The Man of God: Obedience Is Not Optional

Scripture: 2 Peter 1:20-21, 1 Kings 13:1-34
Date: 12/04/2010 
Lesson: 10
A nameless prophet's death underscores how importantly God views our obedience to His commands.
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Good morning and a very, very Happy Sabbath to those of you who are joining us this morning, wherever you are joining us from, whether you are listening on the radio, watching live on our web site at, or on the various television networks, we welcome you. We're excited because we're going to start our Christmas songs this morning, those of you who have sent in your requests. If you are watching on the internet, you are live with us and so you still have a couple weeks to send in your favorite.

But if you're watching on the television, this is it. You've sent them in. We're going to sing those right now. The first two requests, the first one, 135, "o little town of Bethlehem," 135. We're going to sing the first, second and fourth stanza.

This is from joyce in Michigan, celina, sandra, chief, c.j., Craig and jonathan in netherlands, beth in New York, bassey in nigeria, jamie in North Carolina, won in thailand, Christa in Virginia, and Samuel in Washington, 135, "o little town of Bethlehem." Thank you so much for sending in that request. And of course if those of you who are watching have a favorite song that you haven't sent in yet, we encourage you to go to our web site at, click on the "contact us" link. And you can send in any hymn request. And we will do our best to sing that for you as soon as possible. Our next song, 118, "the first noel," 118.

This is from Paula and bob in Idaho, joyce in Michigan, beth in New York, and glen also in New York, jamie and jenny in North Carolina, abel in puerto rico, tito and alma in South Dakota, ruby, rholyn, peace and yet in south korea, anna in Texas, tura in thailand and Joel and maripat in the united arab emirates. We are going to sing the first, third and fifth stanza, the first noel, 118. I want to invite those of you who are watching, whether it's on the television networks or on our website, we are going to have our Christmas concert on December the 11th at 6:00 p.m. And it will be live on the internet. So if you're watching on a television network, make sure that you go to our web site at saccentral.

org on December the 11th at 6:00 p.m. Pacific time. And you can join us for our Christmas concert. I know you're going to be very, very blessed this year. Let's bow our heads and pray.

Father in Heaven, we thank you so much for this beautiful Sabbath morning. And we're singing Christmas songs thinking of when you came to this world as a little baby. Of course we know that you weren't born on December the 25th, but we do know one thing, and that was that you were born. And so we thank you and we praise you so much for that gift those many years ago. And I just pray that we will never forget what you gave up to come to this world, and that we will in turn show our gratitude and do everything that we can to be ready for heaven, and that is give you our hearts.

We thank you so much. As we open up Your Word and we study together this morning, I pray that you'll just be with us and that your spirit will be here. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time, our lesson study is going to be brought to us by our associate pastor, pastor mike thompson. Thank you very much, debbie and jennifer, and Happy Sabbath everybody.

It's good to see you all. I hope--trust you're all richly blessed. Good, you should be. Oh, there's a special offer, free offer number 774. It's called, "compromise, conformity and courage," offer number 774.

And you can get this if you call 1-866-study-more. So today we're on lesson 10, "background characters in the old testament," people who don't necessarily say much, maybe don't have a name. But yet they, they teach us things. There's lessons we can learn. And today we're on lesson number 10, and it's called, "the man of God: obedience is not an option.

" There's a memory text. And it tells us here, "above all you must understand, that no prophecy of Scripture--" this is from the niv-- "no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation, for prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but man spake from God as they were carried along--" or in the old king James it says, "moved upon by the holy ghost." So in "the man of God: obedience is not an option," and "obedience is not an option" of course, is the subtitle of our lesson this morning. And it's a very good one, because we live in a religious climate where this question of obedience is, if it's ever taught at all, strict obedience to God's revealed will, it's kind of very loose. And not necessarily nailed down as tight as it should be. You know, we live in a time of situational ethics.

We may get a position or the view, "well, if it's convenient." You know. "If it's convenient to serve God, or if I cut a few corners, God is surely going to understand. After all, we're not saved by works; we're saved by grace." Well, that is true. We're not saved by works; we're saved by grace. But nobody's going to get into heaven if they lie and cheat and do all the rest of the things that the revealed will of God definitely condemns.

