9.02.2008

AY Talk- Man of God

These are my notes for a talk I gave on Sabbath for the local AY
group. They are fairly rough for at least two reasons: first, since I
was speaking with a translator, I had to adjust my talk, and second, I
haven't edited my speaking notes into a proper written essay. Please
don't judge them too harshly:)
It was really cool how God gave me a topic. Friday morning I opened
my Bible up to 1 Kings 13. I hadn't read this story for at least a
year, but as I was reading it, the Holy Spirit brought all kinds of
lessons to my mind. That afternoon I sat down to compile my thoughts
and the talk virtually seemed to write itself! It was pretty neat
watching the Holy Spirit at work.
The presentation went well (until my laptop battery died and I had to
give the last third from memory) and God blessed. There were at least
80 people and they seemed to enjoy the talk. I hope it was as much of
a learning experience for them as it was for me! Thank you all for
your prayers:)

The Man of God: Miracles and Mistakes

Background
Israel has been split in two. A man named Jeroboam rebelled against
King Solomon's son, Rehoboam. He took 10 of the 12 tribes of Israel
and they started their own nation.

Things seemed to be going pretty well for Jeroboam. After all, he had
10 of the 12 tribes with him. That's a pretty large majority. But
there was one thing that troubled him. The Temple was in Jerusalem,
in the land of Judah. Rehoboam had control over Jerusalem. Jeroboam
didn't want his people going to the Temple in Jerusalem--they might
want to return to Rehoboam.

So he came up with a plan. He would build two golden calves in his
territory and let the people worship them. Then they wouldn't go to
the Temple of God where they might think about deserting him. Do you
think God was happy about this? Do you think He liked the idea of his
people worshiping idols; golden statues that couldn't think or feel?

Let's pick up the story in verse 1 of chapter 13. (read through verse 3)

Man of God is sent by God to Jeroboam with a message: "You're going
the wrong way! You're worshiping false gods, and even worse--you're
teaching the people to do likewise. This is an abomination!"
This message is a warning. God was merciful--He didn't kill the
rebellious king and his people right away, He wanted to give them a
chance to repent. He even worked a miracle to try to get their
attention; the altar cracked in half and all the ashes fell onto the
ground.

But instead of being grateful for God's mercy and repenting, King
Jeroboam reacts in anger. He calls for his guards to seize the man of
God. King Jeroboam had no respect for God's messenger. It is clear
what he thought of the message of mercy. But God still didn't strike
the king dead for his arrogance. The king was worshiping false gods;
he was even leading the people to follow his example in worshiping
idols. Then he reacted with anger when God gave him a chance to
repent. But God was still patient with him.

Now God tries even harder to get the king's attention. As Jeroboam
gestures furiously at the prophet, singling him out for certain death,
God causes the king's hand to wither. Finally, He has Jeroboam's
attention. "Please ask God to heal me," he says to the Man of God.
Notice that Jeroboam did not acknowledge his sin. He did not ask for
forgiveness for leading the people of Israel astray. He was concerned
only about his own welfare. But God listened to the prayer of the Man
of God and healed Jeroboam's hand.

What happens next? King Jeroboam invites the Man of God over to his
house for food and offers to give him gifts. What is he doing? He's
trying to buy him off! To bribe him! Jeroboam thinks God can be
bought. Can God be bribed? Jeroboam still isn't listening to God.
First he tried to silence God's messenger by force, now he's trying to
pay him to be quiet.

The prophet might have been tempted by the king's offer. I imagine
King Jeroboam could have given him some pretty nice gifts; good food,
horses, clothes, money... If I was him, I might have been tempted.
But God in His wisdom had given the Man of God advance warning. He
had given the prophet a special message designed to keep him safe.
The Lord had told him "You shall eat no bread, nor drink water, nor
return by the way you came." And that's what he did.

Wow! What do you think of this guy? He's bold huh? First he travels
into occupied territory and boldly tells the enemy king that he's
sinning against God (in the presence of all his soldiers), then he
stares down the angry king and waits for God to save his life, and now
he even refuses the king's gifts! This is truly a man of God!

But the Bible does not record only the nice things. The Bible tells
the truth. And the truth is even brave men of God can make mistakes
and turn their backs on Him.

There was another prophet who lived nearby. But he was a false
prophet. He had not followed God, and Satan used him to bring down
the Man of God. He heard about what had happened and. . .

Read 14-19

And just like that, the Man of God fell. Satan is tricky, isn't he!
But he uses the same tricks over and over. By looking carefully at
the principles of this story, we can resist Satan. Just like God gave
the prophet a message that was intended to keep him safe, He has given
us a message to keep us safe.

So what principles of resisting Satan can we find in this story?
Let's learn from the prophet's mistakes.

Wrong place - God told him to return, and judging by his command not
to stay around long enough even to get a drink, He wanted him to
return promptly. Instead, he's sitting down on the job. He is
resting under a tree. He was probably thinking, "I've gotten past the
hard part. I was faithful in delivering the message; I stood firm
when the king threatened me; I even remembered what God said about not
eating the food when the king was being nice. I think I've done a
pretty good job. Surely it's okay to rest under this tree for awhile.
God probably doesn't mind me slacking off for a little while." He
was resting when he should have been moving forward.

Luke 9:62 says no one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is
fit for the Kingdom of God. If we want to successfully resist Satan,
we can't be lazy. We need to pay attention and work diligently to do
what God says.

