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When God Steps In - A Prophetic Word - Part 1 - Shepherd of Hope

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:6-7

 

These are very turbulent times. First the “pandemic” of Covid 19, the lock downs, face masks and social distancing, the discriminatory determining that the church was a non-essential entity. Then the rioting related to racial injustice. Then the election and all the associated fraud (alleged or otherwise depending on your political persuasion). It’s been a rough time. There are a lot of people asking Where is God in all of this? They’re questioning why God hasn’t intervened.

Whenever we see injustices, sin prevailing, and the proliferation of falsehoods, abuses, corruption, unrest, persecution, we question, God, where are You in all of this? Whenever we see hardships, hurts and health related issues proliferate, we ask where is God in this?

This is a study that will consider: Does God care about us? If He does, why doesn’t He step in and do something? When does God step in and do something? The title for our study is When God Steps In – A Prophetic Word and we will be addressing those questions as part of a four-part topical series. I pray this series edifies you, exhorts you and comforts you as God reveals His prophetic word.

We are not the first people to ask such questions. Since the dawn of humanity, people have questioned why or why not God gets involved in our lives. I’d like to address this issue from a Biblical perspective. I’d like to assure you God sees all that’s going on, and God does get involved. Our problem is that, to us, He doesn’t seem to get involved fast enough or the way we’d like for Him to act. So, to address these questions, I’d like to consider, When God Steps In. And as we consider When God Steps In, I believe the LORD has provided a prophetic word for us.

“When God Steps In”

What does “when God steps in” mean? “When God Steps In” means, when God makes His presence known; when God takes action; when God intervenes; when God does His will on earth as it is in heaven. “When God steps in” refers to those special times of Divine intervention in life. That is what we will be looking at in this study.

Today I have a prophetic word for you and the church. But what does that mean?

What is a “Prophetic” Word?

What is a “prophetic word”? What does that mean? What is a prophetic word?

  • 1 Corinthians 14:3-4 – “But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.”

These verses provide us with a good solid definition of “prophecy.” Prophecy involves forthtelling as well as foretelling. “Edification” (Greek oikodome) means to build up. “Exhortation” (Greek paraklesis) means implore entreat to action. And “comfort” (Greek paramythia) means console, calm, comfort. So, when someone speaks prophetically, they should build up, start up, and strengthen up those they are ministering to. This is forthtelling.

But prophecy is also, by nature of the word “prophesy” itself, foretelling. “Prophecy” (Greek propheteuo) means to foretell events, predict, divine, speak under inspiration, exercise the gift of prophecy. So, the edification, exhortation, and comfort are often connected with the speaking of future things. This is foretelling.

Testing A Biblical Word of Prophecy

There is a spiritual gift of prophecy. By nature of the word prophecy, it does include foretelling. However, the Bible instructs us to “Test all things; hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Words of prophecy (i.e. predictions or foretelling) therefore, because they fall under being part of “all things,” need to be tested.

The Bible speaks of deception as being one of the most prevalent features in the last days. Jesus warned of deception and false prophets as a prime feature of the last days (Mat. 24:4-5, 11, 24). Paul does too (2 Thess. 2:10). Deception and being deceived is something we need to be aware of. The word “false” occurs 74 times in the Bible. The word “deceive” occurs 28 times, “deceives” 8 times, “deceived” 31 times, and “deceiving” 4 times in the Bible. The phrase “false prophets” occurs 8 times in the Bible (Jer. 23:9; Mat. 7:15; 24:11 and 24; Mk. 13:22; Lk. 6:26; 2 Peter 2:1; 1 Jn. 4:1). “False prophet” occurs 4 times (Acts 13:6; Rev. 16:13; 19:20; 20:10).

What is the test for whether or not a prophecy is from God? There are two criteria.

First, does the prophet/prophecy fit within the parameters of scripture?  If God speaks of works through a prophet, He doesn’t contradict Himself or His own established word. GOD is faithful; that includes being faithful to His own word. This is based on Deuteronomy 13:1-5 where it states:

  • Deuteronomy 13:1-5 – ““If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken in order to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst.”

Second, does the prediction come to pass? If God speaks through a prophet, God does not make mistakes. God never goes “Oops!” This is based on Deuteronomy 18:21-22 where it states:

  • Deuteronomy 18:21-22 – “And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’— when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.”

These are the clear-cut measures we are to use to determine if a prophecy is or is not from the Lord. This is Biblical prophecy. “A word of prophecy” and its authenticity as being from God, must pass this twofold test.

“Thus says the LORD” today?

