“Cursed be the day wherein I was born: let not the day wherein my mother bare me be blessed. Cursed be the man who brought tidings to my father, saying, A man child is born unto thee; making him very glad. And let that man be as the cities which the LORD overthrew, and repented not: and let him hear the cry in the morning, and the shouting at noontide; Because he slew me not from the womb; or that my mother might have been my grave, and her womb to be always great with me. Wherefore came I forth out of the womb to see labour and sorrow, that my days should be consumed with shame? “(Jeremaiah 20: 14-18)

Many people want to be prophets because they think it is a glamourous profession which makes one rich and famous. They want the fame, the respect and the wealth many so-called prophets are displaying here and there. The ostentatious lifestyle exhibited by many self-acclaimed prophets has become a great temptation for many who think that being a prophet is great! Unfortunately, they do not understand the agony and burden of true Prophets of God.

Being a prophet is a good thing. However, one must be called by God; if not, the prophetic office becomes a curse to the self -acclaimed prophet and his followers. It is not an easy thing to be a true prophet of God. This is because true prophets speak the mind of God to men. They want men to obey God and lead a holy life. These things are contrary to the cravings of the flesh. So, men reject the prophet and make him their enemy. This is not an easy path to tread.

Since humans hate the truth, the prophet God sends to speak to us is not welcome. The word of God which proceeds out of his mouth is not sweet in our ears. In retaliation, we hate the prophet and call him unprintable names. We criticize and persecute him. This does not make the work of a prophet a desirable one. Unfortunately for him, a prophet has no choice than to do God’s will. In good and bad time, season, after season; whether loved or hated, the prophet must carry out the will of God. If God asks him to speak, he must speak. When he speaks and rebukes us for our sins, so we can repent and have life, instead of repenting, we get angry at God’s words spoken by the prophet. And since we don’t see God in human form to vent our anger on Him, we direct our anger to His messenger – the prophet. That is the agony of a prophet.

People always misunderstand the prophet. Despise, persecution and rejection by the same people God sends him to makes his work very difficult. Those who hate the truth often attack the prophet. Interestingly, as God’s representative, the prophet’s work is to save lives and not to destroy. So, he cannot retaliate. The Prophet cannot say no when God sends him back to give His word to the same people who do not want to see his face. That is the agony of the prophet.

In the days of Elijah, the man of God called down fire from heaven to consume his enemies. However, the New Testament prophet does not have such liberty. We cannot call down fire to consume our enemies as Elijah did. At a time, the disciples of Lord Jesus Christ desired to call down fire to consume those who did not receive the Lord. But He forbade them.

“And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.” (Luk 9:51-56)

In this new era of grace, forgiveness is the key. Even if we have the power to destroy our enemies, the Lord forbids us from doing so. This is because our Lord Jesus Christ has shed His Blood to save all, including those who hate him. Destroying them before time is not God’s plan. Therefore, no matter how the level of persecution the new testament prophet receives, he does not have the right to take revenge on his enemies. He has no permission to curse those who persecute him. The prophet must rejoice for suffering for the sake of Christ.

“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”(Matthew 5:11-12)

Truth be told, the agony of the prophet is huge. Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of all prophets endured persecution, suffering, pain and died on the cross to save humanity. During His earthly journey, He did not curse those who wronged Him. Amidst pain and suffering on the cross, He prayed the Father to forgive those who crucified Him. In the same vein, the New Testament prophet must bless his enemies, and not curse them. That is the agony of the prophet.

When walk in sin, God sends the prophet to warn us. He prophesies what God will do to us because of our sins. If we listen to the Prophet and repent, God forgives us. When what the prophet said does not come to pass, he becomes a false prophet in our eyes.  Sometimes, what the prophet said will not happen because the people concerned repented and God forgave them. Such development is frustrating to the prophet because, in the eyes of men, he is a liar. That is the agony of the prophet.
God’s decision to change his mind and avert calamity was the reason Jonah refused to go to Nineveh when God sent him there to warn the people of the consequences of their sins.
“Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.” (Jonah 1:1-3)
Instead of going to Nineveh, Jonah ran away. Why? It was because he knew the people could repent and God will forgive them. When that happens, he will become a false prophet in the eyes of those who heard him prophesy the destruction of the city. Unfortunately, he had no choice. He tried to run away, but God did not allow it. So, he did as God commanded.
“And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey. And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. “(Jonah 3: 1-4)
From the above scripture, we can see clearly that Jonah prophesied God will destroy Nineveh in forty days. Unfortunately for the prophet, the people of Nineveh were not as stubborn and foolish as those of Sodom and Gomorrah who, refused to repent. The Ninevehites, beginning from their King to the least person, quickly repented, fasted, prayed and asked the Lord to forgive their sins.
“So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.”(Jonah 3:5) 
God saw their broken hearts and contrite spirit and forgave their sins.
“And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.” (John 3:10)
How did Jonah react to what God did? The scripture below has the answer.
“But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore, I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.”(Jonah 4: 1-3)
Indeed, Jonah was right. He knew very well that God’s mercy is too great. He will always forgive those who have sinned against Him if they repent and ask for His mercy. Jonah must have experienced that many times and wanted no more of it. Hence his decision not to go to Nineveh. Did Jonah’s fear come to pass? Yes, it did. He prophesied the destruction of Nineveh as the Lord said. However, God did not destroy Nineveh because the people repented. That is the agony of the prophet. He could say something, but it may not happen because the people concerned will repent and God will change his mind.

