No Signs, No Prophet, How Long?


There are no signs for us to see. There is no longer a prophet. And none of us knows how long this will last.
-Psalm 74:9

Receiving signs from God; and having prophets among us is the normal for authentic believers.

Signs from God are like signatures that God places here.  People recognize them and look to God.

No signs means there is nothing pointing to God.

Can you have a people of God without any signs from God?

Having no signs from God is a cause for lament and alarm.

Some people believe that it is normal to not have signs at this time, but not the author of this psalm.

We can take up the lament, the alarm, and the same prayer as him and say, “Why, God?”, and state the truth that we see no signs.

The psalmist also says, “There is no longer a prophet”.  In other words, there were prophets in the past and now we don’t have them.

Signs and prophets go together.  Prophets bear a message from God, to people.

All preachers or teachers are not prophets or prophetic, meaning that they are sharing what God wants said now.  The psalmist is saying, we are missing these guys right now.

Where are they?

I grew up being taught that prophecy was about the end times.  This is not the prophetic ministry that psalm 74 is referring to.

“And none of us knows how long it will last”.

We have no signs to see and we don’t have prophets (so), we don’t know how long this will last.
What will last?  This time we are in, now.

These instruct and advise us on times and seasons.

We no longer see your miraculous signs. All the prophets are gone, and no one can tell us when it will end.
-Psalm 74:9

Titles for Psalm 74:

When The Roof Falls In -Don Williams (TCC)
Arise O God, Defend You Cause (ESV)
Intercession For Restoration of Zion (TLV)
An Appeal against the Devastation of the Land by the Enemy (AMP, NASB)
Prayer for Israel (CSB)
A Prayer for the Nation in Times of Trouble (CEV)
We Need You Now (TPT)
A Plea for Deliverance (ISV)
Plea for Help in Time of National Humiliation (NRSV)
A Plea for Relief from Oppressors (NKJV)

My favorite:

The Wail and Prayer of a True Patriot (Homilist)

Spurgeon wrote,

“The history of the suffering church is always edifying; when we see how the faithful trusted and wrestled with their God in times of dire distress, we are thereby taught how to behave ourselves under similar circumstances we learn moreover, that when the fiery trial befalls us, no strange thing has happened unto us, we are following the trail of the host of God.”

There are no signs for us to see. -Psalm 74:9a

I. Signs- that is, tokens and marks of God’s special favor to the soul.
II. There is also “a seeing those signs, when God, the Holy Ghost, is pleased to shine upon them.”
III. There is a third state, where there is not seeing the signs, those signs being enveloped in darkness, dimness, and obscurity.
“Signs of God’s favor, marks and testimonies of the work of grace upon their souls, are often so out of sight, so buried in obscurity, so enveloped in clouds of darkness, that the living family are compelled, from soul-feeling, to take up the language of lamentation here expressed, and say, “We see not our signs.”
– J. C. Philpot. 1802-1869

The ordinary “signs” of Israel being God’s peculiar people are the passover (Exodus 12:13), the Sabbath (Exodus 31:13), the temple, the altar, the sacrifices; the extraordinary ones are God’s miracles wrought in his people’s behalf (Psalm 78:43).
– A. R. Fausset.

Spurgeon:

“There is no more any prophet.” Prophecy was suspended. No inspiring psalm or consoling promise fell from bard or seer. It is ill with the people of God when the voice of the preacher of the gospel fails, and a famine of the word of life falls on the people.  God-sent ministers are as needful to the saints as their daily bread, and it is a great sorrow when a congregation is destitute of a faithful pastor.

It is to be feared, that with all the ministers now existing, there is yet a dearth of men whose hearts and tongues are touched with the celestial fire.  “Neither is there any among us that knoweth how long.” If someone could foretell an end, the evil might be borne with a degree of patience, but when none can see a termination, or foretell an escape, the misery has a hopeless appearance, and is overwhelming.  Blessed be God, he has not left his church in these days to be so deplorably destitute of cheering words; let us pray that he never may contempt of the word is very common, and may well provoke the Lord to withdraw it from us; may his long-suffering endure the strain, and his mercy afford us still the word of life.

There is no longer a prophet -Psalm 74:9b

Don Williams:

“Since in the biblical world-view the prophet gives God’s will for both the present (“forthtell”) and the future (“foretell”), the absence of a prophet means that no one knows the time or length of the adversary’s “reproach” (“taunt”) and blasphemy. No wonder, when God’s salvation is given in Christ, as the messianic age breaks in, the gift of the living voice of prophecy is restored (see Acts 21:10-11; 1 Cor. 14:1)

These living words continue to be a part of the Holy Spirit’s gifts to us as the church is being renewed today…. That our God still speaks today is an essential sign that He is the living God in our midst.” 