Over the approximately 4000 years of recorded Biblical history, there are particular phrases in scripture that are associated with a prophet sharing what the LORD says. The phrase “Thus says the LORD” occurs 418 times in scripture. “Says the LORD” occurs 815 times. “The LORD said” occurs 232 times. While this last phrase includes the use in the general narrative of scripture, it still points out the authority of scripture to convey what God Himself says. “The LORD says” occurs 10 times. “God says” occurs 6 times. “God said” occurs 44 times. “Jesus said” occurs 129 times. “The Spirit said” occurs twice. “The Holy Spirit said” occurs twice. “The Holy Spirit says” occurs once. And there may be other phrases used by God to communicate His words through people. So, while not all of these phrases are necessarily associated with predictive prophecy, a significant portion of them are. People are used by God as His spokespersons.

But does God speak through people prophetically today? The Bible does say a time will come when prophecies will “fail” or “cease” (1 Corinthians 13:8). But when that will be is debatable. Some say the phrase “but when that which is perfect has come” (1 Corinthians 13:10) refers to the canon is scripture. They then conclude that because the canon of scripture is “perfect” or completed, there is no need for more prophetic words as expressed by the words, “then that which is in part will be done away.” But “that which is perfect” could also be speaking about a time coming when love would be perfected in humanity, which fits the context of 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter. This last interpretation therefore, would open the door for predictive prophetic words spoken today by those with the spiritual gift of prophecy.

Can and does the Lord give prophetic words today? I believe the spiritual gift of prophecy remains valid for today just like all of the spiritual gifts (e.g. Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12-14; Ephesians 4). Prophecy, when involving foretelling, however, must meet the two above criteria to determine whether or not it is from God, or merely from man. So if you claim to be a prophet, or speak a word of predictive prophecy, be prepared to be tested and assessed by the above criteria, it’s part of the gift (e.g. 1 Corinthians 14:29-32).

Whether or not God speaks through people today through prophetic words is a moot point, if the two criteria of testing prophetic words are adhered to.

Stringing Pearls

Stringing pearls. The rabbis use an idiom to describe a certain kind of teaching. They use the phrases “string pearls,” to describe the linking of a number of passages to answer questions or cover a topic. That is what I am going to do as I deliver this prophetic word.

God’s Prophetic Word for Us

God’s prophetic word for us. I believe God has given us a prophetic word for today. I believe He has given us that word through His word. I believe our word from the Lord is:

  • 1 Peter 5:6–7 – Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Later in our study we will look at these verses in their context. But for now, this is what I believe the LORD would have us emphasize.

First, we need to humble ourselves. The word “humble” (Greek tapeinoo) means to depress, to be humble in heart, to bring low, to reduce to what is plain, to take a lower rank. We need to take humility seriously. The verse before this says in part, “Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble’” (1 Peter 5:5). That is the attitude that we need to begin with as we seek out God’s stepping in.

Second, we need to “humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God.” The basis for our humility and humble heartedness, is “the mighty hand of God.” We serve a mighty God. Nothing is beyond His grasp. Nothing is too hard for Him. He will not go against His own character, but other than that, nothing is too hard for Him. We need to begin seeing God in His mightiness.

Look at what God’s word says about the might of God in the Old Testament:

Job 26:7–14 (NKJV)

7     He stretches out the north over empty space;

He hangs the earth on nothing.

8     He binds up the water in His thick clouds,

Yet the clouds are not broken under it.

9     He covers the face of His throne,

And spreads His cloud over it.

10   He drew a circular horizon on the face of the waters,

At the boundary of light and darkness.

11   The pillars of heaven tremble,

And are astonished at His rebuke.

12   He stirs up the sea with His power,

And by His understanding He breaks up the storm.

13   By His Spirit He adorned the heavens;

His hand pierced the fleeing serpent.

14   Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways,

And how small a whisper we hear of Him!

But the thunder of His power who can understand?”

1 Chronicles 29:11 (NKJV)

11   Yours, O Lord, is the greatness,

The power and the glory,

The victory and the majesty;

For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;

Yours is the kingdom, O Lord,

And You are exalted as head over all.

2 Chronicles 20:6 (NKJV) – and said: “O Lord God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You?

Daniel 2:20–22 (NKJV)

20 Daniel answered and said:

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,

For wisdom and might are His.

21   And He changes the times and the seasons;

He removes kings and raises up kings;

He gives wisdom to the wise

And knowledge to those who have understanding.

22   He reveals deep and secret things;

He knows what is in the darkness,

And light dwells with Him.

Look at what it says about the might and power of God in the New Testament:

Matthew 19:26 – 26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Matthew 22:29 – 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.

Romans 1:20 – 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,

Romans 15:13 – 13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 4:20 – 20 For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.

Ephesians 3:20–21 – 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Ephesians 6:10–12 – 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

2 Peter 1:3 – as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,

We need to view our circumstances in view of Gods’ might. We need to stop seeing ourselves as “grasshoppers” like the children of Israel who first spied out the Promised Land. They lost sight of God and saw themselves in the shadows of giants in the Land. They missed out on God’s promises (e.g. Numbers 14). We need a Godly perspective on life and our difficulties.

