Confirming a Word from God
WORKING WITH WHAT YOU HAVE RECEIVED - SEEING LIFE COME FROM YOUR INTIMACY, Bradley Stuart
Often as people learn to hear from God and begin to move into hearing clearly from Him, they start to ask: "What do I do with what I sense the Lord is saying to me? Is it all coming from the Father? And how do I sift through it all to discern how much of it is me, the Lord or even the enemy?" This lesson has its origins in these questions. It uses seven specific things that I believe will help you discern a new life that is the result of having heard from Him as you come into intimacy with Him.
First and foremost, write down what you've sensed you've received from the Lord. Whether directly from Him or from one sent by Him or through another source we see this illustrated in Habakkuk 2:2, as Habakkuk waited on the Lord, the Lord said to him "Write the vision and make it plain on tablets." It's important to begin to write down the vision or the word or whatever you've sensed that you've received from the Lord quickly and with precision. I don't know about you, but with me I find the enemy loves to play mental gymnastics. He'll come and say: "Is that really what you heard or what God said?" I've found, though, if I have the thing written down, I can respond: "Let's go, read and see what the Lord said". And nine times out of ten he quits at that point because he knows confusion won't work when clarity given by Him has been written down.
Secondly, I find it important to wait for confirmation. 2 Corinthians 13:1 says, "By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established." It is important when receiving a vital word of direction for your life, destiny, ministry or any other thing to know that God speaks and confirms His Word more than one time. Many times He will tell you at least two or three times so that there is no confusion while giving you the witness and clarity you need about the word. Sometimes God will confirm it to you and then send someone else to confirm it. Confirmation can come before or after you've received a word. Sometimes you may have to wait on God. He will give you a word, you go and someone else confirms it. At other times you will go somewhere, meet the person and they will give you a word. Then as you pray about it, God will confirm it at a later time. I encourage you, however, to never act on any word until God clearly confirms it to you personally; especially, if it is governmental or direction for you.
For example, in 1 Samuel 10:1-8, when Saul sets out to look for his father's donkeys he meets the prophet Samuel along the way. Samuel anoints him to be king. Samuel says of him in verse 7, "And let it be when these signs come to you," giving Saul a confirmation that certain signs would take place confirming what Samuel had told him. Then 1 Samuel 10:9-16 says: "And all those signs came to pass that day". There was a clear confirmation of what Saul had received, and that it was the Lord that had spoken to him through Samuel.
In 1 Samuel 16:13 David was clearly anointed by Samuel and told that he would be king. But it was many years later in 1 Chronicles 11:1-3 that the elders and the people of Israel came together and anointed David king over Israel according to the words the Lord had given Samuel.
In Acts 13:2-3, as the church was ministering to the Lord, they were told to separate Barnabas and Saul. Barnabas and Saul already knew that they had been called, but the Holy Spirit brought the confirmation in the midst of the congregation. The congregation was then able to pray for them and send them out. In Acts 21:10-13 the prophet Agabus comes and takes Paul's belt. He binds himself up with this belt and begins to tell all that is going to happen to Paul. Paul wasn't surprised, however, because he had heard this message from the Lord. The prophet just brought confirmation to him.
The most accurate source of confirmation that you and I can receive is the Word of God. When I talked on hearing from God, I showed that the Word of God should be your primary source of confirmation. I never make any new moves in ministry unless the Lord clearly confirms it to me through the Word.
First, write down what God has said. Then, wait for confirmation, which can come before or after getting the word.
Thirdly, understand God's timetable and the timing of the fulfillment of the word. Going back to Habakkuk 2:3, after God has told Habakkuk to write the vision down, he says: "For the vision is yet for an appointed time. Though it tarries, wait for it because it will surely come and it will not tarry," showing that there is often a waiting period.
When we looked at vision we saw how there is often a time of dying to the vision and waiting. So be careful because if we rush ahead of the Lord, we will birth an Ishmael, meaning you run ahead of God's timing like Abraham did. He became impatient and despondentcausing Sarah to say: "go into Hagar." He did not wait on God for confirmation but acted quickly causing devastating results.
At the end of Hebrews 6:12, we are told to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Sometimes words need to be inherited through faith and patience. We can't just receive them by faith, but we've got to walk through a time of patiently waiting for their fulfillment; even though it seems to be tarrying and taking a long time. In Luke 2:19 it tells us that Mary pondered these things keeping those things in her heart as she pondered them. She didn't quickly run out and tell everybody but instead pondered and waited on those words. It is important for us when we receive a word not to act on it too quickly or delay it from being fulfilled, but wait for God's perfect timing.
