Posts Tagged ‘God’s word’

So it was, after he had eaten bread and after he had drunk, that he saddled the donkey for him, the prophet whom he had brought back. When he was gone, a lion met him on the road and killed him. And his corpse was thrown on the road, and the donkey stood by it. The lion also stood by the corpse. 1 Kings 13:23-24

What’s Going On?

There was an unnamed man of a God; a prophet who was sent to King Jeroboam to deliver a message. King Jeroboam was not pleased with the word that he heard and with a pointed finger he directed his guards to seize the man of God. Incredibly, the King’s hand withered right there on the spot. A distraught Jeroboam pleaded with the man to pray for restoration. The man did and God restored his hand. In gratitude, Jeroboam invited the man home to dine with him. The offer was declined.

“If you were to give me half your house, I would not go in with you; nor would I eat bread nor drink water in this place. For so it was commanded me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘You shall not eat bread, nor drink water, nor return by the same way you came.’ ” 1 Kings 13:8-9

So, the man of God begins his journey home when an old prophet gets wind of what happened and sets out to find him. He discovers him on the road and like Jeroboam, invites him home to eat. Innocent enough we might think, but the man refuses the invitation citing the same reason as before.

For I have been told by the word of the Lord, ‘You shall not eat bread nor drink water there, nor return by going the way you came.’ “1 Kings 13:17

For whatever the reason (we’re not given a biblical explanation), the old prophet lies to the man….

“I too am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.’ ” 1 Kings 13:18

The man of God is swayed by this old prophet and goes to his home to eat. As the meal is finished, the events turn ugly. The old prophet now makes this proclamation:

“Thus says the Lord: ‘Because you have disobeyed the word of the Lord, and have not kept the commandment which the Lord your God commanded you, but you came back, ate bread, and drank water in the place of which the Lord said to you, “Eat no bread and drink no water,” your corpse shall not come to the tomb of your fathers.’ “1 Kings 13:21-22

So the man of God leaves and is killed by a lion.

Are You a Man of God?

Without a doubt this is a bizarre story. However it is recorded in the Bible for a purpose. There is a lesson revealed in the conduct of the unnamed man of God and it’s important to us, because as men and women of God, we are similarly vulnerable. The man knew the word of God and he allowed himself to be swayed by someone he respected or deemed to be unthreatening. The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatians reminds us that if anyone at all, Christian or otherwise, preaches any other Gospel then the one we received, that person (or angel) shall be accursed; the implication being that we should avoid them. Why would Paul share such a thing? Because he knew it would happen over and over again.

Peter counsels us in 1 Peter 5:8 to, ‘Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.’ I can’t help but think that Peter was familiar with the story in 1 Kings 13. King David gives us this admonition:

The works of the Lord are great, Studied by all who have pleasure in them. His work is honorable and glorious, And His righteousness endures forever. He has made His wonderful works to be remembered… Psalms 111:2-4

The Psalmist tells us the works of God are great and that we should study them. Given the fact that there are false christs, false prophets, ignorant Christians, and roaring lions who seek to devour us, it is good advice to be well versed in God’s word. How else are we to know when we are being misinformed, misled, or lied to?

For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe. 1 Thessalonians 2:13

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These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson

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And the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have delivered them into your hand; not a man of them shall stand before you.” Joshua therefore came upon them suddenly, having marched all night from Gilgal…Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel: “Sun, stand still over Gibeon; And Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.” Joshua 10:8-9, 12

First Things First

Joshua made a mistake. In the last chapter, Israel, after being deceived by their enemy, made a covenant with the Gibeonites. Discovering the deception, Joshua put his mistake to work. Oh he kept his vow as the Lord requires every vow-maker to do, but he made his error his slave; the Gibeonites would forever be servants of the Tabernacle as fetchers of wood and water.

God recognized the mistake too, but He chose to honor Joshua’s commitment–blessings would rise form the ashes of a bad decision. What our Father did with Joshua and Israel, He does with us as well—we have the same assurance from God that our errors can work towards some good thing despite the fact that we might not see it initially.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

In the text today, Joshua provides for us a four-part outline illustrating dynamic Christian faith in action. His example awards us the four basic components of spirited faith; one that bestows honor, glory, and praise to the faith Giver.

He Believed

It really can’t get any less basic than that. God told Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have delivered (the enemy) into your hand.” Joshua took God at His word. He heard the word and he believed the word he heard. Do you believe God’s word?

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17

He Gave His Best Effort

The passage does not imply that Joshua performed perfectly, but strongly suggests he worked as quickly and as efficiently as he could to do God’s will, “Marching all night,” until the first leg of the task was completed. God did not tell him to do that, Joshua chose to do that. The fact of the matter is that the work was finished, just like Christ’s work was finished on the cross. Remember, God said, “I have delivered,” the enemy. In willing obedience, Joshua took it upon himself to complete the mission as best he could.

Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. James 2:17

He Called on the Lord

Joshua takes nothing for granted, probably learning that lesson from his bitter defeat at Ai. We aren’t privy to their conversation, but the passage hints that they must have been discussing some pretty powerful stuff. Contextually speaking, we know that it would have been impossible for Joshua to do what was done without God’s direct support, authority, and power.

…Without Me you can do nothing. John 15:5b

He Acted Boldly

Joshua could not have made the proclamation he made if a) he did not believe, b), he had not been working out his faith, and c) wasn’t checking in with the Father periodically. The kind of boldness Joshua displayed can only be manifest when the first three elements of our faith are in place. That’s not to say a person can’t ever speak boldly, but without God’s power and authority, that person operates in his flesh alone.

It’s sad to say that many Christians, having accomplished the first three steps, arrive at this same place, but shy away from the opportunity to take the wonderful leap. Why? Plain and simple: fear—the very opposite of faith. While it is true we have the ability to put our faith on the shelf, we often forget that by that same faith we have the power of God to destroy trepidation. Our Lord is gracious and merciful and He will let us wallow in this condition if we so choose—our salvation is not in jeopardy. But then again, someone might say to you and I, “Why buy a car if you’re never going to drive it?”

…And for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel… Ephesians 6:19

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And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick. Matthew 14:14


Whoever coined the phrase, “What would Jesus do” was certainly on to something; WWJD is a wonderful principle. However, I believe (for reasons I will address) it deserves an update. Therefore I propose we change WWJD to DWJD, which means, “Do what Jesus Did.”

If it Ain’t Broke…

I hear that, but I’m not saying WWJD is broken…necessarily. What I am suggesting is that WWJD leads a person to mindfully formulate what Jesus would do in any given situation. That’s not a problem unless that person’s mind is not steeped in God’s word. That person then carnally determines what course Jesus would take. The world’s image of Jesus by in large is skewed by ungodly influences and as a result we have all heard immature believers cite characteric qualities of our Jesus that miss the mark entirely.


In contrast, when a Christian ascribes to doing what Jesus did, it implies that they know what Jesus did. And the only way to know [what He did] is to be in God’s word on a regular and frequent basis. From a practical stand point, DWJD keeps us in the Bible and if we’re uncertain of what Jesus did, it brings us back to the Bible again.

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Then I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. But when I had eaten it, my stomach became bitter. And he said to me, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.” Revelation 10:10-11

The Word of God

The Apostle John is given a ‘little book’ to digest and I believe the contents of that tome are the recorded and/or witnessed words of God, given to John, and now revealed to us in the New Testament, specifically the Book of Revelation. The fact that after John consumes it he is told to regurgitate it (prophesy again) gives legitimacy to that claim.

Have You Digested His Word

How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth! Psalm 119:103

John records for us how we might know for certain if we are digesting God’s Word or merely reading words off a page, for the duly consumed word will be sweet on the lips and bitter in the belly. As we read through Revelation (for an example), pure sweetness is the certainty of our Heavenly home, but bitter is the reality (that) hell awaits the unsaved soul, particularly those who we love and cherish. Our aching stomachs inducing compassion within us for the lost is a sure sign we are digesting properly (*If you have the time or the gumption, read chapters two and three of Ezekiel for a parallel narrative).

We then delve deeper into the Word, asking the Lord to search our hearts by the light it omits and as a result we are convicted by the sins uncovered, again, leaving a bitterness in our bowels. We have for another example a story from the Old Testament concerning an (alleged) cheating wife for which there was no apparent evidence (other than the suspicion) against her. In Numbers 5:27 we see that she is given bitter water to drink.

When he has made her drink the water, then it shall be, if she has defiled herself and behaved unfaithfully toward her husband, that the water that brings a curse will enter her and become bitter, and her belly will swell, her thigh will rot, and the woman will become a curse among her people. But if the woman has not defiled herself, and is clean, then she shall be free and may conceive children. Numbers 5:27

Was this an intervention by God to identify the guilt and/or the innocence of the woman or the woman merely be made sick (or not sick) by her own convictions? To both those questions I would say yes. God gave us both His Word and consciousness, and given the opportunity they work quite well together.

Back to Sweetness

“Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” …But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear…”He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst…”Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” John 8:4-11 (various)

It is true: conviction of the Holy Spirit and by the Holy Spirit will draw us closer to God, while the condemnation of evil will drive us away. Understand the difference—digest the Word of God.

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