The unwelcome necessity - The BurdenLars WiderbergThe distinguishing feature of the prophetic dimension is its passion for quality. A prophets pursuit is wholly dedicated to the laying hold of perfection. The prophetic voice is at all times raised in favour of truth. Excellence is the sole goal and superior target when a prophet addresses the congregation. He has somehow been able to and allowed to look into Heaven and therefore he cannot but be praying for Heaven to arrive as a transforming factor in mans affairs. The prophetic dimension is the realm of heavenly qualities and it holds motivational dynamics powerful enough to thrust men into paths of the Presence. Prophets follow hard after the Lord. Quality, the scent of the personal presence of the Lord lies at the core of anything prophetic. The prophetic pursuit of mastering the art of worship moves into focus as the reason for existence. Quality, holiness and worship, is the essence of a life at the foot of the Cross.The prophet is the bringer of Heaven. His role consists of inducing and planting quality. He establishes and examines quality. His addresses concern the condition of the people. The prophet defines their position and discerns the source of their living and behaving. He analyses tendencies and trends, he speaks up during times of apostasy. He cannot hold his breath watching ungodly practices. In short, he has become a man of responsibility - anchored in reality. To him Heaven is real. Heaven is a practical reality, involving spiritual and moral quality.God spoke, Jeremiah listened. God gave a picture, Jeremiah watched. There, a rod of an almond tree. Then, a word play - you saw a rod, you have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it; Jer 1:11-12. A prophet will learn to look at things from Gods point of view. His pictures and words become prophetically simple, but always and above all - anchored in reality. The words of the Lord are practical, having solid implications. Generalities, meaning hundreds of things to hundreds of people, does not belong to the prophetic realm. God is relevant - he is never religious. God is relevant - his words forebode performance.
True prophets appear in times of apostasy. Prophets of quality move in when the people are moving away from the ideal laid down once and for all in the Book. The prophetic mind develops into its finest and most rare expressions during times of apostasy. A Jeremiah is born for and prepared for the babylonic confrontation. A man who is prepared to watch and to cry will appear. The burden-bearer will be made ready. A man who wont give in will always be found in times of apostasy. Such a man is made able to see - see reality. He sees Gods intervention coming. His burden is something very real, indeed tangible. He relates to reality, speaks reality, speaks quality.Gods personal performance is directly related to words and visions. God expects his presence and performance to be taken seriously as a word has been released from a prophets mouth. The burden develops, a prophets heart is increasingly troubled as he sees the unwillingness of the people to adjust to reality. Heaven is not the liberty and prosperity promised by vanity prophets. Heaven is modest quality as is displayed in the beatitudes. At rest, blessed are those who are poor in spirit
Blessed are those who mourns
The vanity prophet never carries this prophetic mark as his vision for himself and for the people is to flee from hardship at any cost. The words of a vanity prophet never carry the quality of presence and fulfilment Bring the gift of prophecy to test, bring the prophets to be judged. Most of their words will be classified as wanting quality.
The prophet is a man of the Book. Comparison, correspondence, and conformity are his words. Not one dot or iota would be found missing. No single thing will be found nonessential or unfulfilled. Not one thing should be allowed to be diverging from the ideal. His lifetime occupation is to became fully mastered by the Book. His desire is to read it and to understand how the prophecies of old are to be applied in this present day. Two major elements open for the burden of the Lord - revelation and investigation. Revelation - a soul in anguish, Jer 4:19. Sent on the road with a word. Running, but cannot run away from the task. The burden will move and also carry the prophet. Those who carry a vision will never travel far from the point of beginning. Those who allow themselves to be carried by a vision will reach the goal, mission accomplished.A vision of the ideal, of Heaven, transforms into a burden, into the unwelcome burden when it begins to - almost demandingly - occupy every aspect of your life. You are not your own, 1 Cor 6:19. The split mind, the doublemindedness of a prophet manifest thus: Must stay with it; Must try to get away from it - Jer 9:1-2. Prophetic stickability manifests thus: Must cry over my people, the love of the Lord is an ever present, compelling force, a fire burning within. Yet, it is getting too hot, getting to narrow.Jonah ran off, only to have a strange encounter with the burden that carries a prophet on to final fulfilment of the words planted. Amos was brought out of his favourite occupation to become an excellent political commentator, obviously not liking his new role - Am 7:14. Elijah ran off and away from the Jezebelic confrontation. And while on the move in the wrong direction - a decision based on his own analysis - he was served refreshing meals by angels. - We would have decided that we were perfectly right, based on the fact of the graceful angelic visitation. And we would have added to our error and folly by taking down the story in a colourful manuscript, describing the meal and the appearance of the servant in minute detail, for the sake of making a few more bucks. Elijah found grace in the sound of the gentle wind, brought back to reality by mere silence.
