“The prophet is considered a fool, the inspired man a maniac. The prophet, along with my God, is the watchman over Ephraim, yet snares await him on all his paths, and hostility in the house of his God.” Hosea 9:7-8
Even though God sets people on the wall (Isaiah 62:6-7) to align with His purposes and to pray for His will to be done on earth, it’s easy to fall off the wall. Here are five reasons why people who are genuinely called to watch over the church in prayer, fall from the ministry God set them in:
- Self-doubt. Watchmen have prophetic experiences to inspire them to pray, but because everyone doesn’t experience the same things they do, they are called “maniacs;” or in our day, made out to be “weird.” It’s easy to question whether God really did speak and to question why He would tell you and not everyone. “Who do I think I am?” is often an accusing thought.
- Rejection. “Hostility in the house of God” means everyone doesn’t appreciate your intensity. Sometimes church leaders feel threatened by people’s “revelations” and seek to shut watchmen down.
- Suspicion. Revelation 12:10 tells us that Satan is “the accuser of the brethren.” He will mimic prophetic experiences (He disguises himself as an angel of light) to watchmen that sow suspicions in their hearts about leaders and churches. He uses things that have actually happened and were actually said to make the case that God is against His own church because of their many sins.
- Discouragement. In a pragmatic world that supremely values action, it can seem like prayer is a waste of time. When Mary poured precious perfume on Jesus, the church leadership said, “Why this waste?” (Matthew 26:8) Needs will always exist and there will always be time to do practical things after prayer, but please know that the highest calling is to “waste” time worshiping Jesus.
- Depression. In a place of intercession God shares some of His burden with us. We see clearly how wide the gap is between how things are and how they should be. Our burden must be prayed back to God because the government is on Jesus’ shoulders, not ours. (Isaiah 9:6) The enemy would have us be self-proclaimed martyrs who are carrying everyone’s burdens for them.
“Deep calls to deep in the roar of Your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. By day the Lord directs His love, at night His song is with me.” Psalm 42:7-8
The Psalmist is in a time of mourning and desperation that has invited him to go deeper in God. God’s breakers have swept over him and they have broken him down to where all he has left is a thirst for God Himself. (Psalm 42:2) Have you ever been here? Are you there right now? God has a song He wants you to embrace; a song in the night.
David was in the wilderness being chased by Saul even though he had done nothing wrong. He had been anointed by Samuel and had an early victory over Goliath, but now an army was seeking to kill him and he was on the run with his men, hiding in caves. (Psalm 27:3) At this time David heard God say to his heart, “Seek My face.” (Psalm 27:8) In the midst of David’s great need for His hand (power to deliver), God invited David deeper, to seek His face (who He is). May our response be similar to David’s: “Your face, oh God, I will seek.” (Psalm 27:8)
Three things happen to us when we embrace the song in the night:
- Our joy becomes centered in God alone. Habakkuk says that when famine strikes and all external blessings are cut off, he will rejoice in God because God alone is his Savior, Strength, and Guide through life’s most difficult times. (Habakkuk 3:17-19)
- Our identity changes. Hosea declares that experiencing God’s tenderness in the wilderness will lead to us calling God our husband instead of our master. (Hosea 2:14-16) It’s in the frustration and despair of the wilderness that God calls us deeper and changes us. David says it this way: “Your gentleness makes me great.” (Psalm 18:35)
- We prepare the way for our own deliverance. David says the rising waters will not reach him because God has surrounded him with “songs of deliverance.” (Psalm 32:7) Paul and Silas sang this song in jail and it led to an earthquake that freed all of the prisoners (Acts 16). Is it midnight in your life? Lift your eyes higher, seek His face, and sing His song.
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, bring her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her… In that day you will call Me ‘husband’ and no longer call Me ‘master’.” Hosea 2:14, 16
The wilderness seasons of life are difficult. You feel alone, unappreciated, and frustrated. This is Joseph serving in prison; Moses taking care of a few sheep for years; David being chased around a desert – why would a God who loves me lead me into the wilderness?
First, so you will experience His tenderness. As long as God is just a concept to us we will not understand what our lives are about. God doesn’t lead us to the wilderness to punish or scold us; He wants us to know who He really is. We naturally assume God loves productive and impressive people (because that’s who people love), but all that is stripped away in the wilderness. God’s love for us transcends what we do or how we appear. God loves you. He made you and He redeemed you, first and foremost, so you could have a relationship with Him.
Second, so He can change our identity, or how we think about ourselves. “In that day…” In what day? In the day where we experience the tenderness of God in the wilderness; then our motivation will change. Instead of performing for a master, we will be like a beloved bride to her husband. God will become our delight not our duty; our Protector, Provider, and Friend; not just the One we are accountable to.
So how do we respond when God allures us to the wilderness? Usually we fight it by blaming people or blaming God, or we get discouraged and want to give up. All that our wrong responses do is prolong our time in a place we don’t want to be. Let’s embrace God’s purpose in the wilderness. Let’s press into Him and bring our loneliness, anger, and frustration to the cross. Let’s pick up our Bibles and ask Him to speak to our hearts.
One day very soon we will come out of this season changed by the tenderness of God. It will be said of you: “Who is this coming out of the wilderness leaning on her Beloved?” (Song of Songs 8:5)