How clever we are! If that is our starting point we have a lot to learn, and that path has to lead to ‘we are not so smart’. All prophecy is in part, the whole picture is never revealed. One can have increible revelation – look at Elisha and how he knew where the opposing army would be, so much so that the king was frustrated and was told that ‘Elisha knows what is going on behind closed doors’. Yet when the woman whose son had died came to him in great distress, he told his servant to go with her as he did not have a clue what had happened! I respect that enormously, the honesty (I know nothing) and the revelation (I know what is going on in secret) are probably related.
On the receiving end of things, no word will reveal all. I value, Paul valued, and above all God values prophecy, but we must never anticipate that ‘if only we receive a word from God through prophecy’ all will be clear. By all means pray that God will speak and show the way, but s/he might show that path could be in a variety of ways; prophecy might be one such way that helps.
We weigh prophecy. Yes – of God / missed the mark is one aspect; but also weighing it. What ‘part’ does that word play; how does it fit with what else I have received. Like a recipe – 200gms of this and 300gms of that plus… We weigh the ingredients; we weight all prophecy as part of the bigger recipe.
A second aspect of ‘only a part’ is that once we prophesy into a situation it is normal that we can only speak to a part. It is not the whole story (and I am particularly thinking of words that might be for a whole situation, nation, or season). The part we have not been able to get words for should provoke us to prayer. Gayle and I have some words (not directly for us) that we read to dig into, they give insight into the situation(s) but what is not said there, what is ‘between the lines’ is left there for us to wrestle with. The prophetic might throw light on those parts but those aspects are not actually in black and white in the text. There is so much more… Prophecy can open the door to a measure of understanding but prayer and yielding to God is going to bring something deeper. It is not knowledge alone that brings change, nor revelation alone, but co-operation with God (and I could add it is not God alone who brings changes).
God speaks when s/he is also silent. The sheer sound of silence – Elijah’s experience.
I am glad prophecy is God speaking. I am glad that God speaking is more than prophecy.