There's a statement here in "Sabbath afternoon" section of the lesson, which I would share with you at this time. It says, "below the--" actually it gives the introduction that here we have this no-name prophet. And today we're looking at basically a king and a prophet. That's where the main focus is. We have king jeroboam, and this gentleman from judah who doesn't have a name.

But it says, "below the surface of this story, a nameless prophet lies an important issue of obedience and how seriously God takes our obedience. Whatever the unanswered questions--" and there are some unanswered questions in this particular narrative here-- "whatever the unanswered questions, this story shows that any expression of the Gospel without resulting obedience is of necessity a fake Gospel." I see a few nods. I hope we can all say "amen" to that. Now before we start getting down the track here of this nameless prophet, we need to kind of get a little background as to where it all begins. And we kind of start with two Kings, two Kings.

And in 1 Kings 12--and you know, this is the main section of the lesson that we draw these conclusions from. 1 Kings 12 describes what happened in Israel immediately after the death of king Solomon. We have rehoboam who comes to the throne, that is his son. And immediately, he disenfranchises ten of the northern tribes, just listens to his young man for council, ignores the council of the younger man and just totally messes everything up big time. And so what does he get? He finishes up with two tribes, Benjamin and judah, under his monarchy.

And he's there down in the south. And the northern tribes say, "no thank you." And they're gone, and they crown jeraboam to be their monarch. And so we have now this divided kingdom. So having thus far painted this picture, I want to move into Sunday's section where we deal with "the politics of religion." Politics, have you ever heard of the politics of religion? Happens in congress. It never happens in a church, does it? Why are you laughing? Well, we know it does, of course.

And that's one of the curses that God wants to get all the politics out of the church. Now let's remember this, of course, as we look at this. We have to remember how the northerners viewed the southern king, king rehoboam, because for all they had split from him, they knew very well that the temple was down there in Jerusalem. And that's where the sacrifices were offered, and that's where everything that their religion involved was still down there in the south, so they broken off to form these-- the northern states. And so this caused a little bit of a quandary because king jeroboam in the north could see that this could cause a problem for him if the people start gravitating south again.

So he has something to say about this. So we go to 1 Kings 12:27, and if somebody would like to read this so I don't do all the talking this morning. "If these people go up and to offer sacrifices in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then the heart of the people will turn back to their Lord, rehoboam king of judah. And they will kill me and return to king rehoboam king of judah." Yeah, now this is not what he wanted of course. So what did he decide to do, jeroboam? What did he decide to do? Well, he did two things.

He opened up a couple of new, brand new worship centers. That's what he did. One in dan and one in bethel. And lo and behold, what did he establish there? Well, he put a golden calf in both places, kind of reminds us a little bit of what happened once before, right, at the foot of Mount Sinai. And he had the audacity to tell his subjects in the north, in 1 Kings 12:28, the latter part, he says, "behold thy Gods, o Israel, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt.

" What do you think to that? Well, it's incredulous, but many of the people that just, they accepted it. They fell into lying and they began worshipping the golden calves in dan and in bethel. And little wonder in verse 30, it said this became a sin. It was a sin right from the get-go. So this is what he does first of all.

He establishes these new worship centers with a new innovative style of worship. Second thing jeroboam did was to appoint the common people as the priests. Now the priests were supposed to come from what tribe? The levites, yeah. So this is what he does. And the people obviously--there's a lot of people thinking, "well, I guess this is new.

This is progressive. This is probably okay." But as it so happens, there was still some members of the tribe of levi that said, "this is wrong." And they would have nothing to do with it, but worst still what did jeroboam do? He appointed himself a priest also and began to minister there at the altar. We kind of wonder at the long suffering and the mercy of God because we can look at him and say, "how does he have the audacity to do such a thing as that? That is in God's face." But you know, friends, in many ways we're really no better. We're really no better, you know. It's very easy and convenient to look back at God's people in the old testament and think, "oh, those people, they're so stiff-necked, so stubborn, so blind.