The burden of the Lord is planted in mens hearts for the benefit of those who are defenceless, and mistreated. The burden is nothing but the willingness to go between, to act on behalf of the ones who hurt , to come to the assistance of those who are crushed - Isa 58:6-8. Prophets work with reality. His tools are facts. His tools are minds girded for action. His tools are hearts burning for righteousness. Prophets are practical men in the field of religion as well as in the area of culture and social science.His main area of investigation comprises the everyday how tos concerning the ten commandments. The main question runs as follows: How to build a society, a fellowship ready to serve the poor and needy spiritually as well as in every manner possible physically and socially? God is relevant. He co-operates with men who are ready and willing to become burdened. God does not operate flows and winds of impersonal change. Prophecy tells you how to act and to relate. Prophecy never pacifies. It raises expectations, it motivates and it makes you ready to participate in Gods work. Prophecy makes you think and act.
The sign of the Presence is fruit, not power. We may expect miracles - as well as counterfeit miracles. But, we must set our minds and hearts to the displaying of fruit of the fellowship with the Spirit. The enemy does not produce christlikeness. The Antichrist is anti and against fruit. The enemy is never against the spectacular and self-produced, but he heartily dislikes a character moulded at the foot of the Cross. Fruit, likeness and identity bring identification, a burden and co-operation. The prophet has handed himself over to the Word and to the ministry of intercession. A prophet has made himself available to the Word to explain and to expound itself. Investigation brings revelation. Revelation forces investigation and explanation. The Word has to become internalised, eat the scroll. The Word externalises itself through intercession. Bowls full of intercession and incense brings thunder and lightning, Rev 5:8.The greater and larger part of the work of a prophet is his occupation with the transforming Word and its application, the minor part is the public part -speaking to people. A vanity prophet never gives out a word from the Lord, simply because he never gave himself to the Word. He may speak perfectly in line with what the Book teaches, but what he says is not from the Lord.Prophets become men of revelation because they follow hard after the Lord and hand themselves over to the Word. Prophets never sounds like parrots. Prophets are men of quality. A prophet is one of its kind, never copying, never to be copied. He is comfortable being alone, like Michaiah - 2 Chron 18. Sometimes he is horribly lonely like Elijah.
Spiritual and moral quality establishes the framework and sets the limits of true prophecy. The identity of the source of a prophetic word becomes the sole target for testing and probing. A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough, 1Cor 5:6. The enemy preaches well. The spirits prophesies with great fervour and inspiration. What sounds good and edifying may spring from a bitter source - seduction and counterfeit.Ecstasy and manifestations are not valid parameters for testing. Presence - the presence of the Lord - guarantees quality. The prophetic word divides the soulish from the spiritual. Flesh operating prophetically produces divination and brings spiritism into the Church - Jer 14:14, Gal 5:20. The prophetic word is a motivational force, it becomes a burden unto quality in practical kingdom expressions. The prophet is a man of precise words and wording. He finds himself developing a language that properly and prudently mirrors the presence of Heaven.A burden from the Lord may be compared to a consuming fire, Jer 20:9. It drives home every single point in the message by heavy punches, Jer 23:29. It holds the compelling force of something otherworldly. It goes far beyond the ordinary. But, watch, beware, God may not present. God is not the source just because of the extraordinary, the sensational. For you will no longer remember the oracle of the LORD, because every man's own word will become the oracle, and you have perverted the words of the living God, the LORD of hosts, our God. - Jer 23:36.Oracles, burdens of mens minds and imaginations of mens hearts - the same word is used for oracle and for burden in the Hebrew language - may quite easily outmanoeuvre and overrule the Word of God. Sensations and forcefulness are not parameters to be used to identify and classify true burdens and oracles. Overwhelming experiences and astounding manifestations are used as means to shortcut testing procedures and to invite the spiritistic and demonic. Demons are attracted to the bizarre. Behold, I am against those who have prophesied false dreams, declares the LORD, and related them and led My people astray by their falsehoods and reckless boasting; yet I did not send them or command them, nor do they furnish this people the slightest benefit, declares the LORD. - Jer 23:32. 2. Blessed are the peaceful rather than the boastful. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are the meek and gentle. . .