Third, we need to understand God “may exalt you.” God has a plan. He is going to implement and enforce His plans. His plans involve eternity; therefore, they have eternal values. That means temporary things may be sacrificed for the sake and purpose of reaching God’s eternal goals and eternal destinations.

We need to also understand that it says, that God “may” exalt you in due time. There is a possibility that God will not exalt us. “May exalt” (Greek hupsose – Aorist/Active/Subjunctive of hupsoo) expresses a possibility not an inevitability. We can translate this word as may exalt, may raise high. Why wouldn’t God exalt us? Only He knows. Perhaps to do so would get in the way of His eternal plans or it wouldn’t be best for us or someone else connected with what He is doing.

 When we look at scripture, we see that God doesn’t always exalt us; at least in the way we might expect. Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego did all the right things; they refused to bow down to the image of Nebuchadnezzar. They stood tall and remained steadfastly devoted to God even when confronted by the most powerful earthly ruler of their day. But they would not give in. They trusted the LORD. Their sentiment was expressed:

  • Daniel 3:16–18 – 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”

Those words are the Old Testament version of, “that He may exalt you.” Is your faith steadfast like the faith of these three Hebrews men of faith? Do you follow God only based on how He delivers you or gives you stuff? Are you willing to follow God whether or not “He may exalt” you? When we stand with God and for God no matter what, He has a way showing up and stepping in:

  • Daniel 3:23–25 – 23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” 25 “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”

Stand with God and for God, and you just may be exalted by Him. One thing is for sure, He will be there with you even in the fire.

Fourth, we need to accept God’s “in due time.” The words, “due time” (Greek kairo) means a fixed time, or in His time. We need to trust God’s timing. We need to be patient (e.g. James 1:2-4). God’s timetable isn’t our timetable. What we think is too late is just right on time for God. Trust in His timing.

Fifth, we need to be “casting all your care upon Him.” The word “casting” (Greek verb epirrhipsantes – Aorist/Active/Participle of epirrhipto) means keep casting, keeping throwing. We need to constantly keep throwing our “cares” (Greek merimna) or cares, concerns, anxieties, apprehension on Him or God or as the context mentions “the Chief Shepherd” (1 Peter 5:4).

Sixth, we need to always remember, “He cares for you.” The word “cares” (Greek melei is the Present/Active/Indicative verb of melo) which means to be an object of care or thought, to care about. It’s a word that expresses the idea that God cares for us. When you care for someone you think about them, want to be kind and loving to them, want to protect and take care of them. It’s sure that is how God “cares” for us.

And notice too that Peter isn’t inspired to speak generally here. He doesn’t say “He cares for us.” We aren’t just lopped into a big faceless group. No. God through Peter says, “I care for you.” God cares for each of us individually.

In Psalm 139 it states:

Psalm 139:7–18 (NKJV)

7     Where can I go from Your Spirit?

Or where can I flee from Your presence?

8     If I ascend into heaven, You are there;

If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.

9     If I take the wings of the morning,

And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

10   Even there Your hand shall lead me,

And Your right hand shall hold me.

11   If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”

Even the night shall be light about me;

12   Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,

But the night shines as the day;

The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

13   For You formed my inward parts;

You covered me in my mother’s womb.

14   I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Marvelous are Your works,

And that my soul knows very well.

15   My frame was not hidden from You,

When I was made in secret,

And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

16   Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.

And in Your book they all were written,

The days fashioned for me,

When as yet there were none of them.

17   How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!

How great is the sum of them!

18   If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;

When I awake, I am still with You.

God not only cares for you individually, He loves you so much He can’t get His mind off of you!

In Isaiah it states:

Isaiah 43:1–2 (NKJV)

            But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob,

And He who formed you, O Israel:

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;

I have called you by your name;

You are Mine.

2     When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.

When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,

Nor shall the flame scorch you.

 God loves us. He loves us so much He gave His only Son Jesus to redeem us (e.g. Isaiah 53; John 3:16; Romans 5:8). God loves us. He cares for “you,” and me. Remember that when you’re wondering if God has forgotten about you because He hasn’t yet stepped in, in your life.

Yes, God’s prophetic word for us during this time, is as it is for now, for the future, for all times. God tells us:

  • 1 Peter 5:6–7 – Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Be humble as you wait for God to step in. Trust in God’s mighty hand as you wait for Him to step in. Trust that He may exalt you in due time. Always know you can keep on casting your cares on Him always, because He cares for you. He hears you. He will step in for you.

Prayer:

Father, I come to You in Jesus’ name. I humble myself before you. I accept whatever Your will is in my life. I humble myself under Your mighty hand knowing there is nothing impossible for You. Please give me the faith I need to wait on You and accept Your will for my life. I know, You may exalt me in Your “due time.” I also know that whether or not You exalt me, I will still trust You. And while I wait, I cast all my life-cares and concerns on You, because You care for me. That You care for me, is enough for me. I trust You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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