It’s Monday, which means it’s time for an Overflow blog post. Each Monday I go a little deeper into a topic from the text I taught on Sunday. This Sunday, we finished Nehemiah 6, as the enemy mounted an all-out attack on Nehemiah.
You can watch or listen to the Unruined series in the Awaken teaching archive.
You can read the previous Overflow blogs HERE.
In Nehemiah 6, Nehemiah’s enemies hire a false prophet to prophesy to Nehemiah, attempting to lure him away from the work, into the temple, where either his reputation would be ruined or he could be struck dead by God for breaking the law. I don’t care if you call yourself a prophet, if those are the kinds of prophesies you give, no thanks!
Here’s the unfortunate truth: a spiritual title doesn’t guarantee spiritual truth. (tweet this)
Regardless of the the earthly title – prophet, pastor, priest, pope – and regardless of their platform – pulpit, tv show, radio program, stadium – we have to be selective with whose words we take as God’s words.
Here are a couple thoughts about how to be discerning when it comes to listening for God’s voice…
Test their words.
If someone claims to speak for God, but, like Shemaiah, their words contradict God’s Word, don’t listen. God’s Word trumps all others. Their title, influence, and platform are irrelevant if they contradict God’s Word.
Spit out the bones.
I’m promoting Scriptural truth and discernment, not dividing from everyone you disagree with. If you do that, you will quickly find yourself in a room all by yourself, attending a “church” where there’s only one in attendance: you. You are the only person that you will always agree with (and sometimes we even disagree with ourselves!). So listen and learn from others similar to how you eat your favorite filet of fish: chew the meat; spit out the bones.(tweet this) If you disagree with it, don’t apply it. If you can learn from it, put it to work in your life and ministry.
Be a Berean.
Acts 17:11 tells about the people who lived in Berea, who received Paul’s teachings with eagerness, then went home to search the Scriptures for themselves to see if his words were true. People who specialize in spotting counterfeit money do not study counterfeit money. They study the real thing. The best way to know whether someone is speaking God’s Word is to know God’s Word well.
Stand your ground.
Nehemiah flat out refused Shemaiah’s requests to go to the temple. He knew that breaking God’s Law doesn’t end well for anyone, so he refused to do so. That meant standing up to someone with the title “prophet.” Speaking of risky business, that’s risky! But you know what’s far more risky? Compromise.
Prayer is your most powerful weapon.
A discerning person is always a prayerful person. There’s no way around it. Discernment is a God-given ability to see things and people from God’s point of view. It’s spiritual x-ray vision. Nehemiah said he “understood that God had not sent [Shemaiah].” The only way to see through motives, lying words, and deceptive plans is to pray. Don’t neglect it.