In Acts 2:15-21, Peter is sharing what the prophet Joel said about the last days. Joel had said God would pour out his Spirit on all flesh. Our sons and our daughters would prophecy, the young men would have visions and the old men would dream dreams. He goes on to say: "On your maid servants, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy." Joel speaks the prophecy. Then in verse 19 he says, "And I will show wonders in the heavens and signs in the earth beneath" relating to 'blood, fire, vapor, smoke, the sun being turned to darkness and the moon into blood before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.' But as he speaks this out, you read it thinking that it is speaking of one thing; when, in reality, Joel was prophesying about a number of years. It was hundreds of years after he spoke the word that the day of Pentecost came about. And since the day of Pentecost just over 2000 years ago, we have seen many visions, dreams and prophecies. But the signs and wonders in the heavens and in the earth will be just before the coming of the Lord. Therefore, just in this one prophetic word, there were thousands of years actually mentioned. Many times I have found that as we pray and receive words from God, we will often see three mountaintops; but we won't always know with clarity the time periods of the valleys that are in-between.
Another aspect that we need to realize as we look at working with what the Lord's given us in our time of intimacy with Him is many times a word has to die before God can raise it to life. A very important principle of God is that nothing can have resurrection life if it hasn't first gone to the grave. It has to first die and go into the ground before the reality comes. In John 12:24, Jesus gave this principle, "unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies it remains alone, but if it dies it produces much grain." There is a time factor and death during that period of time. Earlier, in the lesson on vision we saw how Abraham had to die to his vision. And we see the time factor in Genesis 12 when God very clearly talks to Abraham about blessing him and his family blessing the nations; even though it is almost 25 years later at the appointed time in Genesis 21 that Sarah actually has Isaac. There was a time factor of a number of years before that son of promise was actually given to them.
Think of David. Samuel anointed David king, but for many, many years he actually had to flee from Saul because he was in war and conflict with him. There was a long war between the house of David and the house of Saul as ''David grew stronger and stronger and the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.' God used this period of time, though, to strengthen David and to really begin to work in his life as David was walking through it.
When you have written the vision down, you have the confirmation, have checked out the time factors, seen the valleys, and the periods of time in-between. The next thing to check for is any conditions involved. In 2 Kings 20:1 and see now how God sends a prophet to Hezekiah. He gives the prophet a very clear word to deliver to Hezekiah, "Set your house in order for you shall die and not live." The prophet comes and brings a clear word to Hezekiah, and yet, Hezekiah does not meet the conditions. And instead of Hezekiah saying: "Lord, why do you want me to die, and what is the reason for me needing to get my house in order," you see that Hezekiah weeps not wanting to die and God gives him another fifteen years. But that is not a blessing to him as you see in the next chapter through what Manasseh does. The words from the Lord are conditional to timing and your faith in His word to you.
As I think back on my own life, I can see how the Lord spoke to me very clearly about complete healing from my Cerebral Palsy. He had given me such confirmation about it that in 1986 I was ready to say; "Lord I want that right now." I thank God, however, that an intercessor was praying for me and asking the Lord why he had not yet healed me completely. The Lord said to them, "the character work is not yet complete." Showing me that God had a condition attached to the promised complete healing and that it would come as the character work was formed. Six years later he gave me further clarity saying, "As My anointing increases, so your co-ordination will come into line." Thus I began to realize 'yes God is going to heal me,' but it's going to be after the character work is done and when His anointing is strong enough in my life. Six years later he spoke to me and said that my life is my testimony and story seeing that as He is slowly co-coordinating my body with my head and getting my physical coordination right, so too He has called me to coordinate His body to be in total coordination with Him.
There are conditions sometimes attached to words and often, because they take a bit long and don't seem to be coming about, they can be lost through unbelief or disobedience. When we don't obey the word, we lose faith that it's going to come to pass. At other times the Lord may even give us specific instructions that need to be followed. But, it's vitally important that as He gives us those instructions, we follow them. Not responding to the word when the Lord gives it to you can often hinder its fulfillment.
The next thing to look at is the incorrect administration of the word. When we don't understand how we need to really work with the word, it will often cause us to go into partial obedience and partial obedience is the same as disobedience, which can often hinder the word's fulfillment. In 1 Samuel 9:1 Saul had received a very clear word to be king, but when he partially obeyed the word of the Lord and never fully obeyed His instructions, he lost his kingship. He lost the word that he had been given about being king.
