THE ONGOING IMPACT OF THE PROPHETIC!
By Rodney W. Francis
THERE is a great need today for us to understand the ongoing purpose and impact of the prophetic ministry. Far too often we tend to “live for the moment, the current meeting, or for just today,” instead of understanding the important place the prophetic ministry is to occupy in our lives. Whenever we are walking in obedience to the voice of the Lord (that is what makes us prophetic), then we are partnering with God to bring about eternal purposes in the lives of others. This wonderful prophetic ministry is not for a short season only in our lives, but should be developed and imparted to carry on from generation to generation, with each succeeding generation becoming more “sharp and accurate” than the ones that have gone before. As we trace the ministry of the prophetic through the Scriptures, we discover that its role in our lives is to have a wide area of influence and impact. It holds the keys to our past, present and future. It lifts us to a realm where we can know the purposes of God for us right here in the now. It is a major key to unlocking the knowledge and authority of God to us. Throughout the Bible, wherever there was place given to the prophetic, the people profited enormously. It was their protection, for it brought the revelation of God right into the now and confirmed God’s presence among them in the victories obtained.
The prophetic ministry is so important that it should be right at the forefront of every Holy Spirit-filled church and believer. It is New Testament Christianity. It is also 21st century Christianity. Right now there is a huge challenge for the prophetic to be restored more fully into the way we live and conduct our affairs.
I do not believe that it is God’s will that the prophetic ministry is only a “seasonal” thing and then we leave it. The prophetic should have been developed down through the generations much more than it has. It can be imparted and developed to a place of great accuracy. Every Christian should be able to trust the time-tested, balanced, proven-to-be-accurate prophetic ministries.
In the Old Testament, one of the tribes of Israel was Issachar. It appears that down through the ages they had an ability to pursue, develop, influence and administer the prophetic in a powerful way. The Scriptures quoted in this article cover an approximate 400 year period, so their prophetic giftings were carried on from generation to generation. Let us look a bit closer at their prophetic ministry.
THE DESCENDANTS OF ISSACHAR:
In the First Book of Chronicles, Chapter Twelve and Verse Thirty-Two, we read an amazing account of the sons of Issachar:
“Of the sons of Issachar (meaning “he will be hired: there is reward: he will bring reward”)who had understanding of the times (“seasons,” “the temper of the times” – NLT & TLB) to know what Israel (“ruling with God” and “he shall be prince of God”) ought to do, their chiefs were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their command” (NKJV).
For many years I have been challenged by this verse. It has filled me with the desire to be able to function like that. What a difference it makes when we have understanding of the things we’re experiencing and can see and know it from God’s viewpoint. This enables us to use that understanding to know what we should do in the right place and at the right time. Timing is so important. We can prove the will of God by this method. It is prophetic ministry. True understanding and knowledge are prophetic words, for they bring us into “the now” of God’s purpose for us.
The sons of Issachar were so “accurate” in an ongoing way that their prophetic insight, understanding, knowledge and giftings promoted them to a decision-making responsibility for David and his men. They knew what they had to do, and what had to be done: ]
In Deuteronomy 27:12-13 we see they were of the six tribes (Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph and Benjamin) whose call was to “bless (Hebrew is “barak” meaning “to declare blessed” – Young’s) the people.
”Their ministry was to bless. True prophetic ministry brings the blessing of God. It breaks the curse and curses off people’s lives.
In Deuteronomy 33:18-19 we read: “About Zebulun he said: Rejoice, Zebulun, in the your going out, and you, Issachar, in your tents. They will summon peoples to the mountain and there offer sacrifices of righteousness; they will feast on the abundance of the seas, on the treasures hidden in the sand” (NIV).
Regarding the sons of Issachar:
In Judges 5:15 we see the princes of Issachar were there with Deborah, the prophetess (Judges 4:4 ). Their prophetic ministry was right there working alongside the prophetess leader of the people. Their task was to “partner with” and work alongside the prophetess Deborah. Deborah obviously recognized their ministry to have them working alongside her. What were they there for? They had to come up with the strategies to outwit the enemy and could be relied upon to get it right.
In 1 Chronicles 7:5 the families of Issachar (87,000 of them) were called “mighty men of valour.”
In 1 Chronicles 12:38-40 they were plentiful providers and nourishers by means of food supplies to the men who were following David. They brought great joy in Israel.
If we summarize the works of the descendants of Issachar, we see they carried a mantle to bring prophetic insight, focus, blessing, provision, abundance, sacrifices of righteousness, support to the prophets / prophetesses, and to people on the home front. They were strong people and valiant. All those things represent different aspects of the prophetic ministry – that of providing the right things to the right people in the right place at the right time!
Let’s return back to 1 Chronicles 12:32
. . .They were people who “had understanding of the times.” The word “understanding” comes from the Hebrew word “biyn” meaning:
Putting all this together in the context of 1 Chronicles 12 , David knew the giftings of the descendants of Issachar – 200 of them – and he recognized the importance of their perceptive understanding and knowledge. David had such confidence in them that he trusted their discernment in making decisions on what Israel should do.
The Jerusalem Bible puts it this way: “of the sons of Issachar, sound judges of the times when Israel should take action, and the way to do it: two hundred chiefs and all their kinsmen under their command (they did whatever the sons of Issachar said).” David delegated much responsibility and decision-making to the sons of Issachar. He knew the accuracy, truthfulness and reliability of their God-given abilities. The result was David released them to function and fulfil their destiny, and they helped and released David to become the king of Israel.
May God help each of us to see the importance of the prophetic ministry being developed from generation to generation, for it is a vital means of helping God’s people “to understand and to know what to do.” There is so much we can learn from the descendants of Issachar – and from God’s Word – as we see how effective true prophetic ministry is in the purposes of God today.
Be blessed, inspired and challenged as you follow the guiding of the Holy Spirit today.