Obedience Is Better Than Sacrifice (Part 3)

The man of God said, “I cannot turn back and go with you, nor can I eat bread or drink water with you in this place. 17 I have been told by the word of the Lord: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water there or return by the way you came. 18 The old prophet answered, “I too am a prophet, as you are. And an angel said to me by the word of the Lord: ‘Bring him back with you to your house so that he may eat bread and drink water. (But he was lying to him.) 19 So the man of God returned with him and ate and drank in his house. 20 While they were sitting at the table, the word of the Lord came to the old prophet who had brought him back. 21 He cried out to the man of God who had come from Judah, “This is what the Lord says: ‘You have defied the word of the Lord and have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. 22 You came back and ate bread and drank water in the place where he told you not to eat or drink. Therefore your body will not be buried in the tomb of your ancestors”(1 Kings 13: 16-20, NIV)

I heard on a podcast recently that intimacy with God is not community with others. This lit yet another lightbulb in my very eventful Christian walk; it enlightened my understanding further on what I already know in my obedience walk. 

Even though for us to thrive as Christians, we need fellowship with others, fellowshipping with others in the body of Christ, with friends and family does not replace our intimacy with God. Our Father requires from us all. But not only because He asks of us, but He deserves our intimacy.  This brings me to our text for today.

The story of the man of God from Judah is yet another heart breaking story that serves as an admonition for us all. God had charged the man of God saying, “Eat no bread, drink no water” yet after delivering a powerful message to the King of Judah, after displaying signs and wonders and healing, after such a victorious and ministry ‘high’, he fell to his frailties and humanity. Like most of us, he allowed ‘another’ prophet to counter what he knew deep in his spirit he heard from the Lord. After doing great exploits for God, for mere bread and water he disobeys and eventually loses his life as an outcome of his disobedience.

I have read this story like four times in my entire Christian life and each time I read, I feel sad, angry, sometimes I have even asked God why…. was He not too harsh? After all, the man of God obeyed the main instruction – delivering the word of the lord to the king.

But the older I get and more mature I become as a follower of God, I realise a couple of things –
– Just as in the intimate relationship of marriage, people can only look from the outside in, provide advice and counsel but the man and woman know the ‘full’ context of the relationship and all the hidden bits the world does not see.  They can only take advice, but they need to live in the marriage and work at it. It’s not a marriage of three or four. Friends, family, at the end of the day go back to their own lives. So also it is in our intimate relationship with God. Others can only view it outside in. They are not in the love walk with God, YOU ARE! They do not hear directly from God, YOU DO!
– Therefore, we all need to OWN our relationship with God. Stop always seeking what God is saying through others. If you know God’s voice and know what you heard, stick to it; stop the verification process with man.
– If God has spoken to you, he spoke to YOU! It’s not a group thing. Believe this word regardless of who says what. If you are in doubt, go back to God and seek His face; He will speak though various ways. He understands and He is there to help grow and develop your inner man.
– You maintain intimacy from within and not from external factors or stimuli;  be still listen, God will speak and when He speaks. Remember, God is not fickle like we are He does not change His mind so often.
– If you are faithful to obey the little things, God will trust you with much more because He has so much more for us.
– Be sensitive to any derailment plans from the enemy especially after any victory in life, spiritual & secular. Be constantly vigilant because the enemy of our soul – the devil – is constantly seeking how he may devour, derail, cause us to stumble and fall out of grace with God. He is crafty and will use anything and anyone. Remember he has come to kill, steal and destroy.
– Surrender to God; ask daily for help to do His will His way, to help you obey not some of the time but every time.
Like I said in parts 1 & 2 of this piece, as we grow in our walk with God, expectations grow but our loving Father who knows us deeply has sent us a Helper in the person of the precious Holy Spirit. We do not have to do it by our strength.

Rightfully said in a poster sent to me recently, “Growing closer to God is not the result of trying harder, but of surrendering more.” Therein lies intimacy with God!

Written by Bee
Be Your Best Self for God series