“An angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord.” 1 Kings 13:17
Pretty compelling words, right? If someone said that to you, you’d want to hear what they had to say, right? But the problem is this. The person lied.
Join me in the courtyard of the temple in Bethel. Jeroboam, king of Judah, is standing on the temple steps with a golden calf. He is having a party to kick-off his new, but very old, religion. He is just about to dedicate a new altar to his gods, when a prophet, a man of God, shows up on the temple steps.
This prophet doesn’t fool around. He says,
“You see this altar? One day Josiah, a king from the house of David will arise. The bones of your priests will burn on this altar. And just so that you know I’m telling the truth, this altar will split apart and the ashes from your sacrifices will spill into the dirt.”
As you can imagine, this puts a little damper on the king’s party. People are getting nervous and he can tell this is going nowhere fast. Stretching out his hand to grab this prophet, Jeroboam points his finger at the prophet and yells,
As Jereboam’s henchmen grapple around to get to the prophet, two things happen.
1. King Jeroboam’s hand shrivels up. Right there in front of everyone, it’s like his whole arm just dried up like beef jerky.
2. The altar breaks apart and the ashes spill all over the ground.
As you can imagine, Jeroboam is a little bit concerned. Now he’s not so concerned with seizing the prophet and shutting him up. He’s concerned about his arm. He sees that this prophet has power and he wants him to pray that his arm will be healed.
Now, I might have been tempted to let Jeroboam stew for a little bit, figuratively, not literally, but this man of God is much nicer than me. Right away, he prays and God heals his arm. No more beef jerky.
Understandably, Jeroboam is quite impressed and just like you or I would do, invites that man of God to come on back to his house with him.
“You can freshen up, have a bite to eat. And, I’ve got a present for you”.
“Not on your life,” the prophet says, “If you gave me half of your house for a present, I wouldn’t go with you. Not only that, but I don’t even want your bread or water. And let me tell you why. God told me not to eat or drink a thing. As a matter of fact, he told me to go home a different way.”
And that’s just what this prophet did.
As he’s going home, another prophet, an older prophet hears about what happen. Understandably, he’s pretty impressed. He hops on his donkey and finds the younger prophet sitting under an oak tree.
“Are you the man of God who came from Judah?”
He wants to make sure he’s got the right one.
“I am,” said the younger prophet.
“Well, then! Come home with me and get a bite to eat.”
“Can’t do it. God told me not to eat or drink a thing. And to go home a different way.”
Given the profession, you would think that the older prophet would appreciate this, respect his younger friend’s commitment, maybe sit under the tree with him for awhile and ask him to tell him what happened, commend him for his courage, his strength of character, pray for him, and send him on his way. But he didn’t. Instead,
“I also am a prophet like you, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord saying, ‘Bring him back with you into your house that he may eat bread and drink water.'”
Did you catch this? The older prophet said, “An angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord.” This was a lie. No angel appeared to the older prophet. No word of the Lord came to him. Now, the younger prophet made a bad decision. He trusted the older prophet. He didn’t wait to hear the word of the Lord himself. He went home with the older prophet, kicked up his feet, leaned back, and broke his fast.
While the prophets are sitting there talking all about Jeroboam, his golden calf, his broken altars, and his withered but now healed hand, the word of the Lord comes. It comes to the younger prophet. And it’s not good
“You disobeyed me. You came home with this man. You ate his food. You sat at his table. You are going to die.”
Can you imagine? The younger prophet had trusted the older prophet. The older prophet had said that an angel had brought him a word from the Lord. The younger prophet saddles up his donkey and heads out.
“As he went away a lion met him on the road and killed him. And his body was thrown in the road, and the donkey stood beside it; the lion also stood beside the body. And behold, men passed by and saw the body thrown in the road and the lion standing by the body. And they came and told it in the city where the old prophet lived.”
The older prophet knew. His lie had cost the life of this man of God. He saddled up his donkey and found the body of the younger prophet mauled, broken, and lying on the side of the road. The older prophet pulled the body of the young man he should have mentored, encouraged, challenged onto the donkey and carried it back to his city where he mourned and buried him saying,
“When I die, bury me in the grave in which the man of God is buried. Lay my bones beside his bones…What he said by the word of the Lord will surely come to pass.”
This story pierces my heart, not because of the disobedience of the younger prophet, although that is surely important. Each of us needs to hear from God. Each of us needs to weigh man’s counsel against the Bible before we follow it.
This story pierces my heart because of the older prophet’s casual handling of the word of God. The older prophet wanted to hear what God had done to Jereboam’s altar and to Jereoboam’s arm. He wanted what he wanted, and he used God’s name to get it. He lied about God’s word.
I love to study, teach, and preach God’s word. Last weekend I was with 607 other women who love it too. Some of them like writing more. Some of them like speaking more. Some are like me and love both. But the call is a weighty one. I feel the weight.
Over the past fifteen years I have spoken at women’s retreats and events, when asked. I have written Bible study materials, when asked. I have led workshops, when asked.
Right now I’ve got a book proposal that I am working on, and you better believe that not only am I checking every grammatical jot and tittle, but I am working with my pastor/theologian husband and others to make sure that I am not casually handling the word of God. I feel the weightiness of this call.
I’m speaking at a women’s retreat in October and have been asked to speak at a leadership conference to ministry wives in June. While I’m continuing to work on my book proposal, I will be writing magazine articles and devotions and submitting them for publication. And I would also like to secure several other speaking engagements for this school year. I feel the weightiness of this call.
I have added “Speaking” to the top of this page. In this tab, you can find a brief bio, speaking topics, endorsements, and how to get more information on my speaking fees and availability. In addition you can see a ten-minute clip from the James 1:27 Dinner that Bill and I hosted to raise money for Katya’s adoption and help people see the connection between sex trafficking and the plight of the orphan. I feel the weightiness of this call.
The older prophet’s casual handling of the word of God cost the life of a young man.
“The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of sprit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:11
I feel the weight of the sword. I feel the weight of this call to deliver God’s word carefully, precisely, accurately. How about you? Do you feel the weight of the sword? Regardless of whether you are a speaker or a writer, the word of God is your double-edged sword. According to Ephesians 6:17, it is actually the only weapon you have to withstand the schemes of the enemy.
Join with me gals. Feel the weight of the word. Don’t shrink back from the sword. Learn how to hold it, to use it, to communicate it truthfully, carefully, intentionally.