DO 1857 Summer '68
—Can a Little Disobedience Be Your Downfall?—The Sad Story of a Young Prophet, a Lesson on 1Kings 13.
—From the Beginning of the Family‚ at Huntington Beach, California.
(Condensed by Apollos)
1. WHEN GOD SHOWED ME WHAT I WAS SUPPOSED TO DO & MY MOTHER, A GODLY WOMAN, A PROPHETESS OF GOD, FOUGHT IT tooth-&-toenail, every time I went to see her it tore me to pieces! If there was ever a woman of God & a prophetess of God, she was it! I'm going to read to you why this happened from the Bible! 1 Kings 13:
2. "AND, BEHOLD, THERE CAME A MAN OF GOD OUT OF JUDAH BY THE WORD OF THE LORD UNTO BETH–EL." (vs.1.) He came out of Southern Israel, Judah, & went unto Beth-el, in Northern Israel. The kingdom at this time was divided. Jeroboam, who was not even of the royal blood, was a rebel king who had split off the Northern ten tribes & caused them to rebel against the ruling Tribe of Judah, & the nation was divided.
3. "AND JEROBOAM STOOD BY THE ALTAR TO BURN INCENSE." (vs.1.) Because he didn't want the people to go traipsing back to Jerusalem, the capital of Judah, every holy day, he said, "Let's start our own religion! We'll have our own altars up here‚ we'll worship other gods—so I won't lose my following!"
4. SO THE YOUNG PROPHET CAME UP THERE, "AND HE CRIED AGAINST THE ALTAR in the Word of the Lord, & said, O altar, O altar, thus saith the Lord; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; & upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, & men's bones shall be burnt upon thee!" (vs.2.)
5. NOW THE ALTAR COULDN'T HEAR HIM; GOD WAS REALLY HAVING HIM SAY THAT FOR THE BENEFIT OF JEROBOAM, the false king who was standing right there listening! In other words, he was saying, "Jeroboam, this false religion that you're starting is going to defeat itself!"
6. "AND HE GAVE A SIGN THE SAME DAY, SAYING, THIS IS THE SIGN WHICH THE LORD HATH SPOKEN; BEHOLD, THE ALTAR SHALL BE RENT, & the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out. And when King Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, which had cried against the altar in Beth-el, he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him!"—Arrest him! (vs.3,4.)
7. "AND HIS HAND WHICH HE PUT FORTH AGAINST HIM DRIED UP, so that he could not pull it in again to him."—Watch out that you don't raise your hand against the Lord's anointed! "The altar also was rent, & the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the Word of the Lord." (vs.4,5.)
8. "THE KING ANSWERED & SAID UNTO THE MAN OF GOD, INTREAT NOW THE FACE OF THE LORD THY GOD, & PRAY FOR ME, THAT MY HAND MAY BE RESTORED TO ME AGAIN. And the man of God besought the Lord, & the king's hand was restored to him‚ & became as it was before." (vs.6.)
9. "AND THE KING SAID UNTO THE MAN OF GOD, COME HOME WITH ME, & refresh thyself, & I will give thee a reward. The man of God said unto the king, If thou wilt give me half thine house"—half your kingdom—"I'll not go in with thee‚ neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place: For so it was charged me by the Word of the Lord, saying‚ Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way by which thou camest." (vs.7-9.)
10. WELL, HE STOOD THAT TEST‚ THANK THE LORD, HE DIDN'T GO HOME WITH THE KING! "So he went another way & returned not by the way that he came to Beth-el." (vs.10.) Well‚ after all, why should he obey this ungodly king? It was obvious he'd know that that guy was wrong & couldn't fool him! But God's about to give him another test!
11. "NOW THERE DWELT AN OLD PROPHET IN BETH-EL; & his sons came & told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Beth-el." (vs.11.) Now mind you, the young prophet's on his way home by another way like God told him to do: Not stopping‚ not turning to the right or the left, not stopping to drink or to eat, or to wait for anything! He's obeying God‚ he's on the way!—He was off to a flying start! He had left all, forsaken all to follow God, & was doing the work of God! He had resisted the authorities to preach the Gospel, he had suffered persecution! Boy, he was just going great!
12. "AND HE (THE OLD PROPHET) SAID UNTO HIS SONS, SADDLE ME THE ASS. So they saddled him the ass: And he rode thereon, & went after the man of God, & found him sitting under an oak." (vs.13‚14.) Oh, oh, that's where he made his first mistake!—Idleness is the Devil's workshop! He stopped to catch his breath, he stopped to rest, he was idle!
13. HE DIDN'T KEEP GOING LIKE THE LORD TOLD HIM TO DO! "And he", the old prophet, "said unto the young prophet, Art thou the man of God that came from Judah? He said, I am." (vs.14.) Second mistake, what was it?—He took time to listen to what the Old Prophet had to say, to hear his side of the story!
