" In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live.’”
2 Then he turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the LORD, saying, 3 “Remember now, O LORD, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what was good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
4 And it happened, before Isaiah had gone out into the middle court, that the word of the LORD came to him, saying, 5 “Return and tell Hezekiah the leader of My people, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD. 6 And I will add to your days fifteen years. I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for My own sake, and for the sake of My servant David.”’”
This passage in the Bible has been on my mind all week. In my Bible reading, I keep coming back to it and reading it again, because it really shows what the purpose is in prophecy. There are so many times where I'll read about someone prophesying a disaster, and I wonder why we are to know about it ahead of time- what is the purpose there?
The purpose in this case was so that prayer could happen. Isaiah went to Hezekiah and told him, basically to prepare for death, that his time was up, and he should get his affairs in order before God took him home. Hezekiah had two choices there- was he going to accept the word of the prophet and simply do as told- prepare to die- OR was he going to head to his knees and ask God for mercy. Hezekiah chose the second one and asked God to change his mind. And He did. Before Isaiah had even left the building, he returned to Hezekiah and told him that God had heard his pleas, and would grant him his request. The more I read this, the more I think that it is just really cool!
Maybe there are times where you see or hear how a prophet has shared that a disaster is coming to an area. You hear that, and there are two things that you can do. One, you can just accept that the disaster is coming, and prepare accordingly. OR you can do as Hezekiah did, and spend time interceding and talking to God about it. THAT is one of the prime purposes of prophecy. God warns us about some things because He wants to hear us. He wants to hear His children in prayer, asking Him for forgiveness and mercy.
And honestly, the same can be said for any time anyone shares something of a prophetic nature with us- even something personal. If someone were to come up to me and tell me that they really felt that God wanted me to be a Pastor, I wouldn't just automatically go, oh, okay, and then take the necessary steps- like going to Bible school. Instead I would think on that, and spend a lot of time praying about it, talking to God about it, and most importantly- in that case, I would want confirmation. And that would really apply to anything- if someone came up to me and said that I was supposed to be a missionary to some country, I would want confirmation. If someone came up to me and told me something about one of my children, I would really want confirmation. But in all these things, my number one response would be prayer.
Over the years I have heard more words and prophecies regarding the future of this country, and my response to them all has been exactly the same. I pray. I started Warfare Wednesday to pray for the President, because I don't think that enough Christians ARE praying for our president. But as this presidency has gone on, I've also spent a lot of my Wednesdays praying for our country and other countries around the world as they come to mind. Because God wants to hear His children talk to Him. Maybe it doesn't make total sense. Why would God send a prophecy about a natural disaster and then change his mind? And yet He does! Just look back to when the earthquake and tsunami hit in Japan, and there was a serious tsunami headed towards Hawaii and the West Coast of this country. I truly believe that it was the prayer and intercession of the Christians in this country that caused God to stay the waves and cause very little damage.
I know there are many people out there who are against or on the fence about the whole idea of prophecy and prophetic words. I get that- maybe it seems a little to Old Testament, or a little out there. But let me just say this. If our reaction to prophecy is to pray, how can it really be bad? Oh, there are bad prophets and bad prophetic words, but regardless, if our reaction to any word- whether for ourselves, those around us, or for our region- is to go to our knees and talk to God about it, how can it be bad. If it's not meant to be heeded- if it's a false word, it won't happen anyways, and instead, we've just added our prayer to others prayers and, well, we've just spent time talking to God! That's never a bad thing- to talk to our Heavenly Father.
And that should be our reaction. Whether we agree or disagree with the whole idea of prophecy- when we do hear it, rather than just dismiss it entirely, simply commit the matter to prayer. Talk to God about it, and He will direct you in the way you are to go. He's a loving Father, and He will not steer us in a bad direction. People may steer us in a bad direction, but when we turn to God, He will help us get back to the right path and will show us the truth. Lean on God, and let Him deal with right or wrong.
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5,6