Deuteronomy 18:14-22 discusses God’s prophets in relationship to the sorcerers and diviners of the surrounding nations. This is interesting for it implies that the office of prophets and that work of sorcerers and diviners may appear to be similar –both are seeking to guide people and receive that guidance from another realm –but there are some fundamental differences that this passage brings out. Prophets of God receive their message directly from the Lord. God’s word is put ‘in his mouth’and he must speak everything the Lord commands.
As we are discussing the means by which prophecies are received, we would be remiss to remind ourselves that prophecies are a work of the Spirit of God resting upon a person. The 70 elders appointed by Moses had the Spirit fall upon them and they prophesied once in their life and no more (Numbers 11:25). From this we can learn that prophesy isn’t a permanent gift, but can come and go as the Spirit determines. But conversely, there are men and women who prophesied repeatedly in the Scriptures –Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, et al.
Some prophecy seems to be tied to worship and musical instruments (1Chr 25:3ff).
Prophets receive their messages in various ways. Sometimes all at once, other times in pieces. Sometimes in dreams, and at other times in words or visions. Isaiah has visions (Isa 1:1). Jeremiah saw pictures that God had to interpret (Jer 1:13-14God spoke to Ahijah and he knows the certainty of the message given to him concerning the pretense of Jeroboam’s wife when she comes to see him (1Kin 14:5-6). Jeremiah is told to do a number of things in this life and as he does the actions then the interpretation or message from God is given to him. For instance he must buy a line belt and then bury it so it is damaged (Jer 13:1-11); he is to watch a potter work (Jer 18); buy a jar and break it (Jer 19); and buy a field from his cousin (Jer 32:16). Isaiah must walk around barefoot and naked to portray Egypt and Cush’s defeat to Assyria (Isa 20:2-3).