We aren't the first generation to have a plethora of "words" available. Everyone talks as though the Word of the Lord is as common as a TV commercial. I hear people at my work talking every once in a while about how so & so said such & such about this & that, "from their spirit" And when the s-word is used, there is usually a hush, and everyone listens with awe to the "word."
Some of the "words" out there are flat out contradictions of the truly inspired Word found in our Bibles. Others are promises of wonderful things that are going to happen. Some are simply Scriptures themselves, and not "mysterious" at all...in other words, some things never change...
Remember Micaiah, the only man who spoke for God in the midst of a crowd of prophets? His story is told twice, II Kings 22 and II Chronicles 18. He never once had a good thing to prophesy about King Ahab. The other guys did, though. Positive thinkers all, and ones who valued their skin, they told Ahab how he would prosper against the Syrians to the point that their army would be totally destroyed. They encouraged Micaiah, for unity's sake I'm sure, to make his voice sound just like theirs.
So he did. In biting sarcasm that even the King understood he sang the chorus of peace and prosperity to the wicked king. Challenged by the lying monarch, Micaiah then told the truth, not only about the coming battle, but about the lying spirit inside the multitude of his prophets. For this, the true man of God was put in prison, to be fed only bread and water until the king returned.
Good thing God intervened, 'cause Ahab never came back from that battle.
Yes, and every church school boy knows the story of Elijah vs. the hundreds of prophets of Ba'al on Mt. Carmel. Again, one man speaking truth carried the day while the religious crowd was wrong as sin.
But if ever there was a "word" against the "words" of our day, it is found in the prophecy of sad but true Jeremiah. See chapter 23:16 ff... Though he was the only "quotable" word of God in his neighborhood, he was surrounded by people who quoted themselves and called it the word of the Lord. Have a listen:
16. "Thus says the Lord of hosts [now, this is a REAL "word"...] Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you... they speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the Lord.
17. "They continually say to those who despise Me, 'The Lord has said, You shall have peace'; and to everyone who walks according to the dictates of his own heart, they say, 'No evil shall come upon you.'
32. "Behold I am against those who prophesy false dreams, says the Lord, and tell them, and cause My people to err by their lies and by their recklessness. Yet I did not send them or command them...
33. "So when these people or the prophet or the priest ask you, saying, 'What is the oracle ["word"] of the Lord?' and you shall then say to them, 'What oracle?' [that is, expressing interest in the secret "word"] I will even forsake you, says the Lord..."
Because the Word of God has already been spoken to this evil generation, we don't need your "word", sir or ma'am. Unless it's from the Scripture, of course. And if it is, why not just say that, rather than being puffed up in your own pride, that somehow you have this "channel" open to heaven that has been denied to the rest of us?
I imagine the ratio of false to true "prophets" is about the same today. Hundreds and hundreds speaking from their own spirits, and one or two listening to God and speaking His Word to our generation. Yet the thousands prosper because they are forever forgiven, even when blatantly false, by a church that has a growing itch in the ear regions.
Imagine if you can, from images you have seen on TV, A gathering of these "prophets". Then, something you have never seen, imagine a man with a Bible opened to I Corinthians trying to use the apostle Paul's own regulations on their utterances. I hear cries of "legalist," "Pharisee."
But this Paul-follower would calmly suggest, "Yes, Paul was a Pharisee of the Pharisees, but saved by grace and given by that same garce the very words of God for my and every generation of God's Church. But of course, like Paul said, 'Anyone who wants to be ignorant, that's his choice...'
And why is the written Word so despised? Was it not a Spirit- word at one time? Is it not still? Is it not "sufficient" for our generation? Aye, and more than sufficient! Who has obeyed all of the words of Jesus and the apostles? Who is even close? But these truths must be dug out with great effort.
God's guidance for the circumstances we face, yes, this we need. No, they are not in Scripture. But the Scripture principles that give us the light on our pathway, these were being followed with great success long before your "word", friend, if you are a friend. If you are not, God has a "word" for you, but I shall not utter it here...
A New Year's Resolution then, for God's people, glasses of new wine raised high? Oh that we would hear it: "If God does not say it, I do not want to hear it! Amen."
Look for Bob Faulkner's home page on http://sermonaudio.com.
There you will find a combination of love for the Scriptures and a desire for North Korean believers to have their needs met. There are nearly 300 blogs , over 200 Bible teaching MP3's, lists of resources, NK picture albums, and ways to respond to the overwhelming need in North Korea. Let's love Chosun together! Contact me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And who am I? A man found of God over 50 years ago, called to the ministry, serving the Lord as needed in my world. Married, member of a local church in the Chicago area, with full time work in public education. Would love to fellowship with believers who respond.