Hearing What You Want To Hear
We have a letter from the Creator of the universe, in the form of the history of His plan, sending His Son to provide Himself as payment for our sins. It is a deeply personal message for each one who receives it. It's meant to be treasured and adored so much that an autographed World Series ball or movie star's headshot would be like ashes next to it. God Himself has delivered His desires and plans for us!
Why do we ignore them?
We do. We are eager to cite rules for others but even more eager to make exceptions for ourselves. Hearing the heart of God poured out, we still look for ways to serve ourselves.
In 1 Kings 13, an unnamed prophet of God receives a message for King Jeroboam and, with it, a command for himself not to eat, drink or go back the same way he came. He delivered the message to King Jeroboam and the Lord underscored it with a sign in four parts- Jeroboam's hand and arm withered, the altar split, the ashes spilled out and Jeroboam's hand and arm were restored. The prophet refused the King's offers of reward, refreshment and rest, citing the word God spoke to him.
On his roundabout journey homeward, he was intercepted by an "old prophet"- probably one who served in a compromised temple given over to idolatry- who had his own message from the Lord for the traveling prophet (1 Kings 13:18). The old prophet said "God told me you're supposed to come back with me and eat and drink". The end of verse 18 drops this clue: "(He was lying to him.)"
Indeed, the old prophet was lying because, a half dozen verses later, the journeying prophet is killed by a lion.
Anyone can relate if you think about what the unnamed prophet was laboring at. He took a long donkey ride to deliver a message that was likely to result in his death at the direction of the king. It didn't, so he was tasked with making his way home by a different route. If you've ever had to get back to Norco from Orange County without using the 91... talk about despair! While facing this with no bread or water, a man showed up with a new word "from God" and it was an answer to his troubles and an easy way out of a stressful situation.
Don't let anything steal the word of God from you. You have His message, delivered to you! Eve listened to ungodly counsel and ate what she knew God had forbidden. King Rehoboam rejected godly counsel, embraced wicked counsel and lost all Solomon's kingdom except for Judah. And an unnamed prophet set aside words which God had given directly to him, and it cost him his life.
Because these people dismissed knowledge of the Lord's instructions, we are able to see- by their examples- that what God has given us is so much better than anything we could seek on our own. We know God's desires, instructions and commandments because we have them in ink on paper. We know of God's love for us because we read it plainly in black and white.
When the enemy whispers of compromise, remember that God has not called on us to stop, turn aside or even slow down but to run the race to win (1 Cor 9:24; Phil 3:14; Heb 12:1).
Your Bible is the most precious document in the universe. It is literally a letter from God to you, showing how important you are to Him that He sent His Son to show you the way home.
For God's glory,