" Human nature hasn't changed since the days of rehoboam, or jeroboam. And we have just the same potential. And given half a chance we do just the same thing, maybe a little more, not quite as crude. We have some times finer, more sophisticated, more gentle ways of sinning and offending God. But we still do it.

Human nature is human nature. So, while we don't approve of what he's done, let's be careful. What does it say? "People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones," or something like that. Anyway, I want to pause to cite two major points that kind of come across as we look here at what jeroboam has done thus far. And the first thing I wanted to make mention about is this.

He was a king. He had a position in Israel, very high position. You, myself, we may have a position in Israel, spiritual Israel, the church. We may not be the King, we may not be a high priest, may be a deacon, an elder, deaconess, Sabbath-school teacher, maybe even a pastor. We're all servants, you know.

We're all just servants. But here, here's the point I want to make. If you're given an office, or you receive an office, that office is not yours by right. It is a privilege. It's a sacred trust that is given you of God.

And that office should not be used as a form of currency or merchandise for you to consolidate your position and power and authority among the flock of God. It should not be used for that. It should not be used for personal gain. And there should not be a politics of religion in the church to consolidate your ability to be able to remain in that stronghold. That is not what we are here to do.

We're here--we're here to serve. And jeroboam used the sacred things of God as a means to preserve his own position as a king. Now it's true when he said, you know, the people gravitate down south. He was worried that they'd finish up finally given their allegiance again to rehoboam, and he would be killed. So you can't blame him for being a little concerned about his own physical well-being.

But I kind of get the idea that that aside, even if his life was not threatened, he would have still done this anyway to try and hold this position of power. So I think we really need say no more about that. It kind of speaks for itself. But again, if I as a pastor try and hold my position in the church through politics, I'm no better than the jeroboam. And if you try and hold your position, whether it's a Sabbath school teacher or an elder or a deacon or a deaconess or a greeter, then you're walking in the steps of good old jeroboam here.

And that is not what God likes. You see the pride and ambition of fallen human beings is put to shame when we look at the example of Jesus Christ. If anybody had the highest position in this universe, Jesus certainly did. And what did he do? He actually went in the opposite direction. He shed his robes that he wore in heaven.

He came down to this world, wasn't born in a palace; he was born in a rude, crude stable to two very poor parents and was happy to have it so. And God was happy to give his son to have it just so. And Jesus was raised in a poor home. And he gave himself as an offering. He gave everything, because the title of royalty which he had in heaven, he laid aside temporarily.

And the glories of heaven where he received the adoration of the angels was not something that Jesus desired while we were lost. And so the pride of man, and women, human pride stands rebuked in his presence. In Matthew 20:26-28, Jesus said, "whoever will be great among you, let him be your minister." I'm giving you the shortened version here. "And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: even as The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." And in Philippians 2, it speaks of Jesus, "he made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient even unto the death of the cross." Okay, let's--let's move on here. Getting back to jeroboam's sin, what made it so high-handed was the fact that he made himself a priest.

He actually--i guess you could say he made himself, declared himself to be the general conference president to put it in the modern vernacular. When all at the same time, he was totally disqualified from being able to hold such a position, either by ancestry or by his own personal piety. Yet this is what he did. And again, it's amazing to see how he so readily got a following. Ignoring the clear directions of God's Word, many willingly like the King followed this, kind of this, I call it this new wave religion.

It was a religion based upon convenience and not principle. And the bottom line was that in spite of this being a new and innovative way to worship, no matter how much he packed 'em in at those two new worship centers in dan and bethel, it led to blatant violation of the law of God. And remember our subtitle this morning is, "disobedience is not an option--" and "obedience is not an option." We're to obey God because it's right, because we love him. I want to move on to Monday's section, which is entitled God's move. And we find now in 1 Kings 30, we find jeroboam burning incense at the altar.

Then suddenly he's there, and this obviously quite a large crowd of people is there doing this wonderful new innovative thing. He was a real progressive, you know. Then suddenly seemingly out of nowhere, woo! There's this gentleman here from judah. He's a prophet. But the Bible gives us no name.

