Becoming a prophet is no longer a common occupation. In fact, with the occupational hazards, it was unlikely that many candidates apply for the job. The prophet had the task of communicating God’s message to His people. Couriers, or messengers, have little status, but the job was at times more difficult because the Boss was invisible and few took Him seriously.
Old Testament prophets were an instrument of God and had the Holy Spirit. This compelled them to speak the truth. Jeremiah says of his message that “I was weary of holding it back” (Jeremiah 20:9). Amos declares that if the Lord God speaks, it is impossible to not prophesy (Amos 3:7-8). Micah clearly says that he is “full of power by the Holy Spirit of the Lord” (Micah 3:8). The Holy Spirit creates this strong inclination that leads to godly actions.
The Holy Spirit's presence prohibits actions that promote self-will or desire. When the prophet performed a miracle, there was always an individual that could benefit, whether in a strengthened relationship with God or in a physical blessing. In 2 Kings 6, Elisha causes an ax head to float. This was not done simply because Elisha had the power to defy gravity. There was a specific purpose. A borrowed ax would need to be replaced with much effort, especially for a poor student. This is an example of outgoing concern for others. It was not done to draw attention to the prophet’s skill or ability. Considering the purpose and intent of a miracle is the test for whether a prophet is truly from God.
A true prophet was ridiculed, ignored, outcast, or even sought as a criminal. While it may be well known how much difficultly “major” prophets such as Daniel and Jeremiah faced, consider a few lesser known examples. In 1 Kings 22:27, Micaiah the true prophet is placed in prison after refusing to say what the king wanted to hear and is never to be mentioned again in the biblical record. The righteous prophet Uriah fled to Egypt, but was found and killed at the orders of the king (Jeremiah 26:20-23). Their words were unpopular. The leadership of the country was against them. It is not an easy task to be a messenger from God.
The prophet sought to encourage people to repent and then develop a relationship with God. Often a pastor has this role today. Since Christians are all to act as God’s messengers of the gospel, the role of the prophets carries into the modern Church era. Thankfully, at this present time, Christians face less opposition than Micaiah and Urijah did. However, be prepared to face these difficulties in the future. We must act to help others, not to draw attention to ourselves. We must use the Holy Spirit to promote love and perform good works. And remember, as an instrument of God, we give the glory to God.