Thursday, March 29, 2012

Only His Instruction

Sometimes I feel like I am discovering something new in the world--we see sin spreading like wildfire taking all kinds of "new" forms. We see many that we have known and loved for years walking in the counsel of the ungodly as Psalm 1 warns us about. We see "new" ways in which the church is trying to mix with the unsaved world despite all the commands throughout scripture to be set apart. We seem to miss that God called Lot out of Sodom. There is a time to "get out". There is also a time to stand firm where He has put us and be salt and light there. It take so much wisdom from the Lord to determine what we must do in every different kind of situation.

I was reading in 1 Kings 13 this evening and reminded how "old" some of these things are... things that seem "new" to me... perhaps new in my lifetime, but these things have been around since the beginning of time. Take a look at 1 Kings 13:7-25.
Then the king said to the man of God, “Come home with me and refresh yourself, and I will give you a reward.” But the man of God said to the king, “If you were to give me half your house I would not go with you, nor would I eat bread or drink water in this place. For so it was commanded me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘You shall eat no bread, nor drink water, nor return by the way which you came.’” So he went another way and did not return by the way which he came to Bethel. Now an old prophet was living in Bethel; and his sons came and told him all the deeds which the man of God had done that day in Bethel; the words which he had spoken to the king, these also they related to their father. Their father said to them, “Which way did he go?” Now his sons had seen the way which the man of God who came from Judah had gone. Then he said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” So they saddled the donkey for him and he rode away on it. So he went after the man of God and found him sitting under an oak; and he said to him, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?” And he said, “I am.” Then he said to him, “Come home with me and eat bread.” He said, “I cannot return with you, nor go with you, nor will I eat bread or drink water with you in this place. For a command came to me by the word of the Lord, ‘You shall eat no bread, nor drink water there; do not return by going the way which you came.’” He said to him, “I also am a prophet like you, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.’” But he lied to him. So he went back with him, and ate bread in his house and drank water. Now it came about, as they were sitting down at the table, that the word of the Lord came to the prophet who had brought him back; and he cried to the man of God who came from Judah, saying, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because you have disobeyed the command of the Lord, and have not observed the commandment which the Lord your God commanded you, but have returned and eaten bread and drunk water in the place of which He said to you, “Eat no bread and drink no water”; your body shall not come to the grave of your fathers.’” It came about after he had eaten bread and after he had drunk, that he saddled the donkey for him, for the prophet whom he had brought back. Now when he had gone, a lion met him on the way and killed him, and his body was thrown on the road, with the donkey standing beside it; the lion also was standing beside the body. And behold, men passed by and saw the body thrown on the road, and the lion standing beside the body; so they came and told it in the city where the old prophet lived.
First off, this man of God has an encounter with God. In this encounter, God tells him not to even do so much as eat bread or drink water in that place... not even go back the way he came. It's a pretty amazing thing that the king invites this man of God to come eat with him. Certainly, he could have justified it. He could be salt and light to the king! What an amazing opportunity! But wait. God commanded him otherwise. We see the steadfastness of this man of God in how he turns down the king's offer in obedience to the Lord. The testing wasn't over yet. While this man of God was headed back a different way, someone pursues him and asks him to come back and eat. Okay, no problem... easy answer, "No, God told me not to eat bread or drink water!" Then comes the big test... this man too claims to be speaking the word of the Lord. We see the results of listening to this man--death.

I believe we as the church are in this kind of situation right now. There are so many claiming to be speaking the Word of God... and yet not everyone can be right. We are so tempted to just "get along" and be "salt and light" in places God has called us out of. We must be careful. Very careful. God does not take lightly to our obedience of others over being obedient to His voice. If we aren't listening to His voice to begin with, we obviously won't be obeying it... but assuming we are spending time in the Word and truly committing to hearing from the Lord and being obedient to Him, we must "test the spirits" to see if they are from God. If they are not, we must not waver in our faith... we must not justify our sinful desires. We must cast them aside and determine in our hearts to follow Him regardless of how we feel. His voice is the voice of truth. His words are the only words of life.

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