We need to meditate on the word. You keep learning from what you have received. In Biblical meditation you fill your mind with something positive. However in the Eastern meditation they begin to empty their mind and let anything come in and there is a big difference. Writing the word down helps bring clarity, is a good reference tool and helps to guard against confusion and unbelief.
A brother gave me some sound wisdom as I was getting ready to start serving the Lord as he said: "Bradley, I want you to get a book for you to write down all the promises, words, scriptures and visions God gives you, because you are going to go through hard times and when you go through those hard times pick up that book." I want to tell you that was such great wisdom. It didn't only bless me, but it also blessed others. When I had my first full- time office assistant one of the things that I got her to do was to type out all those bits of paper and things that I had written, about words and visions. One day as I went into the office she was weeping as she was typing. I asked her what was wrong. Her reply, "I'm so blessed." And she was blessed just by reading through those words.
As we've written it down, we've got confirmation. We've looked at the time factors, checked out any conditions and meditated on it. Now we are able to move into discernment. It's vitally important for us to realize that we need to discern and judge the word and not the person that brings the word. In 1 Corinthians 4:29, Paul said that two or three prophets should speak while the others judge. Another Bible translation says, "While the rest weigh in the balance and discern what was said." Thus what you are doing in discernment is weighing in the balance what was said using wisdom and discernment. How do we do this? First of all we write it down, check what has been confirmed. Look at the time factors. Look at the conditions and meditate on it. These steps are most important. 1 Corinthians 14:3 says, "The one who prophesies speaks edification, exhortation and comfort to men." Thus the test: does it edify, does it exhort, does it comfort, does it build you up or does it build the rest of the body of Christ up? Does it build the person receiving it up?
I believe, it should always be done in love; and it should testify of Jesus. In Revelations 19:10, it says the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. So how would Jesus have said that to you? How would Jesus have said that to someone else? I have often found that when we receive a word from the Lord, there can be mixture involved in that word. That is why we need to learn these principles that we're looking at now, take out the bones, and eat the fish. We don't throw away the fish because it has bones, and we don't throw away a word we think we've received from God because we sense that there is some mixture involved. Instead, we learn how to take out the bones and keep the good that we can meditate on and work with. Often I've found what you read today and what you sense God is saying to you today, can have even more significance when meditated on in a year, two years or even five years from now.
The final aspect of what we began to do is this. Once we have written it out, got confirmations, checked out the timing or looked at the conditions, meditated on it and discerned it, we then are able to enter into an act of warfare with the word that we have received. Often times these words will be weapons of warfare that we are able to use. We are to know what those words are so that the enemy doesn't steal them from us. In 1 Timothy 1:18, as Paul was talking to Timothy he reminded him of the prophecies that had previously been spoken over him saying 'by them you may wage a good warfare.' He was reminding him that as he received those prophetic words, they were actually weapons of warfare to help him fight in the battle. I prayed over an assistant pastor once. As I prayed over him, I sensed that the Lord said to me that he would lay hands on people with cancer; and they would be healed. He was excited as I prayed that over him and said that it was absolute confirmation to him. When I went back to that church a few months later, though, they told me that a week after I had been there the pastor began to die of leukemia. Nothing more could be done for him, and he was sent home to die. But as he was sent home to die, he began to hang on to that prophetic word.
If I had warred over the word that I had received about my healing in 1986 before I had sought Him correctly about it I could have missed God's best for me, but because I first worked through it I have not forced it to come to pass before its appointed time. I have faith that it is happening and one day I will see it fully manifested as I wait on Him to do it.
In Daniel 9:1-3 we see how Daniel says that he understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the LORD through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. Which was a quote from Jeremiah 25:11 where Jeremiah prophesied saying: 'and this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.' Knowing what had been prophesied many years earlier Daniel used this prophetic word as a weapon of warfare as he interceded confessing the sin, transgression and iniquity of his people and as he asked God why they were in captivity and when they should be released. Knowing the accuracy of this word that had been spoken he used this to see his people released as he knew they had been there seventy years and it was time for them to be released.
We need to know how to apply these 7 steps accurately so that we can be good stewards of what God gives us and not allow His word to be stolen from us in any way. However this divine discernment is so necessary to know when God is telling you to die to it or if you are to wage war over it. When we administer words from Him correctly they can be one of the greatest blessings to us ever.