We'll call him a no-name prophet. It's called simply, "a man of God." And this man of God stands there boldly before jeroboam and the altar, and he says the following: somebody else can read please, 1 Kings 13:2. "And he cried against the altar in the word of the Lord, and said, o altar, altar, thus saith the Lord; behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men's bones shall be burnt upon thee." Yeah, thank you very much, carla. It was a prophecy given by the man of God. To put it simply, it was that the royal house of David that jeroboam was seeking to subvert, would prevail at the coming of one josiah, the King.

Three hundred years into the future, but nonetheless josiah would come. And he would come tend against the counterfeit religion that jeroboam had certainly been an early instigator of and tear down the abominable altars that the apostate king had erected in dan and in bethel. And the man of God gave a sign. He kind of gave an indication, a surety that this was going to happen and that jeroboam's abominable legacy was going to be overturned and would surely--the prophecy would come to pass. In 1 Kings 13:3, he said, "this is the sign which the Lord hath spoken; behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out.

" So jeroboam, how did he take this? He was mad! He pointed at this man like, "take him into custody!" And as soon as he did that, what happened? His arm just kind of withered up, turned to like a piece of wood. And he didn't know what to do with it. He couldn't move the thing. And so obviously he was struck with terror and remorse and next thing we know there's a crack, and this altar breaks, and the ashes pour out all over the place. It must have been a fearful moment for old king jeroboam.

And all the people standing around, they stood there, they watch this king here thinking, "this is an amazing new form of worship." Here's this king now. And there's this man from judah, says a few words. Next thing the King's arm has turned to like a piece of wood. The altar breaks and the ashes pour out. And God's presence was made known.

And God made very clear that he is still the God in heaven who is the ruler of this universe and will have the final say in what happens among his people. So what can we learn from this perhaps? Well, we can all draw various conclusions. But I'd like to share with you what kind of came to my mind. I believe we can see here a microcosm, a microcosm of how the judgments of God one day will fall upon evil men. And I'm not speaking so much of those out in the world.

You wouldn't expect anything else. But evil men within Israel. And let's be careful. We can all be one of those. I can be one of those.

And when I say, "men," going to be politically correct and say it includes ladies as well. We can all, we can all be evil. But there is a day coming when all, especially in Israel are going to have to face off with God the consequences of blatantly violating his law under the pretext of, "Lord, all we're doing is worshipping you." We need to be very careful. We need to understand what God is actually--actually telling us in His Word." It is not for us to decide, "well this is okay and that's not." That's following in the footsteps of jeroboam. There's been plenty of jeroboams in Israel from his day right up until, well, maybe there's even some today.

Pray God there isn't. But further as well, God is going to destroy the strange altars that such individuals have and are yet to erect. God is going to destroy all the deceptions and the lies that have taken hold in spiritual Babylon. And God is going to destroy all the lies that have even taken root inside his remnant church, his beloved church. And I specifically believe jeroboam can be seen as a type of a false shepherd, one who usurps a holy office for which he is not qualified, which he wasn't.

He was a king. King's not supposed to be a priest, so he wasn't qualified by genealogy. And he wasn't qualified by his own personal piety apart from anything else. But it still applies that when a man is called of God to be a leader of his flock, and he is carnal, and he's deliberately violating the principles of God's law and leading others to do it, that man is not qualified to hold that position in God's eyes. And God will meet with that man, and there will be a day of reckoning.

And further, I believe that we can see how the wrath of God especially will target false shepherds, false spiritual leaders who knowingly erected these abominable altars within Israel and have led others down to the path of apostasy and to perdition. This is pretty heavy this morning, isn't it? It is, yeah. What do you say, martin? Amen. Okay, martin says amen so I'm going to carry on. How's that? [Laughs] I want to go to Ezekiel 8--in fact, actually, yeah turn to Ezekiel 8.

Because in Ezekiel 8 and 9, this thought I've just presented is graphically paralleled here. In Ezekiel 8:11, Ezekiel is given a vision of the ancients, the leaders in Israel. And he sees them offering incense to idols. I don't have time to go into all of this, but read Ezekiel 8 and 9, those two chapters today when you get a chance. He sees the ancients, the leaders, spiritual leaders in Israel offering incense to idols.