The Man of God was in the wrong place at the wrong time by his own
choice. Sometimes God allows hard things to happen to us, but many
times we bring temptations on ourselves. Some situations we can't
avoid, but there are many things we can avoid, that God has warned us
about. We need to be careful not to put ourselves in danger by
stepping outside of God's will.

Second, he allowed himself to get in an argument with Satan's agent.
When Jesus was being tempted by the devil, He didn't try to reason; He
quoted Scripture. The devil is much smarter than we are, and if we
hang around and try to reason with him, we will fall. The Man of God
knew what the motive of the false prophet was; he shouldn't have
lingered to have a discussion.

So the first mistake the prophet made was to put himself on dangerous
ground by not diligently carrying out God's commands. The second was
hanging around to parley with the enemy.

And the third mistake was allowing himself to be persuaded to directly
contradict God's instructions. The false prophet directly
contradicted what God had told the Man of God. God hadn't given him
confusing commands. It wasn't hard to understand "Do not eat or drink
anything while you are there." But by putting himself on dangerous
ground, the Man of God had lowered his defenses and now he could not
withstand even the blatant attacks of the Enemy.

You probably know what happens next. The Man of God succumbed to the
temptation and on his way home, after eating with the false prophet;
he was killed by a lion.

You know, this is very similar to another story in the Bible. Do you
know what it is? Does this sound familiar? There was another tree,
which another person was tempted to linger by. She stayed to try to
reason with the Enemy, and then was persuaded to disregard a plain
command of God. This was the very first deception on Earth; when Eve
was tempted to eat the fruit from the Tree of Good and Evil.

And you know what? Satan hasn't changed his tactics. He used the
same tricks with the Man of God. And he uses the same tricks today;
that's why studying this story is helpful to us.

We can learn about the nature of God from this story. Exodus 34:6
says He is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in
love. And that is the case in this story. God repeatedly shows mercy
to the wicked king Jeroboam, even healing him when the Man of God
prayed for him. God doesn't want anybody to die. He wants us to turn
from our sins and live.

There are also many lessons in this story for our church. God has
called us to give a message to the world. It is not an easy message.
Sometimes there will be scary situations. But God wants us to witness
for Him no matter how scary things may seem. Satan will try many
different ways to keep you from giving God's message. He will try
intimidation. He will try to bribe you with nice things. Money, land,
excellent food, cars, all the luxuries of the world . . .

God wants to keep us safe from the traps of Satan. That's one reason
why this story is in the Bible; so we can learn from it. When Satan
tempts us, we can remember the principles of resisting that the Man of
God didn't use. Don't put yourself outside of God's protection by
neglecting to be diligent in doing what He says; don't linger to
reason with the Enemy, and when confronted with something that is
plainly counter to God's commands, run away!

God has called us to be Men and Women of God today. He has provided
clear directions. And He has promised to protect us from the roaring
lion. May we be faithful to Him.


Excelsior!

6 comments:

  1. Hey sounds good I've been praying for you hope everything is going well.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, I never thought of that story in that way before. Those are important lessons. Thanks for reminding me.

    Praying for you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. how does one get in contact with you??? email??/

    ReplyDelete
  5. :) I remember this story scaring me when I was little! But there are a lot of neat lessons in it.
    Thanks for expounding.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Mộc Nhũng đang quỳ trên mặt đất lập tức vâng dạ rồi nhanh chóng lui ra

    ngoài, trong nháy mắt đã không còn nhìn thấy thân thể của hắn.

    Dạ Tự Tại vung tay lên, nhất thời một tấm màn mỏng hiện ra, hắn than nhẹ một tiếng, chậm rãi nói:
    trung tâm dạy kế toán
    http://meomeo007.com
    học kế toán tổng hợp tại huế

    http://kenyseo.com
    http://ngoduong89.com
    luyện thi toeic
    trung tâm kế toán tại nghệ an
    trung tâm kế toán tại cầu giấy
    trung tâm dạy kế toán tại cầu giấy
    học kế toán tại bình dương
    tiếng anh cho người mới bắt đầu
    học kế toán tại đà nẵng
    học kế toán tại đồng nai
    http://meomeo007.com
    học kế toán tại huế

    - Vương Lâm, ngươi không phải là đệ tử của Thi Âm Tông, không cần câu

    thúc. Sư đệ Ngô Vũ của ta nhất định đã gặp phiền toái, Vương Lâm, nơi

    này không có người thứ ba, ngươi cứ nói đi.

    Vương Lâm có ưỡn thẳng lưng, trước khi đến đây hắn đã suy nghĩ rất kỹ, chuyện có liên quan tới Ngô Vũ căn bản không thể dấu diếm Dạ Tự Tại một

    Nguyên Anh kỳ cao thủ, tốt nhất là thành thật nói ra.

    Trầm ngâm một chút, Vương Lâm liền đem chuyện chứng kiến Tùng Lâm phế khu nói ra một lần.

    Dạ Tự Tại yên lặng lắng nghe, một lời cũng không phát ra, đợi đến khi

    Vương Lâm nói xong, hắn than nhẹ một tiếng, nhắm mắt trầm tư, trong lòng

    thầm nghĩ:

    - Nếu những lời Vương Lâm là sự thật, Ngô Vũ sư đệ trước khi đi từng nói

    ReplyDelete