Note that despite his anointing, the Prophet is human. He feels pain and has emotions like everyone else. He can’t be joyful amid constant persecution, rejection and frustrations. Unnecessary criticism and humiliation robs the prophet of joy. Though his eyes are on God for his reward in heaven, his flesh suffers constant pain because of persecution. Anointing does not take away the pain a prophet suffers in the discharge of his duty. That is the agony of the prophet.

The night the Pharisees arrested Him for crucifixion, our Lord Jesus Christ said to his disciples, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.” The confession of the Lord Himself reveals the agony of the prophet in a time of trouble. There is hardly a prophet in the Bible who did not at least, for once, ask the Lord to take his life or curse the day he was born because of the suffering they went through.

Below are few examples:

1. Moses was the meekest man on earth. He was very faithful to God and deeply loved by God. God spoke with him mouth to mouth. He was like no other prophet in his time. However, his life was not rosy. The Israelites troubled him so much; he asked God to kill him.

“And Moses said unto the LORD, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant? and wherefore have I not found favour in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me? Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers? Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people? for they weep unto me, saying, Give us flesh, that we may eat. I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me. And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness.”(Numbers 11:11-15) 

It did not end there. At a time, the agony Moses went through moved him to anger such that he disobeyed God and missed the promised Land. He recounted the incident:

“And I besought the LORD at that time, saying, O Lord GOD, thou hast begun to shew thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand: for what God is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might? I pray thee, let me go over, and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon. But the LORD was wroth with me for your sakes, and would not hear me: and the LORD said unto me, Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter. (Deuteronomy 3: 23-26)

Moses was a great prophet dearly loved by God. God punished many and even killed anyone who challenged Moses. However, he had no joy in the flesh. That is the agony of the prophet.

2. Jeremiah did all the Lord God commanded him. But he cried every day and sought and cursed the day he was born. He cursed the man who announced his birth to his father and even the womb which gave birth to him.

“Cursed be the day wherein I was born: let not the day wherein my mother bare me be blessed. Cursed be the man who brought tidings to my father, saying, A man child is born unto thee; making him very glad. And let that man be as the cities which the LORD overthrew, and repented not: and let him hear the cry in the morning, and the shouting at noontide; Because he slew me not from the womb; or that my mother might have been my grave, and her womb to be always great with me. Wherefore came I forth out of the womb to see labour and sorrow, that my days should be consumed with shame?”(Jeremiah: 20-14-18)

As a prophet, Jeremiah knew what the people would suffer if they continued in their sin. Constantly he warned them about it and brought pain to himself. The pain of their disobedience and its consequence always robbed him of joy. No doubt that Jeremiah loved God with all his heart. He did his duty as a true prophet of God. However, as long as he walked the earth as a prophet, he had no joy in the flesh because of what he suffered. That is the agony of the prophet.

3. I have not seen a Biblical record that Elijah disobeyed God. I stand to be corrected, though. However, he went through so much pain in the hands of God’s enemy.

“And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time. And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.”(1 Kings 19: 1-4)

When Jezebel sought to kill Elijah, no one helped him. His servant left him. He felt rejected and abandoned. In the long run, he asked God to kill him. Elijah sure had no joy in the flesh. That is the agony of the prophet.

4. Whilst in prison, John the Baptist expected the Lord Jesus Christ to rescue him. But it did not happen. At last, Herod beheaded him for speaking the truth.

“But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead. For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife: for he had married her. For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife.”( Mark 6: 16-18)

Indeed, John was a great prophet. He spoke the mind of God without fear. However, like other true prophets of God, he had no joy in the flesh. That is the agony of the prophet.

Truth be told, true prophets of God go through a lot of pain that many people do not know. They carry a heavy cross which weighs them down always. It is a glorious thing to be a prophet of God; however, it is difficult to remain faithful to the end. This is because the life of the prophet is full of agony.

Are you a prophet? Don’t let what you are going through discourage you.

Are you desiring to be a prophet? First off, know that no one becomes a prophet by desire. It is by calling. If the Lord has called you as His prophet, be ready to face the enemy in battle. But, fear not because the battle is the Lord’s. All the same, make no mistakes; in the flesh, there is no joy being a prophet. The prophetic call is a call to death. It is full of suffering. No one rejoices in suffering. So, never think it will be rosy. Never! This is because the life of the prophet is one full of agony. However, the reward is great. Be strong.

Source: “Truth be told (TBT) series” 

Author:    Apostle Frank B. Ogbu
                 Head Pastor/Overseer

                Champion Grace Eternal Ministries

                Ayikai Doblo, Amasaman 

                Accra, Ghana

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