And then further on in verses 15 and 16, the prophet is given another vision, another view of what's actually happening in the house of God itself, in the temple of all places. Ezekiel 8:15-16, actually somebody might be able to read that for me. "Then said he unto me, hast thou seen this, o son of man? Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these. And he brought me into the inner court of the Lord's house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east." Thank you very much, jeff. I mean if you understand the significance of that, that's there, right there within the temple itself.

We got to move on though. Oh, by the way, in "testimonies to the church: volume 5," you will find a chapter there. I forget the page number. It's called the "seal of God." Testament is volume 5, "the seal of God." I would encourage you to read that. I really would.

But chapter 9 in Ezekiel's vision moves on to present in type the fearful consequences that's going to be meted out at the hand of God to those who have great spiritual life, to those who minister, to those who worship in Zion, but yet have rejected that to accept different philosophies and religious doctrines which are contrary to the revealed will of God. And there in verse 6 of Ezekiel 9, the latter part, it says this, it speaks of the destroying angels going forth, but it says this, latter part of verse 6, the command is given, "and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house." Judgment begins at the house of God in the judgment, in the investigative judgment. And the executive part of that judgment at the end begins in the house of God, and it begins with the ministry, with the Spiritual leaders, with the ancient men. It's not a small thing to be a servant of God, to receive tithe, to be employed by the denomination when you are deliberately not walking according to this book.

When you are walking according to other views and philosophies and you're leading the flock of God down the path to perdition. That is a fearful pair of shoes to be standing in. And I pray God this morning, I'm not standing in some. So you pray for me and Pastor Doug and any pastor, 'cause we're all as vulnerable as anybody else. We need to pray for one another.

But returning now to jeroboam's altar, where the prophet predicted destruction of the false altars and so on at the hand of josiah the King who was to come from the line of David. It's kind of interesting, I think we can see josiah actually as a type of Christ, one who had come from the line of David and rule his people in righteousness. And particularly worthy of note, josiah would come in fulfillment of God's promise that such a one as he would actually come to his people. And it's interesting as well to see that all the engineering, all the scheming of jeroboam and any other Kings following him could not prevent the purposes of God, could not prevent josiah coming. Nobody could impede the purpose of God.

And it's so in our day. It's so in our day. the Spirit of jeroboam and his counterfeit Gospel of love and grace and no law, the counterfeit religion of jeroboam, everywhere abounds. And it's sad to say there are thousands if not millions, in fact even more are yet to embrace this false religion, especially in the last hour. Religion which is very religious indeed, but on that vital point that the issue is going to come down to the fourth commandment, to the seal of God versus the Mark of the beast.

It's all going to come down to that. And there are going to be people, many in high positions in the religious world that are going to do everything they can to impede the purpose of God. But as josiah came on time, and as Jesus came the first time on time, Jesus is going to come the second time on time. The devil is going to build his defenses. He's going to dig his earthworks.

He's going to dig his trenches. He's going to lay his mine fields. He's going to do everything he can, but nothing is going to impede the will of God. It is going to be fulfilled. And so, beloved, which side do you want to be on? That's the question.

Which side do we want to be on when Jesus comes? Because he's coming. And a day of accounting and reckoning is coming. I want to read you this from "Prophets and Kings," page 364. It applies to nations, and it applies to God's people as well actually. It says, "with inerring accuracy, the infinite one still keeps account with the nations, while his mercy is tendered with calls to repentance, this account remains open.

But when the figures reach a certain amount, which God has fixed, the ministry of his wrath begins. The account is closed. Divine patience ceases. Mercy no longer pleads in their behalf. You know when josiah came, he was good king josiah.

If you read in 1 Kings 23, he went and he tore down the altars. He got rid of the houses where the sodomites were right next to the temple. He just cleaned house. He was a Godly man. But unfortunately, Godly as he was, the nation of judah, they'd filled up their cup.

