Jan and I live at the edge of our small town close to the forest. It is not uncommon to see all kinds of wildlife. We have seen deer, wild turkeys and on a couple of occasions, a cougar. Last night, I was awakened shortly after midnight to the loud howling of a coyote. He was close – just across our street and up the hill. The howling went on for a few moments.
This morning, I researched the vocalization of a coyote and realized what I was hearing was a howl from a coyote separated from his group. He was howling to be found. Coyotes have 11 different vocalizations. People who study these animals can tell you what each howl, bark, and yip means. They are able to discern the coyote’s message within each sound they make.
It is important for us to be able to discern the message hidden within the sounds being made by individuals and culture. What can be written off as only a complaint may be an appeal for something authentic. A negative comment may hide a wounded heart. An overly gregarious response to life may hide a fear of engagement.
A prophetic person is not just a mouthpiece for God. People who carry a prophetic anointing must be able to discern the message hidden within the sounds of culture in order to accurately discern what is taking place before they speak. Last night, I had no idea what the coyote’s message was until I studied the wisdom of those who work with these animals. God wants us to study the wisdom and revelation of the Spirit for the audience of our words before we deliver them. A surface understanding will not reveal the heart and motivation of a person. Without this depth of revelation, we could easily misinterpret what is actually taking place.
When the howling of the coyote stopped last night, I wish I could have seen through the darkness. I would have been able to see the coyote rejoin his family unit. The other coyotes would have discerned his appeal at a level my neighbors and I would have missed. That reunion is a goal of prophecy – to reunite separated people with the heart and will of God.
In life, there are times when people will make strange sounds as they begin a journey toward wholeness. A prophet motivated by love will try to interpret the message hidden within the sound of someone’s voice before they speak. Seek to understand their message before you deliver a word and God will be able to use you in profound ways.