Thursday, June 11, 2009

Be Aware

The old prophet answered, "I too am a prophet, as you are. And an angel said to me by the word of the LORD: 'Bring him back with you to your house so that he may eat bread and drink water.'" (But he was lying to him.) 1 Kings 13:18

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:8-10

I am in 1 Kings in my Bible reading. I would really encourage you to read chapter 13. It is an amazing account of a nameless prophet of God who was sent to rebuke and prophesy to an apostate king. Since the prophecy that he delivers will not come to pass for over 300 years the Lord gives an amazing sign to confirm that it will come to pass. Not only had God given him a message for the king but explicit instructions for the prophet not to drink or eat anything there (Bethel) and to return straight home by a different route.

After such a great victory, he is deceived into disobedience by an old prophet who lives in Bethel. He lies to him by announcing that an angel had revealed “new” instructions. The old prophet wanted to spend some time with him. He pulls the God and angel card to get what he wants. No wonder God didn’t use him even though he lived right there. He was almost as apostate as the king. It is appalling to think someone would use God to accomplish their own agendas, but it happens. I really wonder if this incident was in Paul’s mind when hundreds of years later he gave the above warning to the Galatians.

· Don’t accept anyone preaching something contrary to God’s word
· Don’t accept it even if the person has impressed you in the past if they are presently contradicting God’s clear instructions.
· Don’t even accept it from an angel from heaven.
· Check whose approval you are seeking.

Is there a life lesson in this for us? There most assuredly is. Three years ago I was emerging from a trying season in my life. During my quiet times of reading and prayer a clear and settled sense of what God wanted to do in my life at this season began to form. A couple of weeks later I received a phone call from a woman that I had recently met. She told me that she had been praying for me and thinking about me and believed she had a word from the Lord for me. I listened, thanked her, and told her I would pray about what she had said. I did pray about it and ultimately rejected the word. It was completely contrary to the direction I truly believe the Lord was leading me. God is not the author of confusion. I didn’t want to be detoured by this well meaning, but misguided counsel.

People won’t necessarily come with a word from the Lord to bring you on board with their agenda, but they may come with guilt or a sense that you will no longer have their favor if you refuse. I have seen many people “guilt ridden” or to gain approval, doing things God never called them to do. You can’t necessarily know another person’s motives, but we can check what is motivating us. The Lord wants us to bear much fruit for His glory. Are we concerned about God’s leading or people’s approval? We can check any counsel we receive against the truth and principles of God’s word. We can humbly take any request made of us to God in prayer. Even if it comes from a spiritual leader you should take the time to inquire of the Lord if this is your time and assignment. Don’t allow anyone to force you into a snap decision.

Don’t think I’ve always done this right. I haven’t, but hopefully I’ve learned and grown and have some insights to share. Be blessed today dear one.

MY PRAYER: Lord, we don’t want to be people pleasers. Help us to grow in love and discernment. Help us refuse anything that is contrary to your glorious gospel. Show us the path of good works that you have marked out for us. In Jesus’ wonderful name, amen.

MY CONFESSION: Lord, you said that your sheep listen to your voice; you know us and we will follow you. We stand on your word! John 10:27

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