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Sunday, February 07, 2016

Who Are You Listening To?

Have you ever taken someone's advice only to say later on, "I never should have listened to so and so." Or, "Why didn't I follow my gut feeling?"

 Many times we take the advice of an authority figure - a parent, teacher, pastor, employer, and sometimes even a friend. Listening to advice is not always a bad thing, but be careful who you listen to and judge what they are saying in the light of God's word.

One of the saddest stories I read in the Bible is recorded in 1 Kings 13 about a man of God who prophesied to King Jeroboam, a wicked king, and did great signs and wonders in his presence. So impressed was Jeroboam he invited the man of God to his home for a meal and promised him a gift. But the man declined saying, “Even if you were to give me half your possessions, I would not go with you, nor would I eat bread or drink water here. 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’ ”(v 8 -9).

The man went away taking a different route as God had instructed him. But an old prophet, hearing what the man of God had done that day, went in search of him and invited him to his home for dinner. The man gave the old prophet the same answer he'd given the king. But the old prophet lied to him and said, "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’ ” (v 18). The man of God believed the old prophet, went home with him and had dinner. On his way home, a lion met him and killed him.

I read this story a few times trying to figure out the old prophet's motive for lying to the man of God. Was he jealous of him? Was he really a prophet? One commentator said he was a bad man who tried to curry favor with the king by making the king believe that the man of God was an impostor because he had done the opposite of what he said he would do (or not do.) 

Be that as it may, the message behind this story is clear: be careful who you listen to. If someone comes up to you and says, "Thus saith the Lord," and what he/she says is in opposition to God's word, do not listen to them. 

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves (Matthew 7: 15).
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