And God said--God noticed-- you can read this there in the Scripture. Josiah came, he pled before God and he wept. And God sent a message to him. He says, "I've seen your tears." He says, "I've seen your penitence." He says, "what I'm going to do, I will not allow you to see this evil that I'm bringing upon judah in your days. So I'm going to let you go--I'm going to let you go to sleep.

" And actually that's what happened. Josiah, he cleaned house, and then he was killed in battle. And we'd assume it was quite quick and mercifully. And he was able to go to sleep. And he did not see the evil that the Babylonians brought upon judah when God allowed his people to go into captivity because they filled up the account and the Numbers were full.

Reminds me of Isaiah 57 near the beginning there. It says, "God takes righteous men away to spare them from the evil that is to come. And he did with this josiah, very, very clearly." You can see God's dealing with him. So good king josiah, he cleaned house. But still, could not save the fact that there was still those who were contrary otherwise and justice had to be done.

Okay, I want to move on here. Tuesday, "the giver of gifts." Returning again to the altar where jeroboam was smitten by the judgment of God and his hand became dry and stiff. He plead with the prophet, you know, that he might be healed. He just plead with him. In 1 Kings 13:6, it says, "and the King answered and said unto the man of God, 'entreat now the face of the Lord thy God and pray for me that my hand may be restored again.

" Is there anything in jeroboam's prayer that says, "oh God, you know, I've got this hand, this arm that's like a piece of wood, but that's not the important thing. The important thing is I've sinned against you. I've really wounded you. I've hurt you, Lord. I brought you grief and true sorrow and I'm sorry I've inflicted this pain upon your heart.

" Is there anything like that in his prayer? No. Just a prayer of self pity like the prayer of esau, a prayer of repentance that needs to be repented of. There's no penitence, no true sorrowful sin. It's distinctly lacking. And yet the amazing thing is that God in his mercy, he heals him.

And his arm is back to normal again. And he's given another chance. So his arm was restored, but unfortunately jeroboam would not allow God to restore his heart. He still reMained just as perverse and sin was still an option to be desired. And we can see that as we study the rest of his life.

But in the lesson on, is it Wednesday? Tuesday, okay. In the lesson, we see the little following comment. It says, "miracles cannot change our will. Even after a dramatic intervention by God, it is surprisingly easy to find a natural explanation or just simply go back to our old habits." We can do that, you know. If our religion is based upon miracles of God, I tell you this, God will never be able to perform enough miracles to keep us satisfied as believers.

'Cause as miraculous as miracles are, and though they may have a tremendous impact at the time, they have an ability to kind of just wane away. And the memory is still there, but the impact it has upon us becomes very weak. I'll give you an example. The children of Israel at the foot of Mount Sinai, did they receive a miracle, did they experience something very awesome? They did. There was cloud on the summit of sinai, and God was there.

And there was lightenings and thunders and they heard the voice of God. And they went to Moses and said, "tell God to stop talking to us. It's scaring us to death. You listen to 'em, and you talk to us, but tell God please to keep quiet." Talk about something that had an impression upon them. But what happens a few days later? Moses is up there on the mountain with God in the cloud.

The cloud is still there, truly is evidence that God is still there. And what did they start doing? They build a golden calf, and they start dancing around it with their clothes off and everything that that represents. So you see right at the foot of sinai with God still there. So miracles are miracles for God to perform as he sees fit. But we cannot build a religion upon miracles.

This is one of the things with the jews. They're constantly coming to Jesus. "If you're the Messiah, show us a sign. Give us a sign." What was the evidence that Jesus gave that he was the Messiah? It was the Word of God, right? If they had followed the Word of God, if they would have looked at the prophecies, they would have seen that miracle or no miracle, whether Jesus fed the 5,000 or not, whether he walked on water or not, whether he raised jairus' daughter or the widow of nain's son, no matter what he did, even if he never worked a miracle, there was evidence based upon the word that he was who he claimed he was. And that's how it needs to be with us.

If we go looking for miracles, you better look out, because Jesus would not work a miracle for that reason. And God worked a miracle for that--well, once in a while he may do something in our lives, yes. I won't go to that extreme. He's very merciful. But we are to believe based upon the Word of God.