The fullness of the power of the presence of the Holy Spirit is but, and nothing less than, the fullness of the operation and the workings of the Cross. His presence teaches us how to carry the cross. He plants christlikeness. He is the sole qualified instructor in regards to the topics related to burden-bearing. God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 1 Cor 1:27. The Holy Spirit confronts pride. He confronts those who violate the defenceless, he confronts offenders. The true burden produces tears, not boasting. A true burden serves, never making profit. Prophets and profit just dont combine.A burden is an oracle. A burden defines itself. A burden aims at specific targets and appears within specific parts of the framework called reality. An oracle is a burden. A word from the Lord hurts. To become aware of the reality, as God perceives it, hurts. To carry a burden, to live within the realm of the Cross is painful. To share and deliver a burden is not done without cost. A prophets office is no glamorous office. Like emery harder than flint I have made your forehead, Ez 3:9. Made able to cope with the rebellion. Made able to stand the pressure. The glamour prophet is in every sense and situation a false prophet. Therefore I say, Turn your eyes away from me, Let me weep bitterly, Do not try to comfort me concerning the destruction of the daughter of my people. - Isa 22:4. The glamour prophet heals superficially, if at all, and he is not ashamed of it. They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, Peace, peace, but there is no peace. Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done? They were not even ashamed at all; They did not even know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; At the time that I punish them, They shall be cast down, says the LORD. - Jer 6:14-15.Nehemiah invited a burden by asking simple questions about the remnant residing in Jerusalem. The reporting brought him to tears, not of the religious type but of a more productive kind. Investigation invites revelation. True revelation can afford to be tested. Revelation and investigation belongs as a inseparable pair in the realm of reality. Daniel gives a perfect example of how a burden is nurtured and cultivated: "So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes." - Daniel 9:3.
The prophetic office is the opposite to and is contrary to the discipline of delusion, Jer 10:8. A burden of the Lord shatters follies of fantasy. A heavenly oracle will be brought in among the vanity prophets to overturn their kingdoms of delusion. What is at hand when the Lord declares, Jer 4:28? There are several words, sharp as iron from the north, linked to the utterances of the Lord through his prophets. To declare, to pronounce, to proclaim, to command. What is at hand when the Lord brings in his sword in the form of a prophetic word? The carnal and the spiritual will be separated. Delusion and reality will stand out as crystal clear entities opposing each other. The mixture presented as modern Christianity will be toppled and disqualified. The corrupted optimism of this day is indeed contrary to biblical Christianity. The covenant among vanity prophets not to confront each other and the various interpretations of the message of peace and prosperity, will come to an end with dramatic manifestations. Their phony brokenness, their superficial tears and repentance does not stand the test of reality. Prophecy brings thorough change, if allowed to work as a word from the Lord. The Jeremiahs of this hour will not obey any demanding voice, declaring silence in the name of unity. Curses brought against the Jeremiahs of this late hour will not bite. Jeremiah-types will not quit.
The office of a prophet holds specific burdens for nations, Isa 13:1. Men of the prophetic dimension are sent to men in authority with oracles concerning national issues, and their words hold information and instruction for the restructuring of motivation and intentions - Rev 10:11. In times of apostasy and depravity there will appear men of God with uncompromising words on repentance, grace and judgment. The prophetic mind develops into its finest and most rare expressions in times of antichristian lack of adherence and unwillingness to listen. A major, and perhaps the final, confrontation and judgment of the babylonic patterns are to be expected, Isa 14:22. The prosperity perspective based on a false view of mans potential intertwined with spiritistic hopes and helpers will meet its end, Jer 14:14-15.Indeed, the burden becomes overwhelming for the prophetic people when the Day of the Lord is ruled out as an impossibility in the name of love and positive confession. Could it be that the old prophets were wrong? Could it be that the Lord, while walking the paths of Israel, were mistaken concerning the Fathers intentions as they were revealed through the prophets of the Book? The burden of an Isaiah concerning the last days - Isa 24-27 - a mistake, another delusion? Who makes God a liar - the prophets of old or the vanity prophets?Prosperity prophets try to speak a new reformation into existence, a reformation which in the end eradicates the necessity of the Day of the Lord. Again the old trick is used and tried: If a statement is repeated and repeated, it will eventually come out as truth one day. Prophecy by manpower. At the root of the reformers prospect lies a spiritistic hope: No death, no decay, no decline, no demands, no judgment - be positive, become prosperous, develop your potential.
Prophets sow with tears, and will reap with joy, Ps 126. Blessed are those who mourn. When the nation of Judah was about to be destroyed, Jeremiah purchased land. He was investing in the impossible future. The burden-bearer belongs to the future - the future belongs to the burden-bearer. Blessed are the meek and gentle for they shall inherit the land. Burdens are not real if the blessed hope of a future promised land is missing at the core of it. Burden-bearers are not a pessimistic people. Burden-bearers cannot give in.Prophets carrying a message of judgment will not be able to carry through while delivering their message if they have missed the mark concerning investment in the future. The tears are have their fountain, and are somehow resting in a song which only Heaven can plant. The burden is planted while looking into Heaven. The burden is a matter of quality. The burden sings about the qualities of Heaven. Prophets are men occupied with a continuous pursuit for quality. The prophetic office rests on an ongoing encounter with the God of hope, He who sent his only begotten son to re-establish holiness and hope. Prophets are burdened simply because they are anchored in this reality.