I was reading, meditating, and praying my way through Genesis, and I was set to read Genesis 37. Most of us know the story where Joseph received two prophetic dreams about himself and his family. The first dream had Joseph’s brothers’ sheaves bowing down to Joseph. The brothers understood the interpretation, and they were not fond of the idea of bowing down to their little brother. In the second dream, the sun, moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to Joseph. The interpretation was clear—everyone was bowing down to Joseph. At this point, there was nothing new that was catching my attention.
I kept reading the chapter until I read Genesis 37:12-19, NIV.
Now his brothers had gone to graze their father’s flocks near Shechem, and Israel said to Joseph, “As you know, your brothers are grazing the flocks near Shechem. Come, I am going to send you to them.” “Very well,” he replied. So he said to him, “Go and see if all is well with your brothers and with the flocks, and bring word back to me.” Then he sent him off from the Valley of Hebron. When Joseph arrived at Shechem, a man found him wandering around in the fields and asked him, “What are you looking for?” He replied, “I’m looking for my brothers. Can you tell me where they are grazing their flocks?” “They have moved on from here,” the man answered. “I heard them say, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him. “Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other.
When I read this, the Lord spoke to me and said, “This is where the church is today.” Immediately, when He said this, my eyes were opened to the passage, and I saw exactly what the Lord was talking about.
Jacob’s sons were shepherds. They were grazing their flocks and tending their sheep. They were neglected and under-appreciated. This is the common state of most pastors/shepherds. The problem is this group of shepherds had rejected their brother, the prophet. In the same way, today, many pastors have rejected their brother and sister, the prophet. They left Shechem, which means shoulder, because they were tired of shouldering the weight of ministry. They left for Dothan, which means 2 wells.
They were searching for a double portion of refreshing. God wa looking to meet their need for refreshing, so He sendt a prophet to encourage them, but their rejection of Joseph cut them off from the refreshing they were looking for. In the same way, many pastors are looking for revival and refreshing, but when God sends a prophet, they reject the solution God sends them. To be fair to these shepherds, Joseph didn’t make it easy for them to receive him. Let’s look at Joseph.
Joseph’s brothers not only had to deal with Jacob’s favoritism, but they also had to deal with an immature prophet. Joseph was oblivious and arrogant. Common traits of immature prophets. He prophesied personal words of destiny and used these words to compare himself with his brothers. That didn’t curry a lot of favor with his shepherd brothers.
This is a common mistake among novice prophets. Many inexperienced prophetic people are so happy to be actively receiving revelation that they speak whatever the Lord gives them. In this case, what Joseph received from the Lord was meant for personal digestion and prayer. A word from God, yes! A word for the community at large, no.
Joseph’s revelation was greater than his character. Even though his character was much better than his brothers’. He arose from among the shepherds (his brothers) to dwell within his father’s tent while his brothers did the brunt of the work. Joseph had good character, but only godly character cannot be eroded under the weight of revelation. Joseph’s character wasn’t ready to carry the weight of revelation and authority that he was born to carry. So his revelation fueled his spiritual pride.
Joseph also spoke with a prophetic edge that’s common among many prophetic people. Most prophetic people have no problem speaking truth. He pointed out all the mistakes his brothers made. He was a tattle-tell with the unction of the Holy Spirit. “…he brought their father a bad report about them” (vs. 2). Even though Joseph spoke the truth, he didn’t act in a way that his brothers could receive him. They needed the truth, but they needed it in love and grace.
What is God saying to us? The Word of the Lord is telling us where we are and what we need to do to move into revival. He is speaking specifically to pastors, prophets, and apostolic leaders.
Pastors, revival, refreshing, and outpouring will not happen until you receive the prophetic dreamers. You must receive the prophetic ministry on many levels. Revival will not come on your terms. Shouldering the ministry is hard. Seeking a double portion is noble, but your survival is linked to the prophetic dreamers the Father is sending to you.
