Friday, April 6, 2012

Listening to Lies. . .

1Kings 13:7-24

And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward.  (8)  And the man of God said unto the king, If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place:  (9)  For so was it charged me by the word of the LORD, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest.  

(10)  So he went another way, and returned not by the way that he came to Bethel.  (11)  Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel; and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel: the words which he had spoken unto the king, them they told also to their father.  (12)  And their father said unto them, What way went he? For his sons had seen what way the man of God went, which came from Judah.  (13)  And he said unto his sons, Saddle me the ass. So they saddled him the ass: and he rode thereon,  

(14)  And went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak: and he said unto him, Art thou the man of God that camest from Judah? And he said, I am.  (15)  Then he said unto him, Come home with me, and eat bread.  (16)  And he said, I may not return with thee, nor go in with thee: neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place:  (17)  For it was said to me by the word of the LORD, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that thou camest.  

(18)  He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him.  (19)  So he went back with him, and did eat bread in his house, and drank water.  

(20)  And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came unto the prophet that brought him back:  (21)  And he cried unto the man of God that came from Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the LORD, and hast not kept the commandment which the LORD thy God commanded thee,  (22)  But camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water in the place, of the which the LORD did say to thee, Eat no bread, and drink no water; thy carcase shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers.  

(23)  And it came to pass, after he had eaten bread, and after he had drunk, that he saddled for him the ass, to wit, for the prophet whom he had brought back.  (24)  And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him: and his carcase was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by the carcase.

I read this passage in my devotions this morning. On first reading this, how unfair it seems for the man of God to have such a harsh punishment exacted upon him for listening to and being deceived by a lie.

But what alternative is there?  If God excused being misled by a lie, as justification for departing from His Word, then His Word would have no value.  The very reason that we are given His Word, is so that we may know His will.

All preaching and teaching MUST begin and end within the boundaries set by God’s Word.  This surely is an axiom for a preacher or teacher, but it is also a requirement that we demand such, as one being preached to, or as one being taught.

It is God’s prerogative to act as He may, but when we stand before God, with the above passage in the Bible, we cannot count on having as an acceptable defense , “Spare me Lord, for I was lied to.”

Eve tried to use this defense, to no avail:

Genesis 3:13
And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

She was still held accountable, and cursed for her actions.  She was given instruction as to God’s will and yet she chose to listen to another voice. . . She found another voice which matched her will.

It is easy to find voices speaking lies in this world.  But it is our responsibility to match any voice we hear to the Word of God:

Philippians 2:12-13
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.  (13)  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

We surely cannot read this verse to mean that we make up our own rules of salvation, but we must make sure that our salvation rests upon the solid foundation of the Word of God, and not upon shifting sand. . . the false philosophies, logic, traditions, and justifications of men.

We must compare what we hear, even from. . . and might I emphasize. . . ESPECIALLY from our own pulpits, we must compare what we hear there, with the Word of God.  This is no sign of disrespect to our Pastors or other teachers, but our salvation is too important, for us to take any chance of being disappointed when we stand before God on the day of judgement.

Every man of God must be open to the questions of sincere seekers, without resentment or anger. There must be this openness between the one who teaches and those being taught.  Respectful, sincere questions about doctrine, and how it compares to the Word of God, are beneficial both to the learner and to the teacher.

We must as teachers, be able to defend our faith through Scripture.  If we cannot, then possibly it is we, who need to further seek and learn the will of God, allowing His Word alone to define His will.  We cannot listen to lies. . .

I love you my Lord. . .
I love you my God. . .

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