Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Knowing and doing God's will

I Kings 13: 1-33 illustrates the importance of obeying God. Jeroboam, the renegade king of the 10 breakaway tribes of Israel was steadily overturning every semblance of Yahweh's commandments and ways.

The Lord called an unnamed prophet to visit the king while he was busy preparing sacrifices for the idolatrous golden calf. The unnamed prophet boldly denouced the king's practices:

"Then at the Lord’s command, he shouted, “O altar, altar! This is what the Lord says: A child named Josiah will be born into the dynasty of David. On you he will sacrifice the priests from the pagan shrines who come here to burn incense, and human bones will be burned on you.” I Kings 13: 2

Filled with rage, Jeroboam stretched out his hand to have the prophet arrested but God paralyzed the king's hand and he was unable to pull it back. In humility, the pompous king begs the prophet to pray for him so God might heal his paralyzed hand. So the man of God prayed to the Lord, and the king’s hand was restored and he could move it again.

As a gesture of kindness, the now chastened king tries to invite the man of God to come to his palace for a meal. The prophet refused: "For the Lord gave me this command: ‘You must not eat or drink anything while you are there, and do not return to Judah by the same way you came.’ ” So he left Bethel and went home another way." I kings 13: 9

The man's resolve to fully obey God was thwarted by a fellow prophet who used lies and manipulation to convince the man of God to bend God's word. The result was very tragic. Instead of going home as commanded by the Lord, he went to the home of the elderly prophet for a meal. His disobedience resulted in his death. On his way from the elderly prophet's house a lion attacked him and killed him.

Judith and I read this story several times this morning, noting the importance of listening and obeying God. Well intentioned people often try to redirect our lives. Sometimes it's important to listen to the wisdom of others; other times we have to reject their advice. We must never allow people's advice or opinion to sway us from God's revealed will. This story clearly illustrates the difficulty which is sometimes involved in discerning the true word of God. Difficulty because there is often a fine line between an arrogant know-it-all-attitude, and a confident, humble, settled assurance in God's word. May the Lord help us to confidently, and unswervingly walk in His truth!