tuesday, September 07, 2021

Testing of Time

Jeremiah did not sit down and write the book of Jeremiah. Isaiah did not sit down and write the book of Isaiah. They both gave prophecies at various times during their lives, and they or someone wrote them down. At a later time, they or some of their disciples (Baruch in the case of Jeremiah) compiled them into a book (Jer 1:1-3; 36:1-7,37;51:63; Isaiah 1:1).

In each case, various words would have been assessed for inclusion decades after they had first been spoken to the people. Some would be discarded because they had been fulfilled and were no longer relevant. Others would not make the cut because they no longer seemed relevant to the situation in Israel. I presume that the words included were chosen because they still had a ring of truth (despite not yet being fulfilled) in the situation as it had developed in the nation.

A similar process of testing would be useful today for dealing with the prophecies not yet fulfilled many years after they were spoken/released. Prophets and discerning friends should review their prophecies and decide if they are still correct and relevant for the season as it has developed.

Testing prophecies is not something that should be done once, and then assumed to be settled forever. A word can be tested again if many years have gone by without it being fulfilled to assess if it still seems to be true and relevant.

Time tests prophecies in two ways. Some are confirmed when they are fulfilled. Others continue to be relevant to the situation that has developed in the church or nation (despite not being fulfilled). Others that have not been fulfilled might be exposed as no longer of value if they are not relevant in the new situation that has emerged.

Humility is the key. Letting go of words that fail is not easy, but we need to do it to grow in the prophetic.

If God has warned of troubles through a prophecy, he sometimes changes his mind if the people concerned repent and change their ways. However, he does not change his mind when he has promised to send blessing (unless his people have wandered from the true path).

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