My favourite of the prophets is Elijah.
I like Elijah as he has moments where his humanity is plainly visible such as when he is exhausted and depressed after his time on Mount Carmel challenging the prophets of Baal, and he’s burned out and hiding in a cave.
Yet Elijah exhibits two strands of the prophetic nature which I have been reflecting on lately.
Firstly he speaks truth to power boldly and bravely. Elijah was deeply political and his rebuke to the King caused his life to be threatened and is real perilous danger. (1 Kings chapters 18-21).
Secondly Elijah speaks prophetically words from God into situations beyond what he could know in the natural by his own abilities. He steps out in faith and expectancy with signs, wonders and God’s glorious and mighty intervention into situations.
Over the last few years some of my thinking has been stretched and challenged by two friends who have really blessed my spiritual walk.
The first is a guy called Andy “Bidds” Biddlecombe, I’d say Bidds has a real prophet gift, he’s someone who listens to God and seeks to speak his word into real peoples lives.
Bidds challenges me to be expectant to see and hear God at work in peoples lives and situations, to pray with faith and boldness, to be a person that seeks the Kingdom to break out where we step out in faith and obedience.
Bidds hero is Smith Wigglesworth, a man full of faith and expectation of the Kingdom breaking in to the present in a wonderful and tangible way.
Alongside the prophetic Bidds is some who seeks to see signs and wonders break out into normal everyday life, naturally supernatural, where praying for healing and speaking prophetically are normal part of everyday life as a follower of Jesus.
The other is a guy called Chris Harwood, Chris is I believe also a bit of a prophet, Chris speaks truth to power, protesting at arms fares, sleeping outside to raise the plight of Poole’s homeless and actively lobby those in power to remember the poor, marginalised, disenfranchised -the people Christ prioritized. Often Chris does symbolic acts such as recently giving all the Councillors some bracelets and other craft work with hearts on reminding them that they and those they serve are made in the image of God and loved by him.
I went out for a pint with Chris yesterday evening, and I was talking about my friend Bidds, about that as Christians we should be actively expectant and moving in supernatural Kingdom power as part of our daily walk.
Chris rightly pointed out too, that all of us as Christians should also be involved in our communities and in “Doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly before our God” and in seeking the Kingdom of God which is righteousness, joy and peace.
As he spoke I got excited as I began to dream, what if normal Christianity really took seriously our call to be ambassadors of a different Kingdom?
What if we saw signs and wonders as we picketed arms fayres? -missiles malfunctioning so as not to kill civilians.
The jeering of the Police playing mind games trying to stop the protesters hearing a prophetic word of life for them and realise that God knows and loves them.
What if pornographers, loan sharks and drug dealers hear the call of Christ proclaimed and like Matthew the tax collector left their lives of exploitation and followed the one that gives life and life in all its abundance?
Perhaps the prophetic challenge and rebuke that the Church has always historically brought might not just be “with words, but with demonstrations of the spirits power”.
And perhaps this can work the other way around too? John Wimber talks of “the meat being on the street” and his protégé David Pytches talked about the “meeting place being the training place for the marker place”. Yet sadly too often people get stuck in the meeting place and the signs and wonders never actually reach the market place.
Signs and wonders in the Gospels traditionally most healings happen on the street not hidden away in a religious building.
I believe the call of God is to take the light of Christ to the darkest and most broken of places, and to show God’s love not just with words and arguments but with the signs of the Kingdom too.
Chris shared that at the start of the Arms Fayre protest, a Vicar did an exorcism over communion, praying against the demonic powers that sell brutal weapons of slaughter often to regimes with a evil disregard for civil liberties and human rights (interestingly the protestors weren’t arrested and the Arms Fayre ran into trouble when the Green MP Caroline Lucas came and discovered the illegal sale of electronic batons which is a breach of the convention of human rights so no protestors got prosecuted).
Lets be people unafraid to go bravely into the darkest places, to protest, to speak out and to see signs and wonders performed for the glory of Christ.
So, my prayer is that we see a new generation of Elijah prophets, that are bold in speaking truth where it is needed and be people displaying the miraculous signs of the Kingdom of God.