Well meaning seduction - Hope 103.2

Well meaning seduction

By David ReayThursday 9 Jan 2014LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Acts 21:10-14

10 Several days later a man named Agabus,who also had the gift of prophecy,arrived from Judea. 11 He came over,took Paul’s belt,and bound his own feet and hands with it. Then he said,”The Holy Spirit declares,’So shall the owner of this belt be bound by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to the Gentiles.'” 12 When we heard this,we and the local believers all begged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.

13 But he said,”Why all this weeping? You are breaking my heart! I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem but even to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus.” 14 When it was clear that we couldn’t persuade him,we gave up and said,”The Lord’s will be done.” (NLT)

There is a practice in some Christian circles to give individuals prophecies. A message said to be from God is pronounced over another person. Almost invariably such messages are full of affirmation and promises of prosperity and blessing. Granted that we all need affirmation and God is ever ready to bless us,there are a couple of dangers in this practice.

One is that it is automatically assumed the message is directly from God rather than a sincere human attempt to encourage another human being. The other is that it ignores another vital dimension of prophecy which is described in today’s passage. Agabus would not have won popularity awards by what he said. He was the bringer of sombre news which distressed many. Such is the lot of prophets who stand in the line of such as Jeremiah.

Let us by all means share what we believe God has laid on our heart in relation to others. Let us seek to encourage and affirm and give hope. But let us not run away from being the bearers of less pleasant news if this is what God would have us do. Sharing words purporting to be from God means we must be extra careful not to succumb to flattery or saying what others want to hear.

Paul got it right. He was ready to go wherever God led him whatever the hardship. He was emboldened not by the soothing flattery of a well meaning supporter but by the blunt faithfulness of a man of God. Words we may not always like to hear may still be words from the living God.

David Reay