Friday, August 14, 2015

Stay the Course!

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: 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. So he went another way, and returned not by the way that he came to Bethel. 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...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. So he went back with him, and did eat bread in his house, and drank water…And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him:…”  

1 Kings 13:8-11, 18-19, 24a

The message was delivered with great anointing and power!  No more had the unnamed prophet decried the evil altar built by Jeroboam son of Nebat than a sign of impending judgment fell.  Jeroboam had split the nation of Israel into the northern tribes and Judah.  While he held civil power, his “religious” power was weakened because the temple of the LORD was in Jerusalem in the midst of Judah.  The Bible tells us of his reasoning and the awful plan he devised. “If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.  Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves ofgold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan. (1 Kings 12:27-30).” 

God needed a prophet with a backbone to stand against the snare that had been set for the souls of the ten tribes by their very own king.  It is the same thing that God is looking for today, men and women of God who will stand firm in the scriptures and not be swayed.  The eternal souls of many are at stake, so God wants a sure and certain witness of His only means of salvation in Jesus Christ.  In a time of pluralism and syncretistic thinking, God wants a people who will bow to no other gods—which are not gods at all. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time (1 Timothy 2:5-6).”

The day the prophet spoke was similar to the future day when Elijah would challenge the priests of Baal on Mt. Carmel.  GOD gave an immediate answer.  The message was so specific that is mentions the ultimate destruction of the temple brought about by the young King Josiah some 350 years in the future.  Jeroboam was not happy when he heard that his false altar would be destroyed after being defiled by the burning of men’s bones.  He immediately stretched out his arm to give the command to arrest the prophet and have him killed.  God struck Jeroboam and caused his arm to shrivel like a prune.  Simultaneously, the altar cracked and ashes poured to the ground as the prophet had spoken. God was speaking a clear message that day!

Jeroboam begged the seer that he would pray for the restoration of his arm.  It was done—God healed the wicked king in an act of mercy.  After this, Jeroboam asks the prophet to come to his palace for some refreshments and then we learn of the further instructions he was given directly from God.  God's messenger was not to stay in the land to eat or drink nor was he to return by the way he came.  After starting home another way, an older man stopped him and that is when we read the words above: “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.”

Why didn’t the valiant prophet correctly discern the word of the LORD?  Did the pride of being used so mightily of God in the past make him believe he could defy the word of God now?  Can a man alter the Word of the LORD?  Why would you listen to a man or an angel when you had been spoken to directly from God without challenging the message?  Do you know how many cults have been started on the word of men and angels in defiance of the Word of God?

God truly does need men and women in this day who sanctify the Word of God in their hearts and seek to follow what He has said.  Like Paul, we can’t rely on past victories and rest on our laurels as if we are the most special thing God has sent to the world.  No!  That is called pride, and it has been the undoing of many.  We cannot afford to reinterpret God’s word for Him in a culture that is swaying in rebellion, chaos, and dangling over the moral abyss.  When we leave being servants of the word to becomes its editor, can we not see how utterly blasphemous that is?  It doesn’t matter if a flaming band of angels, Clyde the space alien, or the United Nations asks you to deviate from the truth found only in Jesus Christ and the Bible, don’t follow them! Ask the unnamed prophet what happens when you deviate from the word of the LORD and do your own thing.  Stay true to the Word of God and deviate not because Jesus Christ is certainly Soon2Come!

  I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
Galatians 1:6-9