One theme that I notice in the old testament that continues through the New Testament, and even into current times is the prophetic message of truth to kings, rulers, and those in positions of leadership. Often times the prophetic word that is released has the potential to turn a nation towards God and / or prevent calamity and destruction of a nation/kingdom. Some of my favorite examples are:
Jonah’s prophecy to the King & people of Nineveh
Joseph’s prophesy to Pharaoh
Queen Esther’s encounter with the king
Micaiah’s prophesy to Ahab – 1 Kings 22
Daniel’s prophesies to the kings that he ruled with
Elijah’s prophesies to Ahab
Moses’ prophecies to Pharaoh
Jesus’ encounters with Herod and Pilate
Paul’s encounter with Felix, Festus, and Nero
One other aspect of the prophet’s role to prophesy to kings/rulers/high position leaders – is to instigate repentance and realignment with the will of the Lord for that kingdom/nation/leader’s followers. In the case of Joseph’s interpreting Pharaoh’s dream, it released strategies for advancement of that empire to become the known world’s source for food and resources during the 7 year drought. In the case of Jonah, a city full of abominable sin and iniquity repented and turned their hearts back to God when the true prophetic word was released. In Micaiah’s case and unnecessary war and death could have been avoided, the downfall of the Northern Kingdom could have been held off, if Ahab would have sought truth that Micaiah released instead of seeking a prophesy that aligned with his agenda.
Could this be a key that is missing in modern times? I can’t help but think, in reflection of the presidency from 2016-2020, what if true prophets with the Word of the Lord had been able to provide wise counsel to the former president? What if their were bold prophets like Micaiah who would risk imprisonment to release the word of the Lord to a leader that did not want to hear it? What if there had been Elijah like prophets that did not get distracted by saying much, but made space for the Lord to demonstrate His power to all? A lot of people seem to be heartbroken that the prophecies regarding certain political leaders did not come to pass, however my personal perspective is that I had been distressed during the former presidency that it seemed like no one was willing to tell those in leadership the truth about their actions, attitudes, and agendas at critical moments when if received a turn around for our nation could have occurred. Where was the Joseph that could have prophesied ahead of the COVID-19 outbreak, and set this nation up to be a resource and haven for the suffering instead of a hotbed for infection and death? Where was the Daniel who could have firmly released the Word of the Lord acknowledging the consequences of the leaders’ actions, yet providing a way back to righteousness when they were ready to repent? One thing that I noticed about the political climate is that it is out of balance with the idea that loyalty somehow outweighs truth. This idea is the very force of opposition against the prophetic strategies and instructions that calls for repentance, turns nations, and release advancement. I also believe that this is also the reason that many who have the Word of the Lord, do not have the access to provide prophetic counsel to the leaders that need it the most. What if there was a Daniel like prophet that had a favorable relationship and audience with the former leaders of the last US presidency? How could a dynamic like that changed the outcome of many tragic occurrences that happened from 2016-2021? Now please understand, I am not blaming anyone, for there may have been a prophetic voice that did attempt to be the Daniel for the USA. I am just relaying that a structure and dynamic that was prevalent in scripture does not seem to be occurring in our time. I, like most of you who are reading this, are on the outside looking in, so all of the facts and events that directing things to turn out the way that they did are not known to us. My hope in sparking this conversation is to stir up the prophetic voices of this generation to take their position and authority to prophesy to the kings, rulers, and leaders of our time, in that the will of the Lord for nations to turn back to Him be accomplished.
Truth has consequences for the truthteller. There is inevitable sacrifice that comes with releasing the Word of the Lord in season and out of season. Most of the prophets that I listed earlier at some point found themselves locked up, in a lion’s den, or in agony over the Word that would be released. Being a truthteller in regards to the prophetic Word usually does not win friends, gain popularity, or is even regarded as true until that Word is proven and the results have been revealed. This means that who ever answers the call to be a prophetic voice to the nations, via counsel to leaders and rulers, must be willing to put their own safety, freedom, personal interests, and their own lives on the line to accomplish their mission. This idea in itself is discouraging to even consider. I really believe that this is one of the reasons for the portrayal of the young rich ruler’s interaction with Jesus was documented. It is a warning to all believers of the cost to follow Christ and explains what derails some people from fully pursuing the call to ministry on their lives. None of the prophets listed earlier had it easy, Moses, Joseph, and Daniel had audience with the highest rulers, and even lived in luxury for a while, but they did not have it easy when it was time to declare the Word of God to the leaders that inquired of them. Make no mistake Joseph and Daniel especially seem to have been rewarded well when they released the Word of the Lord, however do not glaze over the fact that similar to Queen Esther they were in a critical moment where if something went wrong, the Word was not received, or influence from other officials turned against them that they could end up in jail or lose their lives. This is the paradox of being “created for such a time as this,” – great influence and have equally good or bad consequences.
