Listening...it's something I talk about quite often with my kids. It's a skill they need and something I expect, but friend, this action is not just for children. Over a week ago we were reading from 1 Kings 13 and the little exchange of words has stayed with me. They have me thinking...I know there is a lesson in them. I've been trying to learn from it myself and asking God to help me apply it; now He's led me to try to share it with you here as well.
So first let me encourage you to read 1 Kings chapter 13. I believe a powerful story unfolds in these 34 verses. A man of God comes from Judah to Bethel...he delivers a message, intercedes and heals. He is then asked to return with the king, but says no and in verse 9 gives his reason: "For I was commanded by the word of the Lord: 'You must not eat bread or drink water or return by the way you came.'"
The man of God understood his orders and was willing to obey them, so he proceeded on his way. As he rested, an old prophet approached and asked him to come with him and eat bread.
Again the man of God responded with the same words he'd given the king, but the old prophet didn't relent as he said, "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.)" So the man of God listened to the old prophet and went with him...doing exactly what God had told him not to do.
I know I've read this passage before, but last Monday when I read the words they really hit...especially these: But he was lying to him. These words had my attention and I asked God to help me learn from them and understand what He was saying. I've done a little research and different commentators have different interpretations. Some suggest the old prophet is not a man of God and the angel who spoke to him wasn't a good angel. Others suggest the man truly was a prophet of God, but still a man with a sinful, deceitful heart. Was this an example of God testing or Satan tempting? I don't know, but regardless I've been reminded it is an opportunity for you and me.
Friend, we can learn from this story. We can be reminded of who we need to listen to! I long for my children to listen to me and God does the same!! As my kids grow they have others speaking into their lives...people who may even suggest they do the opposite of what I tell them. And friend, we must admit there are people in our lives who do the same to us. We may no longer feel the pressure that comes with going against our parents' commands, but the world will entice us to go against God's.
My husband saw me writing this and has been involved in some discussions about it and asked, "what are taking from this?' My response - we must listen to God first and most. Friend, His Word must be our authority. Everything we hear and are told must be brought back to our Bible and if there is a contradiction, we MUST let God's Word rule.
I could go on, but God is telling me to stop, so for now I'd love to hear your thoughts - Who do you listen to? What lesson does this chapter hold for you? How do you listen to God's voice in a world that is full of noise?
May we be encouraged by these words from Jude - "But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life." (vs 20-21)