Be secure in who you are and in your anointing. The prophet will have a different robe than you. It will appear more ornamental than yours. Their anointing and outlook will be different. You must receive the prophet and embrace their coat of many colors.
Pastors, you must also extend grace to the immature prophet. Ironically, they may not be extending grace to you. Embrace and nurture them. You’ll be tempted to rip up their robes and send them into exile. You’ll be tempted to not deal with the problems that a prophet creates. You may attempt to bar them from your church, but if you do, then you’ll quench the Spirit. How will you do this? By treating prophecies with contempt. Look at what Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5.
1 Thessalonians 5: 19-22, NIV – Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.
Pastor, you must do the hard work. You must test these prophecies. Find the essence of the Spirit’s voice within them and hold these prophetic people to the same standard of morality in which you live. When you have immature prophets, look past their faults and see and receive the essence of their word. This is hard, but revival fire is worth it.
Prophets, release your words with thoughtfulness and humility. All the revelation that you’re receiving is not to be released. Some of this revelation is for you only. It’s for you to process and work within your life. Some of it is to guide you in your intercession or maybe to point a small group of intercessors to a few issues that need to be dealt with in the Spirit. Some believers have not developed the spiritual capacity to receive your words. If so, then don’t throw your pearls before swine (Matt. 7:6). Generally speaking, if it promotes yourself and doesn’t benefit your listeners, then keep it to yourself.
Prophets, you must cooperate with pastors. They’re the gatekeepers of the flock. Yes, pastors are sweatier and stinkier than you, so deal with it. They smell like sheep. They’re your fellow fivefold minister, and you must treat them with respect. When prophesying to leaders, speak with honor, for the same measure you use will be measured back to you. If you address pastors with a condescending tone and nitpick every mistake, then they, in turn, will offer you little tolerance when you make mistakes. If you want to be more than a social media prophet, then you must realize your effectiveness is tied to pastors. Walk in humility.
Genuine Apostolic Fathers
This conflict between pastors and prophets can be easily resolved when apostolic fathers take their place. Jacob could have honored his shepherd sons that were laboring in the field, and he had the spiritual history that gave him the capacity to disciple his prophetic son. There are many unfruitful apostolic leaders out there that are patrolling for pastors and prophets to be in their network, but a mature apostolic leader has given birth to pastors and prophets. They don’t have to go out and look for them; they’ve birthed them. They’re in a relationship with them. They have more than an apostolic title; they have apostolic fruit. When these reluctant fathers step forward honoring and teaching all their sons, then look for the kingdom to come in power.
Fathers, step forward and accept your calling. You don’t have to accept a title, but you do have to accept your role. Honor the under-appreciated pastor. Disciple your immature prophetic son. Be confident and assertive. The next generation is waiting for you to bridge the gap between pastors and prophets so the fires of revival can spread.
If you enjoyed this article, then maybe you would be interested in my book Crazy Kingdom. Listen to what Pastor David Garcia said about my book, Crazy Kingdom.
“The kingdom of God is the rulership and government of God over our lives. If we seek first the kingdom of God, Jesus promises not only heaven but a life of abundance now. Cameron King has written an outstanding book on how to apply the principles that Jesus teaches into our daily living. Crazy Kingdom is written in a down-to-earth, easy-to-understand manner intertwined with powerful illustrations which penetrate the reader. Each chapter is a brilliant and witty presentation of some major principles Jesus teaches, and all end with practical applications to an abundant-life mindset, as opposed to the survivor mentality, that is prevalent in our society. We are challenged to put into practice these principles in specific areas of our lives such as “Business,” “Family,” “Creativity,” “Solutions,” “Prayer,” “Health,” and “Financial.” This is one of the best books out there on the subject of the kingdom of God. I highly endorse and encourage everyone to read and apply it!!”
David Garcia is the lead pastor of Grace World Outreach Church in Brooksville, Florida. He is the author of The Gospel of the Kingdom of God and Portrait of a Powerful Last-Day Christian.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on royalperspectives.com
Featured Image by Jordan Sanchez