Responding to the Word
Every declaration elicits a response, whether positive or negative. We can choose to either affirm or negate it. When we have a divine discourse with heaven, we will respond, and how we do so makes all the difference in the world to how the word manifests in our lives.
For instance, take Joash, King of Israel, who went to Elisha at a time of war against Syria. Elisha told Joash to unleash God's victory by shooting an arrow. He did that but failed to enter into the complete victory because he failed to smite the ground with vehemence. It was almost as though he was going through the motions to fulfill the requirements of the word received. Psalm 18:42 records that David beat his enemies fine "as the dust before the wind." While King David wholeheartedly engaged God's enemies until they were smitten, there is a picture that Joash was not willing to go the distance to see the word of the Lord fully realized in the life of Israel (2 Kings 13:14-19). The question before us whenever God's word is given is whether or not we want to rid ourselves of an annoyance in our lives or whether we desire decisive victory over the enemy. Do we want to take the land for the kingdom or just rid it of that which prevents our everyday comfort? We see responses to the prophetic word at the declarations made at Christ's first advent.
Zacharias failed to respond in faith. Here is a man known for his righteousness before God, yet when God was ready to move, Zacharias questioned whether God was able. Zacharias wanted assurances beyond the miraculous appearance of an angel who stood before the presence of God! What else would he question in the coming months? For this reason, God shut Zacharias's mouth, refusing to allow him to make any declarations regarding the word. God has spoken, and Zacharias would not be permitted to negate it with his mouth (Luke 1:18-22). How many times have we aborted the promises of God because we have spoken rashly?
While perplexed, Mary chose to agree with Gabriel regarding God's word. She voluntarily put herself at God's disposal and submitted to the word in faith. The term "handmaiden" can also be translated as "bondslave," indicating that Mary gave herself entirely to the will of another – God. When Gabriel told her, "Nothing will be impossible with God," she believed him. She didn't question God's ability, only whether the Lord would cover her inability (in this case, to conceive as she was a virgin). Luke 1:28-38.
The shepherds who heard the proclamation of Christ's birth chose to drop everything they were doing to pursue and confirm the spoken word. They went hurriedly and found the person and place of Christ. We cannot expect that the manifestation of the prophetic word will come to us. Sometimes it is up to us to pursue it. Sometimes it requires our movement. I will address this in a later post.
If we are to see the prophetic word move in our lives, we must choose to respond as Mary did, acknowledging that we are here to give ourselves over entirely to God's purposes. The Apostle Paul declared, "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me" (Gal. 2:20). Are we willing to lay ourselves before the Lord, all of our preconceived ideas of life, and allow the God of the Universe to have His Word manifest in us, or are we setting parameters for God, saying, "This far and no further?" It is a question we all must consider. Are you willing to enslave yourself to His will, no matter the cost, to see His glorious advent into your life and the world? Selah