Hard Talk

The Tragedy of Ramoth-Gilead

In January this year 20 leading figures in the prophetic movement in the USA recorded what they declared God had shown them of the coming year. Many of their predictions are vague and hard to quantify but among the things they claimed God had shown them were the following –

He (God) was going to pour out his Spirit (on America) and 2020 was to be a season of awakening, harvest and revival. That 2020 was going to be a year for America as the church aligned with God. That there would be very large public meetings, a billion-soul harvest of youth and very large stadium crusades. That 2020 would be the greatest year of wealth transfer and the year of prophetic prosperity.

Everything then was positive for 2020. There were no specific, clear indications of the tragedy to come, although one person, following the declaration that 2020 was to be ‘a year for America’ did also say that there was going to be an unspecified ‘time of crisis’ followed by ‘grace increasing on America’.

When the COVID pandemic did strike America one of the leading voices in the prophetic movements told a national TV network – “It’s not going to be the pandemic that people are afraid of’. Another well-known prophetic voice declared COVID would be over ‘much sooner than you think’. And many many declared that it would be over, at the latest, by Passover (8th – 16th April 2020). Sadly, far from being over (as I write), some states like Florida (a few days ago) recorded 9,000 new cases. And this is a state where a major figure in the prophetic movement, who has a mega church here, declared on Twitter on February 26th, 2020, that he had ‘cursed’ the Corona Virus ‘from these shores’ giving the impression that having done so would save America from it.

It is not mine to judge such people (God alone reserves that prerogative), but we have been given discernment and a dose of common sense – and I believe, the right (in love) to exercise it.

I suspect that many, if not all those referred to above, would have been, or, for all I know, perhaps are, happy members of the 400 prophets called on for guidance by an ancient king of Israel as he contemplated going to war. He, like all of us, wanted to be surrounded by positive people, especially in a time on national crisis. In fact, I hear many Christians advising me today to avoid any friendship with negative people – so exclusively surrounding myself with positive people seems like the best of advice. But sadly, it is not always so. Surrounding oneself with ‘yes men’ (or women) in any leadership role is very common – but also very dangerous.

So, the 400 hundred prophets (to a man), to paraphrase with our modern buzz phrases, told the king to follow his dream, enter in to his God given inheritance and go with God’s blessing and assurance of success – “Yes,” they said, “go up to Ramoth-Gilead and be victorious, for the Lord will give the king victory!” (2 Chronicles 18:11)

But somewhere deep down the King wanted opinion 401. There was one prophet not in the group, but the king hated him because – ‘He never prophesies anything but trouble for me!’ However, called he was and on arrival Micaiah (Who Is Like God?) warned against the adventure. His honesty resulted in his arrest and imprisonment – and the campaign went ahead as planned. But Micaiah was right and the 400 were wrong! King Ahab was killed and his armies routed.

The danger for many is that in reading an article like this they may be tempted to use it as an excuse to deny the prophetic and its relevance to the Christian community today. That would be a tragic error. God still reveals and speaks through his people – the heritage of our Highland and Gaelic speaking Christian communities in Scotland is ample proof or that. The problem is that in our interconnected age America dominates the airwaves and online media in this regard – and we often judge all by the skewed picture we see projected around the world from it. It is also true that the deception of false prophetic declarations and teaching is infecting even the remotest hill and glen in the Highlands and Islands. We need the gift of discernment more than ever before.

My final question is this. If the 400 are prophesying falsely – where can I find a true Micaiah today? That he/she exists I have no doubt. The problem is that if she is an old lady on the Russian Steppe with no electricity and no internet, I will really struggle to find her. However, I suspect that there are some much closer to home! The problem is, like Micaiah, they live outside the courts of the 400, are, very often, despised, not only by the conservative right, but also by the charismatic left and are, consequently, very hard to find. But that is no excuse to stop looking and, with discernment, listening!


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