Can Prophecy Be Negative?

Image courtesy of prozac1 /

Several times in the last few years, I have had people tell me that God never tells His prophets to give bad, negative news to people.  For example, "Sarah" had someone give her a very negative message that he said was from God.  She immediately decided that she did not believe that was from God, because "God wouldn't say something like that to me."  Another time, "Andrea" said that when she is trying to prophesy to someone, she never tells them anything negative.  If it's negative, she just keeps it to herself.

Does God never give bad news to His prophets? 

If you say no, I hope you never run across Isaiah, Jeremiah and most, if not all, of the other prophets when we get to heaven.  Because if you do, I'm pretty positive they will set you straight.

In Isaiah 6, Isaiah finds himself in the throne room of God where he commits to speak for God. Giving him instructions, God says to him:

"Go and tell this people:
'Keep on listening, but do not perceive;
Keep on looking, but do not understand.'
Render the hearts of this people insensitive,
Their ears dull,
And their eyes dim,
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
Understand with their hearts,
And return and be healed."

Then I said, "Lord, how long?"  And He answered,
"Until cities are devastated and without inhabitant,
Houses are without people
And the land is utterly desolate,
The Lord has removed men far away,
And the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land.
Yet there will be a tenth portion in it,
And it will again be subject to burning,
Like a terebinth or an oak
Whose stump remains when it is felled.
The holy seed is its stump."
Isaiah 6:9-13 (NASB)

I don't see that prophecy as very positive, but it was the mission that God gave Isaiah. 

Another prophecy that comes to mind is from the book of Acts:
"As we were staying there for some days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea.  And coming to us, he took Paul's belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, 'This is what the Holy Spirit says: 'In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'"  Acts 21:10-11 (NASB)

The people with Paul tried to convince him not to go to Jerusalem, but even with the prophecy, he knew this was the direction he was to go.

I won't say that every negative word or prophecy that comes to our minds is from God, (nor would I say that about every positive one) but I do want to say that we should not be so quick to dismiss the negative.  It certainly needs to be weighed carefully before spoken aloud, but to choose to not deliver what might be a message from God just because it isn't pleasant could be more damaging than keeping silent. 

For example, if Jonah had not gone to Nineveh, the city would not have been saved.  Jonah's message was full of death and destruction, but without the realization of the precarious position they put themselves in, that generation of Ninevites would not have had the chance to take hold of God's grace.

In deciding whether you should share this negative word, I suggest you first spend some more time praying and listening.  Ask God for clarification if you feel like you need it. 

Ask Him if this is something that He does want you to share.  Whether positive or negative, just because you know something doesn't always mean you should share it.  Sometimes there is a time of waiting before you should share, and sometimes it is just something you need to hold on to for yourself. 

Once you feel certain you are hearing the message correctly and that it is something you are supposed to share, ask Him how you should go about it.  For most of us, it is probably our instinct to come along gently and carefully, with a soft tread, in order to soften the blow.  But it is worth recognizing that some people and some situations need more than that, something a little more direct and assertive.  Listen to the Father and learn how He wants you to handle it.

No one likes to hear negative things, whether from God or from other people, but it seems to me that it is unrealistic to immediately dismiss a negative message simply because it is negative.  As God's people, as His mouthpiece, we should be taking seriously everything we hear from Him and weighing it carefully rather than pretending it is nothing important. 

Have you ever been given a negative word from God for someone?  Did you share?  Would you change anything about how you handled the situation if you could?  Or, more personally, have you ever received a negative word from God from someone else?  In the end, was it a positive or negative experience for you?

Posted in , . Bookmark the permalink. RSS feed for this post.

Leave a Reply

Swedish Greys - a WordPress theme from Nordic Themepark. Converted by