Pursue love and desire spiritual gifts, and especially that you may prophesy.
-1 Corinthians 14:1

There are no signs for us to see.
There is no longer a prophet.
And none of us knows how long this will last.
-Psalm 74:9

Not seeing signs, nor having prophecies, or knowing our personal and corporate destinies is a leveled judgement from God to be lamented.

This is sobering.

What if we have been living in a dream world, where religion has taken over authentic spirituality?
What if the truth is that we have taken glory in our spiritual blindness and deafness, because we are modern?

We’ve been taught, “We have the Bible, so we don’t need God’s special message through a person.” Irony is that the Bible contradicts this.

Pagans are “spiritual, but not religious”, and many Christians are “religious, but not spiritual”.

To believe it is normal to not to have signs from God is a travesty.
To not know about and believe is the NT gift of prophetic words is tragic.
To not have this guidance is like flying without key instruments, like a road with no signs, driving without a map, GPS, or a phone.

We are rockets, who have guidance systems that come on after they launch.

We often get what we ask for.
We ask for a God who does not send signs, doesn’t speak, or have prophets and that’s what we get.
It does not mean it’s true or reality.

We see no signs, there is no prophet any more; none of us knows how long it will last.
-Psalm 74:9
Christianity is not non-prophet.

It is a mistake to confuse Prophets with prophets.

Bad conflation.

Genuine small p prophets don’t write the Bible nor contradict the scriptures.

There have been false prophets as long as there have been real ones.

Because of the false, we should not reject the genuine.
False religions and false teachers abound in the world.

How do you tell the difference?

By studying and immersing yourself in the genuine.
Knowing God and His word is the antidote for deception.
Do you say Jesus is Lord, and the only way?
Are we saved by what we do or by what Jesus did?
Know the real and you will recognize the fakes.

Christians need to welcome prophets and learn to discern.

John calls it testing the spirits.
(1 John 4)

There are times when God is not speaking, or we can’t hear, don’t hear.

Are we going to do something about it, or just keep going and even trust a theological doctrine that says God doesn’t speak anymore; that the entirety of the Bible contradicts?
What’s God’s silence saying?
There are no signs for us to see. There is no longer a prophet. And none of us knows how long this will last.
-Psalm 74:9
What did this saying mean for ancient Israel and how did it apply? And what does it mean for us and how does it apply to us today?

What were or are the signs?

Miraculous wonders?
Emblems of national pride?
The experience of success or victories?
The context might help.
Psalm 74 was written in a time of national defeat and humiliation, when Israel had been invaded and plundered.
The signs disappeared.
Maybe it was all of the above.
All the peculiar signs of God’s people became covered up, not be be seen.
There is a negative demand for signs that is a marker of unbelief (Matt. 16:1-4, Mk. 8:11, Jn. 2:18, 1 Cor. 1:22).
Jesus did not like the religious leaders demanding a sign, and pointed out their corrupt hearts.
An evil and adulterous generation demands a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” Then he left them and went away.
-Matt. 16:4

When the psalmist writes, “we see no signs”, we can assume he has a good heart, but he is writing on behalf of his people. In one sense he is just reporting and in another sense we have to ask what the signs meant to a people who could no longer see them.

Max Weber coined the term, “routinization of charisma”.

The trap is that ordination becomes an office rather than charismatic essence.
Genuine leadership, connected to God, becomes replaced by officials who are not genuine, but at best are “fake it till you make it”.

“We see no signs”, could be a national cry or mourning that misunderstood what the signs were for.
Israel was meant to be the mission base to evangelize the whole world.

The reason for the greatness of Israel was to be a light for God.

And the reason that God wants to make the church great is also for the world. But we greatly misunderstand when we think that the riches God gives us are for us to spend on ourselves. God makes us rich so that we can be generous, and show off what God is like.

We have no prophets.

The authentic church that Jesus is building, that he is coming back for is built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets (Ephesians 2:20).

The people of God have lost their signs (banners of identity and miraculous signs) and we don’t have prophets- people who speak in his name, who can tell us how long this season of devastation will last. Miracles, prophets, and finding identity are our losses.

We see no signs, there is no prophet any more; none of us knows how long it will last.

-Psalm 74:9
The church has been without seers or prophets and those who can tell times.

It is humble and wise to recognize this and ask for God to bring these gifts back. Encouragement needed.

There are no signs for us to see.
There is no longer a prophet.
And none of us knows how long this will last.
-Psalm 74:9
God’s people need to regain their inheritance as sign seers.

Signs are there, but we don’t see them.

Voices that hear and tell times and seasons are quiet now.

 

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