Prophetic Insight

Prophecy Isn’t Protest, It’s Governmental Decree – A Word by Nathan Shaw


Recently I woke up and heard God say, “Prophecy isn’t protest, it’s governmental decree.” I was intrigued and a little puzzled. I inquired of God. He highlighted two people to me: King David and the prophet Nathan. Nathan is mentioned in connection with two events in David’s life.

The first event is recorded in 2 Samuel 7. David desired to build a temple for God. When Nathan heard David’s desire he responded, “Go, do all that is in your heart, for the LORD is with you” (2 Samuel 7:3). That night God corrected Nathan, revealing that it was Solomon who would build the temple, and not David. At the same time Nathan also received a profound revelation about God’s plan to establish the future of David’s throne (2 Samuel 7:11-16). David’s throne would have an ongoing governmental authority beyond anything the earth had ever known before.

The second event is recorded in 2 Samuel 12. David committed adultery with Bathsheba and then arranged for her husband to be killed in battle as a cover up for his sin. God sent Nathan to confront David. Nathan was wise. He told David a story: There was a rich man who had plenty and a poor man who had only one dearly loved lamb. A traveler visited the rich man. The rich man took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for his guest. David was enraged at the rich man’s actions. Nathan revealed that David was in fact the man. His sin with Bathsheba had been no different. It was hard for Nathan to bring this correction to David but he did it with wisdom, humility and respect. Consider that David had a greater prophetic authority than Nathan. Many of the psalms of David are profoundly prophetic, decreeing God’s purposes for future generations, and even into eternity. David received correction through Nathan even although David had a greater prophetic mantle than Nathan. David’s sin was forgiven him but he still had to face painful consequences. When a person walks in great authority their actions have greater consequences.

Here’s the tapestry of insight we can glean from these two events:

  • God corrected Nathan. Nathan received the correction with humility.
  • Nathan was used to correct David. Nathan confronted David with humility.
  • David received the correction from Nathan even although David had the greater prophetic mantle.

As interesting as all this is it still doesn’t explain the meaning of, “Prophecy isn’t protest, it’s governmental decree.” There are two further scenarios we need to consider—one from the life of David and the other from the life of Jesus.

Prophecy Isn’t Protest

King Saul was intensely jealous of David. So jealous, in fact, that he was determined to do everything in his power to murder David. David had done nothing wrong. Despite this injustice David didn’t protest against Saul. David is a stunning example of restraint. Even after Saul’s death David didn’t use his prophetic authority to accentuate the divide between the house of David and the house of Saul. Someone with David’s level of prophetic authority could have easily accentuated this divide. I have noticed there are times when prophecy is used to protest against the old order. The old order is seen as an “old wineskin” that needs to change. The new order is seen as a “new wineskin” that is cutting edge and flowing with God’s purposes.

The imagery of old and new wineskins comes from Jesus Himself (Matthew 9:14-17, Mark 2:18-22, Luke 5:33-39). Jesus was asked about the difference in behavior between His disciples and John the Baptist’s disciples. John’s disciples fasted. Jesus’ disciples did not. John’s disciples were like an old wineskin filled with mature wine. Jesus’ disciples were like a new wineskin filled with new wine. Wineskins expand as new wine ferments. If new wine is put into already expanded old wineskins it causes them to burst. By using this analogy Jesus was not promoting a critical attitude toward John’s disciples. Rather, He was bringing an understanding about the different behavior of the two groups. The following points were well understood by people in Jesus’ time:


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  • Old wineskins hold mature wine.
  • New wineskins hold new wine.
  • Mature wine has a superior quality.
  • Without new wine there cannot be mature wine.
  • Those who are still enjoying mature wine are not instantly interested in new wine.

As long as a wineskin—old or new—is still holding wine, it is useful and has a purpose. The kingdom of God brings change but protesting against “old wineskins” feeds criticism and judgment.

Prophecy Is Governmental Decree

There is a much higher level of prophetic authority than that which pits the house of David against the house of Saul, or “new winekins” against “old wineskins”. David could so easily have given all his time and energy to fighting the house of Saul. Instead he chose to step into a much higher realm of knowing God and submitting to His rule. From this position David released prophetic decrees whose impacts went way beyond the “in your face” conflicts of his time. He united a divided nation under the rule of God and established a throne that Jesus Himself would sit on for all of eternity (see Luke 1:32). If David had entangled himself protesting against the house of Saul he would have disqualified himself from this higher call. Salt doesn’t have to protest the absence of saltiness, it just has to be salt.

Prophecy isn’t protest, it’s governmental decree. Prophecy speaks the decrees of God’s kingdom over individuals and nations. It releases life transforming change. God’s kingdom is advancing and He isn’t coming to take sides—He’s coming to take over! (see Joshua 5:13-15).

Time for Promotion

God is about to ignite an army of prophetic warriors. Many who are called to be part of this army don’t even know they are prophetic. Dormant prophetic gifts—long hidden inside—will be ignited. Those who already walk with confidence and humility in the prophetic will be promoted. This army will move beyond petty protests and current conflicts and release the government of heaven with great authority. To walk in this authority requires great humility—the type of humility modeled by Nathan and David. Can God trust you with greater authority and greater accuracy? Can you give correction and remain gracious and humble? Can you receive correction even if it comes from someone with less authority than you? These questions, and others like them, are strategic. This army will be known for its humility and its integrity. God’s grace will enable us to walk in this standard.

Nathan Shaw

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