14. "WOW, WHAT A FANATIC YOU ARE!—You don't think I should even listenyto the home folks, you don't think I should even listen to my pastor, you don't think I should even listen to the other side of the story! After all, isn't it fair to consider both sides & to go around to see who's right?"
15. IF THIS ISN'T THE BIBLE I'VE BEEN PREACHING TO YOU, YOU MIGHT AS WELL GO BACK & FORGET THE WHOLE WORKS! If you don't know by this time that this is the Word of God, if you do not know by this time that this is the Truth, if you don't know what the way is, then forget it!
16. YOU HAVE TO BE REWIRED, HAVING YOUR MIND TRANSFORMED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD, & it takes time to rewire your computer! Any psychologist will tell you that it's not hard to switch right back into the original thought pattern, because your brain is so wired that your first automatic reaction is the one built there by habit & by custom, & a new thought pattern cannot be established until the old one has had time to be completely erased. So at a sudden emergency you will automatically lapse into your original thought pattern—except by a miracle of God! I'm busy working hard at it, & God help me, I'll soon have you so rewired you'll short-circuit every time you go back!
17. BUT IF YOU INVITE OLD MR.DEVIL & OLD MR.DOUBT TO COME IN & TALK IT OVER, to hear what they & all their little doubtlets have to say, you'll wind up thinking, "I sure am confused! I guess you're right, I must have made a big mistake!" And you'll be all torn apart & all mixed-up & confused, halting between two opinions—double-minded! (Jam.1:8)
18. "COME HOME WITH ME‚" THE OLD PROPHET SAID, "& EAT BREAD." (vs.15.) First mistake: He sat down in idleness! Second mistake: He listened! Well‚ why shouldn't you listen to others?—Why?—Because God has already spoken to you! And you ought to remember the Voice of God & follow God the way He specified! Why should He have to beat you on the head & keep telling you & keep telling you? If God has shown you the truth & the way‚ follow God! "If God be God, then hear Him! If Baal be God‚ then serve him! You cannot serve two masters: You'll either hate the one, & love the other; or hold to the one, & despise the other!" (1 Kings 18:21; Mt.6:24)
19. THE YOUNG PROPHET ANSWERED‚ "I MAY NOT RETURN WITH THEE‚ NOR GO WITH THEE: Neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place: For it was said to me by the Word of the Lord, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that thou camest." (vs.16,17.) The minute he said that he should have taken off right then!—Until he got where he came from—so fast they couldn't have seen him for the dust!
20. THEN THE OLD PROPHET SAID UNTO HIM, "I'VE BEEN IN THIS BUSINESS A LONG TIME."—"I'm a prophet also as thou art; & an angel spake unto me by the Word of the Lord"—I had a revelation from the Lord—"saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house‚ that he may eat bread & drink water.—But he lied unto him!" (vs.18.)
21. SO HERE HE'S LYING TO HIM—JUST TO TEST HIM TO SEE IF HE'S GOING TO PAY ATTENTION TO & OBEY GOD! "Do you mean to tell me that's possible, that God could ever let a thing like that happen?—Just to see if I really mean business!—To test me somehow or another, to see if I'm really convinced?"—Yes!
22. "SO HE WENT BACK WITH HIM, & DID EAT BREAD IN HIS HOUSE; & DRANK WATER." (vs.19.) He went where?—He went back! And God hates to see people's backs! "Remember Lot's wife! My soul abhorreth them which turn back!" (Lk.17:32; Ps.106:40) God says He hates to see people turn their backs on what He's revealed to them, what He's told them, what He's made plain to them & what they've even started to do! He can't even stand to see the back of your head, just turning your head & looking back! (Lk.9:62)
23. "AND IT CAME TO PASS‚ AS THEY SAT AT THE TABLE, THAT THE WORD OF THE LORD CAME UNTO THE PROPHET THAT BROUGHT HIM BACK. And he cried unto the man of God that came from Judah, saying, 'Thus saith the Lord'"—now he's telling him the truth! He had lied to him to test him. Now he's going to lower the boom on him!—"Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the Lord, & hast not kept the commandment which the Lord thy God commanded thee, but thou camest back, & hast eaten bread & drunk water in the place of which the Lord did say to thee, Eat no bread, & drink no water; thy carcase shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers. And it came to pass after he had eaten bread, & after he had drunk, that he saddled for him the ass, to wit, for the prophet whom he had brought back." (vs.20-23.)
24. "BECAUSE YOU DISOBEYED THE LORD, YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO SUFFER THE PENALTY! I'm going to have to make you a public example so that others may fear to disobey!" And so, what happened? "When he was gone, a lion met him by the way, & slew him: & his carcase was cast in the way, & the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by the carcase!" (vs.24.) Now what usually happens when a lion grabs somebody?—The lion's going to eat'm! And other beasts run from lions, they don't just stand around! But here's the carcase of a man, uneaten‚ just killed‚ with a lion standing on one side & a burro on the other!