And if miracles come, miracles are to come and they follow the believers who have a faith built upon Christ, based upon the word. Don't look for the miracles first. There is a miracle. There is a miracle that does take place that we should all recognize if we've had an experience with Christ. It's a miracle that is not seen by thunders and lightenings.

It is a miracle that is not seen by his walking on water. It is a miracle not seen by his being able to raise the dead. It is a miracle that is demonstrated quietly and unseen within the human heart. That is a miracle that God wants every one of us to experience, the transforming power of divine grace inside us. In 1 Peter 1:23, it says, "being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.

" That's the kind of miracle that we should want to experience, the new birth conversion. In the book, "fundamentals of Christian education," somewhere between page 178 and 180, I'll read the short statement. "Christ is our glorified head. And the divine love flowing from the heart of God rests in Christ and is communicated to those who have been united to him. This divine love entering the soul inspires it with gratitude, frees it from its spiritual feebleness, from pride, vanity and selfishness and from all that would deform the Christian character.

" That's the miracle we all need. That is the miracle that jeroboam needed. Then what a king he would have been, would he not? Okay, I want to change the focus now from jeroboam again. I want us to start looking now at the man of God who came from judah, man with no name. But he comes, and he boldly delivers his message of rebuke to jeroboam.

Then as you read in the story, jeroboam then wants to kind of buy him off. This man is--this prophet has humiliated him in front of all his people, made his arm like a piece of wood and given it back again. But jeroboam obviously thinks, "if I can buy him off, then he will be beholding to me. And perhaps, you know, I can cause him to compromise his mission, because I don't want him going back down south and then coming back again and making an example of me again before all the people here." So he tries to do this. But the man of God, he will have nothing to do with it.

It says in 1 Kings 13:8-9, it says, "and the man of God said unto the King, if thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place: so was it charged me by the word of the Lord, saying, eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn away by the same way that thou camest." Said, "I can't do it, won't." So we have to--we have to commend the man of God here for his courage, and his uncompromising stand for what was right. However, here's where it kind of gets a little bit convoluted and finally even deadly. There's a little change takes place here in the story. I'm moving on to Wednesday, "tempting lies." And this section is in 1 Kings 13:11-19. We're not going to read that, 'cause we have to move on.

But that's where we find it, "tempting lies." So he does what he does, but then another prophet comes into the picture. And there are some things that happen here that don't necessarily make a lot of sense. Not so much based upon the information the Bible gives, but the information the Bible doesn't give. And I'm sure when we get to heaven, it will make perfect sense. Or if we ask God, "Lord, that other prophet, I just can't--never did figure that out.

" Well there's an explanation, and right now we just have to accept it on faith about how this prophet could lie on one--anyway, let's get back to the story here. Anyway, so that prophet from judah, he works this miracle. And there are some young men there whose daddy is also a prophet. And they go home and they tell their dad--we'll call this prophet number two now, 'cause he doesn't have a name either. So they go home and tell their dad who is a prophet about what happened.

They'd witnessed the events, this interchange between jeroboam and this prophet without a name. And they say, "well and father, you should have just seen this. He comes and he rebukes the King. And the King's arm turns to wood. And then the altar breaks and the ashes pour out and then this prophet heals the King and tells him that there's josiah, a king called josiah who is going to come.

" So their dad, who is a prophet says, "I got to see him." So he saddles the ass, gets the boys to saddle the ass, long story short, he's riding after to find the prophet who's heading back to judah. And he finds him. 1 Kings 13:4, "and he went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak: and he said unto him, art thou the man of God that camest from judah? And he said, I am." Now begins a conversation that should never have taken place. Now begins the undoing of the man of God from judah which should not have resulted in his undoing. But we find the man of God who was directed to go straight back to where he came from.

We find him dilly-dallying around. He lingers to sit under a tree, which is beside the path that God has prescribed, and it's not on the path that God has prescribed for him. When we get off the path, and if we just sit under a tree beside the path, we think we're close enough to the path that, "I'm doing okay." You're not on the path, so don't fool yourself. You placed yourself on dangerous territory. Prophets can't be careless, neither can we.

