And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. (Joel 2:28-29 KJV)
God said that He will pour out His Spirit to all people to reveal His plan to them. For example, in Acts 2, we see the fulfillment of the prophecy in Joel of God’s Spirit being poured out. When we read Acts 2, the apostles received the gift of the Spirit to proclaim His message to the entire world. “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:4).”
So how do some receive the gift of the prophecy and other do not? How can we hear the prophetic call from God?
We first need to understand that God has many gifts and He gives them severally. He gives us the same Spirit, but different gifts and receiving a prophetic calling is one of them. When God gives us a gift, we must obey His commands. Remember Jonah? God called him to go to Nineveh and proclaim His message to the people, but He refused to follow God’s plan (Jonah 1:1-3). If we disobey God’s call, we are misusing our gifts.
Our obedience to God is the key to successfully using His gift. Jesus says in John 14:10, “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love…” Obedience is also the key to living in God’s unconditional love. When a child obeys his parents fully, he receives great rewards from them, such as love and praise.
Unfortunately, we see some teenagers decide to part from their parents’ covering to live on their own, and commit acts that are not pleasing to them or God. Just like Jonah, they decide to go the other way rather than do what God directed to him.
Although we might think that hearing a voice in our minds is optional, hearing from God is not. We can ignore the voice of God, but He will keep trying to call us to fulfill His plan.
Not only do we need to obey God’s voice, we also need to have the desire to do the work for His kingdom. When God called Jonah, he didn’t have a desire to do the work that he was assigned to. Why did God call Jonah when he didn’t have a desire? In I Corinthians 1:27, Paul says that “…God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty...” God used Jonah to glorify Himself to the people of Nineveh . Even today, He uses people to reveal Himself, but the question is: Are we going to obey or disobey His calling?
While Jonah was captured by a big fish (Jonah 2), he realized that being disobedience didn’t help much. He spent three days and nights in the belly of the fish praying to God. He realized that God wasn’t joking around with him. Swallowed by a fish was Jonah’s punishment from God.
When God called Jonah a second time to go to Nineveh to proclaim His message, he obeyed the call, but argued with God. Although he knew the people of Nineveh would surrender to God, Jonah wished that God would punish them. Jonah didn’t like the idea of having a great revival in Nineveh because they were enemies of , but God asked him, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plan?” (Jonah 4:9a.)
What if God calls us to go to the prisons to proclaim His message to the hundreds of prisoners? We might think it is impossible to share His Word to unsaved people, but God won’t let us go to an unknown people without a plan. We might struggle with God as Jonah did, because we would like to be used more with well-known people.
Did Jesus command us to go to the well-known people to proclaim the Gospel? No! He didn’t. In Matthew 5:44, Jesus says that we need to love our opponents, bless those who don’t agree with us, do good to those who hate us and pray for those who spitefully use us and reject us. This principle may be hard for us to apply because we don’t do this as often. When we obey God’s command in unfamiliar assignments, God will reward us greatly.
To receive a prophetic gift doesn’t mean that we can do whatever we would like to do. Being a pastor or inspirational writer is a part of the prophetic calling from God. The pastor or inspirational writer must listen and obey what God has to say to us. This is the only way to begin to grow in our spiritual lives. If we don’t obey God, we are useless for the kingdom.
Jonah experienced this in a hard way; he didn’t fully understand what God had provided for him. Now, it is up to us to obey God’s calling. What will our response be when God calls us?