I don’t often do this but I was recently made aware of a post by a popular blogger/speaker/author. The article was entitled “Does God Ever Supersede Our Will In Providential Times?” In it, the author talks about how God asked him if he believed in providence and then gave him a “corporate prophetic word”. There was something about this word that I didn’t sit well with me.
A couple of caveats
CAVEAT 1: Before I continue, I say that this author and the “movement” he runs with are not something I would necessarily promote or encourage people to read. But a lot of people subscribe to their views and I hope they do an Acts 17:11. Maybe that is what first drew my attention to this post. However, in order to be a good steward of the Truth, I will put aside the movement and the messenger and just consider the message and how it lines up with THE Message (i.e. God’s self-revelation known to us as the Scriptures). If you are a fan of the author and the movement concerned, as many are, and you think that my bias will render this article just another “bashing” session and don’t want to read further, I understand. I pray the Lord bless you and that you will continue to read the Bible and pray.
CAVEAT 2: I think the blog is accessible via FB and other means and there might have been people who have replied to it. I have not read any of these replies either so, if there are explanations elsewhere, I am unaware of them.
A summary of the article
“Have you ever considered that there are seasons when God is not for you nor is He against you, rather He creates sovereign times where you must get out of His way and follow? “ This is the question he poses when he begins talking about what he received. The example cited was from Joshua 5:13-14 – where Joshua encounters the Captain of the Lord’s hosts (some say this is a Theophany) and asks, “Are you for us or against us?” to which the Captain answers “Neither!” It seems like this scripture forms the basis of the “prophetic” assertion – that sometimes, God cuts in and, using His providence”, forces His will which, as the author says, we should follow. So it would seem, his answer to the opening question is “Yes! And when He does, we should follow.” He then asks if God does the same thing under the new covenant and cites Acts 4:32-5:11 about Ananias and Sapphire dropping dead after lying. His concern is that our interpretation of this passage might lead us to “create a culture out of an exception” i.e. I presume he is talking about believing that that when you lie to God, you will drop dead. He ends off with a statement that “there are times in history when we move from the grace-filled days of freewill into a sovereign time when God takes over, and we must adjust to His lead.” and proposing that this present season (pandemic) season is such a time and that we must learn to follow.
Personal insights/Weighing the prophecy
I’d like to share some thoughts on this.
1. God never needs to “take over” because, from start to finish of the scriptures, God is sovereign. We do not co-rule God’s kingdom with Him at any point in time, meaning that this is God’s show and He decides what happens. Yes, we have freewilll but that doesn’t mean we are free to decide how the kingdom will go.
2. Sin is a serious thing in God’s eyes – this is the lesson fo us from Ananias and Sapphira.
3. As Christians, we are meant to be following God ALL THE TIME, not just in the seasons where He decides to “act sovereignly”.
4. God’s providence is an ongoing thing. It is what keeps all of creation working as it should. It is not something that suddenly happens.
5. If you are a Christian and God needs to “take over” in your life, then either you’ve been unfaithful and disobedient and/or He is being merciful to you and giving you time to repent.
6. This is probably the main point that didn’t sit well. God is either FOR you (if you’re a citizen of His kingdom) or AGAINST you (if you are a child of wrath). There is no time when God is indifferent or “neutral” toward you. And this is where, as I can see, this prophecy turns out to be inaccurate or even false because it says something about God that is contrary to what He says about Himself in the scriptures! 6 times in the scriptures, we hear of an individual or group being attributed this phrase – “God is with you”. In the NT, Jesus promised that He is with us to the end of the age. He would not be WITH us if He were not FOR us. If you are a churchgoing person and God has said to you that He is against you, then please repent of your sins, believe in Jesus, be baptised and receive the Holy Spirit. If you are a Christian, the God is for you. The problem is that we are not always for Him! And this is the lesson we learn from Joshua’s encounter. When the Captain replied, “Neither!”, and asked Joshua to remove his sandals because he was on holy ground, it meant that Joshua had asked the wrong question because he had wrongly interpreted the situation. Joshua asked a question as though it was Israel’s battle against Jericho when it was actually the Lord who fought for them. Think about it. If it were not the Lord and His hosts doing the fighting, why would Joshua be asked to just walk around the walls, blow trumpets and shout. I mean, what sort of military tactic is that! Dear brothers and sisters, we are in God’s kingdom. Christ is our King and He leads us into battle. In fact, in 1 Sam 17:47 and 2 Chron 20:15, the Israelites were told that the battle is the Lord’s! Today, we engage in spiritual warfare and, yes, we fight through prayer, praise and obedience. We can do so in faith knowing that Christ has already won the ultimate victory.
Non-famous last words…
You may wonder why I have written so much about this. Some may even accuse me of sowing discord among the brethren. After all, we’re on the same side, right? I don’t know whose side you or any other person is except through your words and actions. And it’s hard to ascertain by just 1 or 2 things you say or do. But, if someone is painting a picture of God or themselves that is not aligned with the scriptures then I cannot remain quiet. In John’s epistles, we are warned about false teachers and false prophets who will try to turn people away from Christ. The thing about false teaching and false prophecy is that they usually contain things that are Biblical and true. However, the 1 or 2 points that are untrue are that can really dealign us, if we believe it. And so it becomes quite important for us to know how to weigh prophecy. Perhaps that will be a topic I cover in a future post. For now though, I’ve edited this post to make it shorter and to highlight the main issue that caused my unease. I pray that what I’ve shared here will compel you to go to God in prayer and to His Word – don’t just take my word for it!
PS. If you do want to read the article I am talking about, just do a google search for the title and you should find it. Cheers!