MEANING OF 'NAIOTH'
In 1 Samuel 19, scripture describes Naioth as a place located in Ramah (near Jerusalem) where the prophet Samuel oversaw a community of prophets. It was this place that David fled to when he was pursued by Saul. When the company sent by Saul entered Naioth the Spirit of God fell on them and they began prophesying. Saul sent three companies of men and each company came under the atmosphere of Naioth and began to prophesy. So Saul himself, in anger, went to Naioth but even he was overcome and began to prophesy. This event gave rise to the (seemingly ironic) proverb, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”
Naioth, the word, has a few meanings in the original Hebrew. In addition to being a proper noun for the school of the prophets it also means “dwelling place” or “habitation”. It’s secondary translation is “beauties” or “place of beauty”.
So there are a few themes associated with the ‘Naioth’ community that we strongly identify with. The atmosphere of the presence of God that Samuel cultivated at Naioth was so strong that it overcame and changed the hearts of Saul’s messengers. In that atmosphere Saul himself was transformed into another man, lost his old identity, and became a mouthpiece of God. As we build a “dwelling place” for the presence of God, it also becomes a place where hearts are transformed and prophetic voices are released.
Naioth is also a symbol for a community that exists to become a voice into culture. The purpose of the prophetic has always been to become a voice that shapes the culture of the earth into the likeness of heaven . We see that purpose in the scriptural Naioth community. Samuel was a prophet that catalysed Israel’s transformation from a nation under judges to a nation under the creative, worshipful and prophetic kingship of David. While David underwent his own journey to kingship (even taking refuge at Naioth for a season), it is no accident that Samuel also sought to raise up prophets with his own heart to see transformation in the nation of Israel.
We believe that in this time, Australia needs Naioth communities to rise up and create dwelling places for the presence of God. It is in these places that future kings will take refuge and those who are hurting will be transformed and it is in these places that the creative beauty of heaven will be released to catalyse the transformation of earth.