To Be A Prophet

Prophets don't need to see the future. If your eyes and ears are open wide enough to what's happening in the present, and you're willing to open your mouth and say what needs to be said about it, you might as well be able to see the future, because what you say will be just as useful to those interested in navigating life with wisdom, discretion, caution, and humility.

Prophets need to pass on messages that aren't theirs. Self-proclaimed prophets try to shape the future in a way they desire. Even if their desires are good, the prophetic mantle doesn't work that way, and they'll mess themselves up along with others or something around them.

The old preacher's distinction between "foretelling" and "forthtelling" is useful here. The Bible has more of the latter associated with what it means to be "prophetic." Today, when I envision the prophetic, I think of someone like Rachael Denhollander. Her strength to not only confront her accuser but to do so publicly, persistently, and with the grace of the gospel – that strength seems self-evidently to come from somewhere else. A mantle from above, giving her words, time, place, strength. Thank God for prophets like Rachael.