Deuteronomy 18:18 “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him.”
This is one of several places in the Bible that have multiple true interpretations. It’s kind of like quantum physics, in which two seemingly contradictory things can be true at the same time. This particular verse is explicitly singular, and therefore has long been taken as Messianic, but the following verses clearly speak of multiple prophets, which would not be Messianic. There were many prophets in Israel and Judah in the centuries after this, some valid and some not, but the idea of this singular Prophet was persistent even to Jesus’ day, when John the Baptist was asked if he was “the Prophet.” (John 1:21) We tend to forget that until Jesus started His public ministry, He was completely unremarkable. I’m sure those who knew Him personally thought He was a really nice guy, but as Isaiah said, “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” (Isaiah 53:2) That agrees perfectly with this verse, that specifies this individual would be raised up from among the people. As a carpenter, Jesus certainly wasn’t a weakling, but he wasn’t a Hercules, either. Until He started speaking the very words of God, there was nothing to distinguish him from anyone else. However, when He did start His ministry He was instantly polarizing, and people were either for Him or against Him. That’s because He spoke the Word of the Lord, and indeed was the Word, as John said, (John 1:1) and as such was “living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) You couldn’t get away from Jesus’ words! Believers today are tasked with communicating Jesus’ words to those around them. We aren’t Him, of course, but we operate under His authority, (Matthew 28:18-20) and we represent Him. (2 Corinthians 5:20) We tend to get hung up on the idea of prophecy being predictive, and as such are either drawn to it or turned off by it. A far more accurate picture is that prophecy is simply speaking out what God is saying, and anyone with the Holy Spirit in them can do that. The danger comes in saying things on our own that God is not saying, and then claiming or even thinking they are from God, as this passage goes on to say. Prophecy requires both faith that God can use us and humility to know that our own words are worthless without the anointing of God. If we have those two things, then God will indeed speak through us.
I have been used in prophecy numbers of times, and occasionally even in predictive prophecy, but I have also experienced continuing to talk after God stopped talking. That’s horrible! In recent years I have very seldom spoken in overt prophecy, but I earnestly seek to speak only what God is saying all the time. Sometimes He speaks some pretty mundane things! I desire to be His mouthpiece more and more, because I know that it is not my words but His that accomplish that for which He sends them, (Isaiah 55:10-11) and I desire that His will be done throughout the earth, for His glory.
Father, thank You for this reminder. As I grow older I find that people tend to put more weight to my words. May I indeed speak only what You are saying, so that I may not wound needlessly and so that the devil’s lies may be uncovered, setting people free to repent and believe for their salvation, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!