When a Nation Has No Prophetic Voice Maliseni Banda May 15 Many Christians in the world are familiar with the words of Proverbs 29:18. The Bible tells us here that without vision people perish. Vision was a term prefered by those King James assembled in the 17th century to translate the Bible into English. Those who translated it to the NIV prefered the term revelation. The term revelation is a more encompassing one. When this term is used, other verses of Scripture become easy to understand. One such verse is Amos 3:7. Here the Bible tells us the Lord does nothing without first revealing it to His prophets. Interestingly, when we look at Jeremiah 18:1-10, we gain an understanding of the relationship between prophecy and nations. Here the Bible speaks about two kinds of revelation to a nation which may be spoken through a prophet, one negative and the other positive. The Bible tells us God considers every nation like clay in the potter’s hand. It is completely in His hands to do what He wishes with it. The destiny of any nation is never apart from the decisions of the Most High, but His decisions are influenced by a nation’s attitude or response toward His Word. To that end, God never can give a positive prophecy to a nation which decides to walk in contradiction to the dictates of His Word or a negative prophecy to one which decides to walk in His ways. By implication, this means every nation decides where it will end up. However, having said this, I must point out that when forming a nation, God has in mind a good purpose for its existence; but His initial plans for every nation are set on the principle of moral prosperity as a way in which any nation can position itself for His favor to be showered on it. Remember what the Lord said of Abraham in Genesis: “Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great nation, and all the nations shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgement; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him” (KJV). The nation which was to come from Abraham’s loins—Israel—was to see the Word spoken about it come to pass only if it walked in the way of the LORD as directed by Abraham. Likewise, every nation needs an Abraham to direct it. Indeed, God raises men and women, His prophets, to direct nations in the way they should go. To this end, Jehosophat the king of Israel, a man who sought God’s direction in his acts, could tell his countrymen, “Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld; have faith in His prophets and you will be successful” (2 Chronicles 20:20). The problem in the modern times in which we live is that nations no longer listen to the prophets God has appointed for them. This is because men no longer listen to the Word of God. What they call enlightenment, the modern intellectual reasoning, has veiled their minds to the wisdom and knowledge of the Word of God. To this end, they ridicule the Bible, calling it outdated, fictious supersticion and not relevant to our times. Man has become so proud of his wisdom and knowledge that he has begun to belittle God’s wisdom and knowledge. What a tragedy. What is even more tragic is that we have in our time men and women who call themselves servants of God who are following the world in this deception. They no longer hold the Word of God in high esteem. They may not say so, but their attitudes in the way they preach it gives them away. When they preach it, they do not treat it as the ultimate authority on life but use it to endorse modern man’s wisdom. In other words, they twist Scripture to suit their misconceived ideas. So in essence, we have seers who no longer see but who lay claim to spiritual enlightenment. Jesus often warned His followers to be careful how they listened when they heard preaching so they would not end up being robbed of the wisdom and knowledge of God they had acquired. He was hoping they would recognize the real truth from the perceived truth. The warning has a greater relevance and urgency in our day when men have become extremely cunning at twisting the truth. Sometimes it is important to consider how you hear yourself. When your words no longer have appeal where it matters the most, it may be that your preaching has been corrupted by corrupt peers. In Jeremiah 23:30, the Lord spoke of prophets who, “steal from one another words supposedly from Me.” The desire or pressure to conform can have dangerous replications. One such replication is spoken of in Malachi 2:9. Here the Lord declares to His stray shepherds, “Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law.” This means one of the main reasons nations no longer listen to God’s prophets is because God Himself has debased them because of the things they preach. You see, God’s truth never has lost its power to influence positively and is relevant to modern times. Some servants of God no longer have influence not because truth has lost its power, but because they have abandoned God’s truth for man’s truth. To understand this you have to remember that in the Bible, God only promised to back up His truth with mighty deeds. He never promised to confirm with miracles and wonderous ideas from the human mind. So people who preach human ideas have lacked power because they have lacked divine support—that is, God’s intervention. Truth is the channel in which the river of providence flows into our lives. Therefore, it is time to get back to preaching the truth. It is time to break away from the stray pack. “this is what the LORD says: ‘If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve Me; if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be My spokesman. Let this people turn to you, but you not turn to them'” (Jeremiah 15:19). To be the Lord’s spokesman, you need to be a true prophet of His. You have to be a person of integrity—one who is not swayed by the opinions of men, but who teaches the way of God in accordance with the truth. So many of the Lord’s servants in our day are victims of popularism and political rightness. They seek to please everybody except the Lord. “How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?” Jesus asked people in John 5:44. Indeed, how can one who holds views which are contrary to the Word of God believe in its abilities? Is your theology a philosophy of unbelief? Is faith the engine of what you have come to believe, or is it human reasoning? Stop following man and follow the Spirit of God, the Spirit of truth. For Jesus declared in John 6:63, “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing.” Do you want your words to count for nothing, or do you want them to count for something? Do you not want to see people standing before you and testifying the word you spoke into their lives turned around a death situation and resurrected their lives? If you are truly sent from God, you won’t find your satisfaction in the neatness of your sermons but in what they are able to do for people. We are called to change lives, not to perform for people. It is by changing lives that we change nations. Hence, every Christian who is able to change a life is making a contribution to the turn-around of his or her nation. The church in every nation is the prophetic voice for that nation, but she can only be so if she is heard; and she can only be heard if she does not shrink back in fear of the uproar of the unbelieving masses. The good news is that God has not given us the Spirit fear but of power (2 Timothy 1:7). He who proclaims the truth has no need to fear. For what he proclaims will be what defends him in the end, no matter the level of sceptism of those who hear him. As Romans 3:3-4 declares: “What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God’s faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every man a liar. As it is written: ‘So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge.'” In other words, as long you are preaching real truth, you can trust the Lord to come through for you. He never will let you down, for He never can let Himself down. He who promised is faithful. So let us be faithful to Him and to His Word.