Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Beware...

of the "Old Prophet."

Let's be clear. I'm not saying disregard or, worse still, disrespect those older or more mature than you, I just saying that you should beware...

Let's read this passage* which I'll use as the backdrop for this piece together...

As it happened, there was an old prophet living in Bethel, and his sons came home and told him what the man of God had done in Bethel that day. They also told their father what the man had said to the king. The old prophet asked them, “Which way did he go?” So they showed their father which road the man of God had taken. “Quick, saddle the donkey,” the old man said. So they saddled the donkey for him, and he mounted it. Then he rode after the man of God and found him sitting under a great tree. The old prophet asked him, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?” “Yes, I am,” he replied. Then he said to the man of God, “Come home with me and eat some food.” “No, I cannot,” he replied. “I am not allowed to eat or drink anything here in this place. 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.’” But the old prophet answered, “I am a prophet, too, just as you are. And an angel gave me this command from the Lord: ‘Bring him home with you so he can have something to eat and drink.’” But the old man was lying to him. So they went back together, and the man of God ate and drank at the prophet’s home. Then while they were sitting at the table, a command from the Lord came to the old prophet. He cried out to the man of God from Judah, “This is what the Lord says: You have defied the word of the Lord and have disobeyed the command the Lord your God gave you. You came back to this place and ate and drank where he told you not to eat or drink. Because of this, your body will not be buried in the grave of your ancestors.” (1 Kings 13: 11-22 - NLT, emphasis mine)

Do you notice the difference in the sources of the "command?" The young prophet heard directly from the Lord but complied with the old prophet who got his own "command" for the young prophet from the angel of the Lord? Talk about the 3rd-hand word - from: Angel -> Old Prophet -> Young Prophet.

Sadly, I see a similar thing among a lot of christians. Rather than desire to hear God directly or stick with what they know the Lord has said to them directly, some christians are always waiting for "a word" from someone else. I'm not saying that God cannot or does not speak to us through others - I'm saying that God is more interested in talking to us directly than talking to us through others. Some christians have used "spirituality" to advise and sometimes derailed others from what God has planned for them. The Bible tells us that:

"Where no wise guidance is, the people fall, but in the multitude of counselors there is safety." (Prov 11:14 - AMP)
and also
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." (1 John 4:1 - KJV)
The other part of this is I see some older or more mature christians carry on as if they know more about what younger christians should do than what those christians know. The Bible is replete with examples of God reaching out to the younger christian directly. In 1 Samuel 3, God spoke directly to Samuel not through Eli. In 1 Timothy 4:12, Paul told Timothy:
"Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity."**

You need to know God for yourself such that what other christians - older or younger - say confirm what He has already said to you. Dan 11: 32b says: "The people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits."*** The converse is: the people who do not know their God shall be weak and exploited - and this is exactly what happened to the young prophet. He obviously didn't know that God is not an author of confusion.

Beware of the old prophet and beware that you are not the old prophet either. God bless.


References:
* I encourage you to read the whole chapter of 1 Kings 13 to get the full picture
** NLT
*** NKJV

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