Intimidation is also another factor that keeps prophets from releasing the Word. Elijah, for example had just witness the literal All Consuming Fire of God fall from heaven and the slaughtering of the false prophets, and yet was overcome by fear at the intimidation of Jezebel. I have no idea why modern Christianity reinforces the idea that prophets say good things that everyone likes and agrees with, and the reward of that is comfort and security. This notion of celebrity and reward for doing the will of God, is not exactly wrong, it just leaves out the truth of prophetic travail, anguish, fleeing to safety, self-discipline, being misunderstood, and largely rejected- often by the very ones that they have the prophetic Word for. It is no secret Ahab despised Elijah, Pharaoh resisted Moses, Nebuchadnezzar initially took Daniel’s warnings lightly dismissing them, and Micaiah was labeled a traitor and was thrown in jail for releasing the Word of the Lord. So the threat against prophets is real – not a mental deficiency or irrational emotion. Daniel’s colleagues actually conspired against him to have him thrown into the lion’s den and we all know that similarly the Pharisees conspired against Christ. This is why intercession is needed not only for leaders in high position, but also for those who are called to counsel, advise, reprove, and stir up the leaders to align with the will of God.
Opposition and intimidation are hindrances to the prophetic call, this is why courage and boldness is needed for those who are called to prophesy to kings. I love the exchange between Moses and God, where Moses is throwing every excuse and reason he can find on why he could not go to release the Israelites or face Pharaoh. It is such a human response, yet after God reassured Moses that He would go with him, Moses somehow built up the courage to say yes and to go. Modern culture reveres the “hero action figure”. There is a tendency to favor and exult those that seem “tough as nails” and indestructible. However, in reality those people who have that persona could have deep character flaws, lack empathy and concern for others, or become self-absorbed and not longer desire to serve the people that lifted up to the high position that they hold. It is not wrong to lead with strength, however it is wrong to not acknowledge where one’s strength comes from and to not acknowledge that humility, compassion, and empathy are strengths that should also be highly regarded. Courage often does not occur the way that it is depicted in movies, cartoons, and literary works. There is no brawn or boast, no fanfare and celebration, it usually involves deciding to do the right thing regardless of the consequences. This is the pattern that we see in the lives of prophetic voices called to counsel high position leaders. Their service is to the leader, but their allegiance, loyalty, and commitment is to God. In the right circumstances true leaders will even celebrate this. For example, when Daniel was thrown in to the lions den, it was the king who travailed all night. It was the king who was the first to inquire if Daniel had survived the next morning. And it was also the king who was the first to greet Daniel as he made his way – unscathed – out of the lion’s den. The respect that leaders can have for those that counsel them by way of the prophetic unction is definitely a reward for the courage, determination, and commitment that those called to prophesy to kings would be very blessed to enjoy.
Anguish, the hidden pain of prophets called to the nations. Why is the story of Jonah usually only taught in kid’s Sunday school and vacation Bible school and not as a message for adult believers? I do believe Jonah’s story can be a warning, however it also portrays the imperfections and struggles that many prophets deal with. This story helps us to prepare for that day that we receive a Word from God that goes against our own opinion, will, and best interests. Despite the bad rap that Jonah gets for his initial “running” from the call to prophesy to Nineveh, he did eventually obey and fulfill what God asked him to do. Yet, his end did not come with celebration and delight. He was in anguish because he did not understand the grace of God for all people, even those that sin much. It’s easy to criticize Jonah for that, but realize that his worldview was much more deeply entrenched in Levitical law, and that for him to desire destruction for Nineveh rather than repentance, was actually a righteous response in regards to the consequence of sin that had been instilled in him. This is not to say that we should prefer that people suffer for their sin or be denied grace, but rather obey God even when our humanity does not want to agree. Do you think Daniel delighted in telling Nebuchadnezzar of the fate he would have that was revealed in his dream? Micaiah prophesied Ahab’s fatal error, but I would not imagine him celebrating when the news of Ahab’s fall was reported to him. This is the delicate humility of the prophet.
A person that many people, including myself, regard as a “modern prophet” is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was like a Nehemiah, Daniel, Micaiah, and Apostle Paul all rolled in to one person. Like Nehemiah, he desired to build a legacy of freedom that included equal treatment for those who had been oppressed and marginalized. Like Daniel, he had audience with high elected officials, Presidents, and Royalty. Like Micaiah, he was thrown in jail for speaking the truth and prophesying the Word of the Lord for his generation. And like the Apostle Paul he was able to organize people to come together for a greater cause. I am not trying to say that Dr. King was in any way, infallible or perfect, however many things that he was able to accomplish were directed by God and inspire me to imagine what a prophet called to kings and leaders would look like. He faced the opposition, intimidation and conspiracies against him, just like all of the prophets of old, and yet the impact of his mission is still alive today. I dare to believe that like when the corpse was placed in Elisha’s tomb, resurrection occurred, hopefully if we lean on Dr. King’s dream the desire to have “all God’s Children” in one accord will be revived in our lifetime.
Dear modern prophets, if you were granted access to the highest elected officials, royalty, and the leaders of the nations, what would you prophesy? If you had audience with billionaires and trillionaires, would you release the Word of the Lord? If you had a Word that could turn a nation back to God, but it might cost you freedom, or your life would you release it? If you had a Word from God that a leader would oppose and would potentially cause disfavor come your way would you prophesy or bury it?
The fear of the Lord is the compass that directs and guides the prophet that is anointed with boldness to stand before kings. Quality is valued over quantity of words and dilution of the message is not an option. Usually the blog post would end in prayer, however for this post I encourage you to consider the content of this message and inquire of the Lord in regards to your Prophetic gift. My prayer is that prophets who are called to kingdoms and nations will take their place and that those who are in their process for Prophetic training will be fully equipped with every strategy and resource for their call.
P.S. – I didn’t include many scripture references so feel free to use the Bible to fact check anything that you have questions about in this post.