25. —A SILENT WITNESS & TESTIMONY TO THE RESULT OF DISOBEDIENCE! I hope your tombstone doesn't stand as a silent testimony to your disobedience! "And‚ behold, men passed by, & saw the carcase cast in the way, & the lion standing by the carcase: & they came & told it in the city where the old prophet dwelt. And when the prophet that brought him back from the way heard thereof, he said‚
26. "IT IS THE MAN OF GOD, WHO WAS DISOBEDIENT UNTO THE WORD OF THE LORD: THEREFORE THE LORD HATH DELIVERED HIM UNTO THE LION, which hath torn him, & slain him. And he went & found his carcase cast in the way, & the ass & lion standing by the carcase. The prophet took up the carcase of the man of God, & laid it upon the ass‚ & brought it back: & the old prophet came to the city‚ to mourn & to bury him." (vs.25-29.)
27. LET ANYBODY PERSUADE YOU TO QUIT & BECOME ONE OF THEM AGAIN, & WHEN THEY DO, THE SPIRIT OF GOD IS GOING TO CONVICT BOTH THEM & YOU! They're going to think: "Well, too bad, I'm really kind of disappointed they didn't go through with it! Too bad I was so easily able to dissuade them! Too bad they listened to me, now they've really backslid & gone back on the Lord!"
28. THERE'S NO STANDING STILL! YOU ARE EITHER GOING FORWARD OR YOU'RE GOING BACKWARD! There's no stopping place either direction! You're either making progress, accomplishing something, going forward & gaining higher ground every day; or you're slipping further & further & further back!
29. "AND THEY MOURNED OVER HIM, SAYING, ALAS, MY BROTHER! It came to pass‚ after he had buried him, that he spake to his sons, saying, When I am dead, then bury me in the sepulchre wherein (Weeps) the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones." (vs.30,31)
30. (WEEPING & PROPHECY:) "OBEY! FOR THOSE OLD PROPHETS ARE GOING TO WAKE UP & MOURN OVER YOU‚ & THE FACT THAT THEY HELPED YOU FAIL GOD!"—Too late they're going to weep over you! Too late they're going to find out they made a mistake & gave you the wrong advice & that you made the wrong choice!
31. MY OWN MOTHER FOUGHT FOR YEARS THE VERY THING THAT I AM DOING TODAY! IT TOOK YEARS TO PERSUADE HER & TO WIN HER HEART! Yet she was the one I loved the most dearly in all this World, my leader spiritually & in every other way. But God used my Mother to test me. God used her to be the sifting & the testing, to see if I would do God's Will above all!
32. IF YOU DON'T KNOW THE WILL OF GOD BY THIS TIME, & you've got to go around asking everybody, even those who haven't actually gone out & forsaken all to follow Jesus Christ, then get the Hell out of here!—Because you'll take Hell with you & you'll give us nothing but Hell if you stay!—Because a half-hearted person is a traitor! You never know whether you can depend upon them or not! "Choose ye this day whom ye shall serve: if God be God then serve Him! If Baal be God then serve him. As for me & my house, we will serve the Lord!" (Josh.24:15; 1King 18:21)
33. (PROPHECY THROUGH FAMILY MEMBER:) "YEA, I SAY UNTO MY CHILDREN, MY CHOSEN ONES: I HAVE CALLED YOU TO DO MY WORK, I have revealed this unto you. But I say unto thee, Search thine own heart this hour, & count the cost! The things which I have spoken through the mouth of My son, the one whom I have put over you, take heed that you hearken unto the words that he has given you this hour—for his words are of Me, & these are the things which I have revealed unto him in a mighty way!—This hour, choose ye whom ye will serve!"
34. (PROPHECY THROUGH DAD: ) "FOR SATAN HATH ASKED THAT HE MIGHT SIFT THEE; BUT‚ HE SAID, I HAVE PRAYED FOR THEE‚ THAT THY FAITH FAIL THEE NOT! For indeed, many are called but few are chosen. Narrow is the gate, strait is the way that leadeth unto life eternal, but few there be that find it. Wide is the gate, broad is the way that leadeth unto destruction, & many there be that go in thereat!" (Lk.22:31,32; Mt.22:14; 7:13,14) Very few people find the Will of God‚ very few!
35. HELP US, O LORD‚ HELP THESE THAT ARE MAKING DECISIONS‚ HELP THEM TO MAKE THE RIGHT DECISIONS, LORD!—Not backward, but forward! Lord, help them not to make a mistake & go back! In Jesus' precious Name, we ask it for Thy glory!