Written by Evi Idoghor
I recently made it a habit to start reading the Old Testament religiously. In the past, I usually glossed over it, picking out my favorite books and focusing on those, whilst pushing the rest to the back burner. Often, we tend to separate the two, oblivious to the fact that both books are very much the word of God.
So, one day, I came across a story that was completely out of this world, as are most stories in the Old Testament. The story, found in 1 Kings 13, follows the journey of the king of Israel (at the time), who had led God's people astray. He made idols and told the people to worship them as God. And anyone who knows God's word knows that He despises idols. As a result, God was upset with the king and sent a prophet to deliver His message to him.
The king stretched out his hand and said, “Seize him,” because God's message was displeasing to his ears, as the prophet narrated it. (1 Kings 13:4) His hand then dried up and he couldn't move it. So, he cried out to the prophet, pleading with him, to ask God to heal him and the prophet granted his wish, and he was healed. However, the prophet's words against him came true. This is where the story begins to get interesting. Following the king's miracle, he invited the prophet to his home to receive a reward. The prophet, on the other hand, refused, stating that even if the king offered him half his kingdom, he would not accept because God had said to the prophet, “You shall not eat bread nor drink water, nor return by the way that you came.” (See 1 Kings 13:9)
Here, we see that God gave him specific instructions, which he followed. Not until another man, claiming to be a prophet, met him along the way after hearing about his meeting with the king and invited him to wine and dine with him. When the prophet told this prophet what God had told him, he replied, “I, too, am a prophet, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying, 'bring him back into your house so he may eat bread and drink water.'” As a result, he let his guards down, perhaps thinking—God must have changed His mind, so he accompanied him. The biggest blunder of his life!
After he had eaten to his satisfaction, the word of the Lord came to him through the deceiver and said, "Because you have disobeyed the word of the Lord and have not kept the command that the Lord your God has commanded you, but have returned and have eaten bread and drunk water in the place where he said to you, “Eat no bread and drink no water,” your body shall not come to the tomb of your fathers.” That is to say, he was going to die. The prophet then left this man's house and was killed by a lion along the way.
Disobedience to God’s Word Robs Us of Our Lives
The story was mind-blowing, because the one who deceived him was the one who bore the message of judgment. We can see throughout scripture that humanity's overarching problem is disobedience. In fact, this issue is replete in the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. God sends His word to us, but we choose to go our own way or follow the ways of others. Just as God specifically instructed Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil—they heard from Him directly. Nonetheless, they let the serpent persuade them that what they heard with their ears from the Creator was a lie. It cost them their lives. Just as it cost this young prophet his life, and will cost us ours if we continue to wallow in disobedience.
We are now living in a time when everyone desires autonomy—when everyone desires to be their own God. We want to be able to decide for ourselves what is right and wrong, and what is acceptable. We toy with this your truth, my truth thing when there is only one standard of truth, Christ. We seek to entangle ourselves with what Christ died to save us from. We are defiant like toddlers, we think we know it all like teenagers, and we have an air of arrogance around us, like adults. Yet, we only fool ourselves.
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In the Bible, we see what happened to people who abandoned God and pursued other things and gods; the consequences were devastating, and many are on the same path if they do not wake up to the fact that there is a God, and He alone determines what is right and wrong. It has to be according to His standards.
I believe the reason the world continues to spiral is that we do not always receive immediate repercussions for our wrongdoing. So we begin to think that God is blind, deaf, or He has somehow become malleable, bending to fit whatever mold we desire to make Him into. We only deceive ourselves. James 1: 16, says, when sin (disobedience to God) is fully grown, it leads to death. There is no escaping it, except we turn our hearts back to Him who is willing to forgive us and accept us with open arms.
Let us not deceive ourselves or allow the sweet nothings of others be persuasive, now that we know what is expected of us. These stories of old serve as a critical reminder for us to reevaluate our lives. If someone approaches you as a Christian and begins to question things written in the Bible, do not be shaken or toy with the idea that Bible can be changed. God who is the author of the Bible, does not change and is not a liar. He is incapable of lying (Hebrews 6:18).
So, if it is written, remember that it is simply the truth, no matter how uncomfortable it makes you or someone else feel, or how persuasive their argument might sound. Any deviation from it will eventually lead to death.
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