Burden of a Prophet


Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. (Jeremiah 1:5)

As I look back on my recent posts, I think, “Man! Some of that is pretty depressing stuff! I should write something more uplifting, and fun.” I titled my blog, “Ernie’s Musings” because I write about things that engage my thoughts. Lately, the things happening around our nation and the world, and the upcoming presidential election weigh heavily on my mind. Honestly, I find it difficult, if not altogether impossible, to look on the bright side. This stems from the fact that I have a phlegmatic personality with leanings to melancholic and choleric. No sanguine bone exists in my body, and I find those with that personality to be rather annoying. However, God has a sense of humor, and He surrounds me with sanguine friends in order to keep me on an even keel.

Along with my serious nature, God gave me the gift of prophecy (Romans 12:5-8; 1 Corinthians 12:8-11; Ephesians 4:8-11). I say that with all humility, not that I “think more highly of myself than I ought to think” (Romans 12:3). This is not something that I dreamed up on my own. Many churches that strive to get members involved in the ministries of the church – and do it right – give a “spiritual gifts assessment” in order to properly “fit” the member in an area for which he/she is spiritually gifted. I have taken at least three such assessments, and I consistently score highly in prophecy, teaching, discernment, and encouragement. The confirmation for my statement comes from external and independent sources, so this is not my own fabrication.

I am a prophet, not a “seer” or fortuneteller. As with prophets of old, I can only say what God reveals. The prophets of old heard directly from God and repeated the message, “Thus saith the Lord,” and they recorded that message in Scripture. Nothing has been, or can be, added to the written Word of God. Thus saith the Lord, “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you” (Deuteronomy 4:2). The New Testament repeats, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18).

God’s revelation to us is complete and permanent. Jesus affirmed this fact when He said, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. (Matthew 5:18). Therefore, when I speak or write, I only say what God has already revealed in His Word. I have no new material. You will not hear me say, “I heard a new word from the Lord,” and then present something that does not already appear in Scripture. I take seriously James’ admonition, “My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation” (James 3:1). The Greek word translated “masters” is didaskalos, and it means “instructor” or “teacher.” God does not take kindly to those who misuse or abuse His Word and claim to speak for Him. God instructed the people to stone false prophets (Deuteronomy 13:1-5).

As a prophet, I must speak God’s Word. I am compelled to do so. In the words of Jeremiah the prophet, “But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay” (Jeremiah 20:9). The Hebrew word translated “forbearing” is kûl, and it means to “hold in.” The prophet is saying that withholding (holding in) the Word of God is tiring, and he cannot hold it in. He must let it out. In a note on this verse, Henry M. Morris says:

The Word of God simply cannot be quenched for one who truly loves God and understands what God’s Word has done for him and what it means for the world. Even though that man is the object of reproach and derision because of it (20:8), he must proclaim it to others in whatever way he can.[1]

I kind of feel like that. David, the psalmist, expressed a similar sentiment. “My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue” (Psalm 39:3). The problem with speaking what God has put in my heart is that people will often not like what I have to say. I have learned to expect this. In Jeremiah’s case, he said, “O LORD, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived: thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed: I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me. For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of the LORD was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily” (Jeremiah 20:7-8, emphasis mine). The word “deceived” is an unfortunate translation in the KJV.[2] God deceives no one. It is Satan who is the “father of lies” (John 8:44). The Hebrew word used there is pâthâh, and it means rather “to entice.” God places a burden on the heart of a prophet and entices him, or calls him to deliver that message.

For a modern prophet like myself, God lets me see the condition of the world around me through the lens of His Holy Word; that goes with the gift of discernment that He gave me along with prophecy. The message is not new. This same message has been proclaimed through the ages. God does not change. God’s Word does not change. When I look at the world around me, I do not like what I see. When I see the condition of our nation, I do not like what I see. Then I read God’s Word, and I see the problem. Others may see the same problems I see and shake their heads and go on about their business, but I cannot do that. God, the Holy Spirit that resides in me (and all of God’s children), compels me to speak out, and I must. God has not given me a pulpit from which to preach, but He has given me a blog, and so I write. It is the burden of a prophet that God has given me.

I admit that my message may not be popular, and it may even be offensive at times. Sometimes, even I do not like what I have to say, and I would rather keep it to myself. However, the burden weighs on my heart and mind, and I am compelled to express it. When I consider the message, I look for ways to soften it, but given the conditions, I find that difficult. In those same spiritual gift assessments, I consistently score poorly in the “gift of mercy,” so it is difficult for me to make the message “kinder.”

God also made me an “encourager.” As bleak as my messages may be sometimes, I find hope in God’s sovereignty, in His faithfulness, and in His promise. I know our Lord’s return is very near, and although the world around us grows darker by the day, we have the promise of His coming. No matter what the political climate or social morass, our God reigns, and He cares for the welfare of His children. Until He comes, He will provide for us, pilot us, and protect us. So if my message seems gloomy at times, remember that is just the burden of this prophet, but along with the message, there is hope.


[1]  Henry M. Morris, The Henry Morris Study Bible, (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2012), 1114.

[2]  Many other modern translations also mistranslate this word. However it is correctly translated in others like the Young’s Literal Translation (YLT) translates as “enticed”, New Living Translation (NLT) translates as “misled,” New English Translation (NET) translates as “coerced,” New American Bible-Revised (NABRE) translates as “seduced,” and the Common English Bible (CEB) translates as “enticed.”

Comments Off on Burden of a Prophet

Filed under Apologetics, Christianity, Current Events, End Times, Gospel, Random Musings, Religion, Second Coming of Christ, Theology

Comments are closed.