I am not sure who your thoughts go to when you hear about prophecy, but mine tends to go to Elijah wide eyed, shaggy beard and ragged clothes. As I grew up in church I was glad our church elders didn’t have a habit of calling down bears when we called them baldy as Elijah did in 2 Kings 2vs22-23.

Within the old testament the Holy Spirit came on people in power to equip them for miraculous things rather than remaining in them as we see within the New Testament, we see Samson doing acts of amazing strength when the Spirit of the Lord came on him.

It is the Holy Spirit anointing that enables us to operate our gifts without effort. This is so freeing as it means that the success of what we are doing does not depend on us but on God.

What RT Kendal highlights is that some of the people that the Spirit of God is seen as falling on certainly would not be perhaps our choice. Samuel prophesied to Saul that the Spirit of God would fall on him in 1 Samuel 10 6 and soon after he began prophesying. However it is not long before jealousy and paranoia overtake Saul, he is chasing David seeking to kill him and is eventually rejected by God.

It is clear that the Holy Spirit came on people to provide gifting such as prophecy despite many of them having glaring weaknesses. But perhaps it is in recognising that they have these weaknesses that these people were then open to receiving all the help they could get. Also these weaknesses were not a surprise to God he knew all about them and still chose to pour out his spirit, which I find particularly comforting. As happened to Saul in 1 Samuel 10 when the Holy Spirit comes upon us powerfully we are changed into a different person.

The reaction to prophets and prophecy is possibly different now, after all in the Old Testament prophets used to be killed if they got it wrong and sometimes when they got it right. There is a lot about prophecy that I do not understand, but I do know that being equipped to share what God is saying to people about his plans for their life is something that is certainly needed in this current time.

Dave Packwood