So he's sitting under a tree beside the path. And prophet number two comes and he invites him home to have some food, but prophet number one repeats the instructions as he said to the King, he said, "can't come and eat anything. Can't come and drink anything. God's given me my orders, and here I am and I will not, I cannot. But he's already sitting where he shouldn't be.

And so the other prophet, the other prophet as a consequence of his light, of his loitering says something to him. A lie is spoken. Now we know that it was the serpent, the devil speaking through a serpent, that told a lie of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. But here's a lie, and the surprising thing is it's spoken by a fellow prophet. That's a bit--i don't know if any of us have gotten that figured out.

We'll have to--if you have the answer, let me know, 'cause I don't claim to have all the answers. But nonetheless now, prophet number two invites him to come and eat. Again, he declines. But this is what prophet number two says in verse 18, he says, "an angel spake unto me by the word of the Lord saying, 'bring him back with thee into thine house that he may eat bread and drink water." And then it says, "but he lied." Anyway, long story short, prophet number one from judah, without a name changes his mind. He accepts the invitation of prophet number two and he goes home to eat with him.

And so they're eating and then lo and behold, prophet number two stands up and says, "ah-ha! Thus saith the Lord." And he pronounces a message of doom upon him for not doing as God had told him to do. Short space of time, the other prophet leaves, and what happens? The lion meets him, and that's it. He's killed. Well, can we learn anything from this? What lessons can we draw if any? Well, the lesson, lesson book, quite correctly draws the issue of the lesson of progressive Revelations. It's a good one that comes immediately to mind.

Anybody who comes to you with something from the Lord, whatever they say should not contradict that which has gone before, right? If they speak not according to tHis Word it's because there is no light in them. Now there are broad applications we can draw from this, especially as we consider the final clash coming up between the seal of God and the Mark of the beast, because there's going to be a lot of false prophets, beings saying all kinds of-- "thus saith the Lord," "thus saith the Lord," "thus saith the Lord." You see. And there's going to be this onslaught, this aggressive onslaught of the Spirits of the devils working miracles to propagate a false Gospel. And unless you and I are grounded in what has gone and been written before as a solid ground to stand upon, we won't stand a chance. We won't stand a chance.

But sadly there's going to be many people who are going to succumb to all the new light and all the messages of all the prophets which come out of the mouths of demons. They're going to be led astray, when the Word of God is still there and glaringly contradicts these truths, these so-called truths in these messages that come from counterfeit servants of God. You might think it's incredulous. How could people do that? But on the Word of God it tells us, it's going to happen. Our main thing is let us not be there among them.

In "Great Controversy" there's a statement that goes kind of something like, I forgot the exact wording, "in God's Word we are given all the way Marks, and we ought not to guess at anything." And we shouldn't do anything. And if there's one of the things this prophet number two certainly did, he was presumptuous. He was presumptuous. I don't think for a minute he set out to be deliberately evil. But he took this man's word because he was another prophet.

There's nothing tells us there that he said, "well, brother just a minute. Let me just go and pray about this." God had told him what to do. But it seems he became just a little bit, had just a little bit of a presumptuous attitude, which in turn developed into a little bit of compromise, which in turn led to violation of God's command, which in turn led to his ultimate destruction. There are consequences. And we may be tempted to think, "you know, wasn't God a little hard on this man?" Listen, God is God.

God has a right to be God. Our judgment is imperfect at the best of times. And when God sees fit enough to tell somebody to do something, when God tells us something to do something, it's not for us to sit in judgment in that and think, "well maybe I can." Maybe it's optional. If it's important enough for God to say it, it's important enough for us to listen and important enough for us to do it. And if you want to parlay with God, then you might as well just go sit under an oak tree somewhere and bye and bye you hear the clip-clop, clip-clop of the devil on his donkey, bringing the deception tailored just for you with your unbelieving mind and your stubborn heart.

God says it, whether you think it's a big directive or a small one, do it. And the reason why is God just does not give these directives because it's a way of fulfilling his will and glorifying his name. God gives the directive just as much for our own safety. You know, let us--it doesn't say this, and I'm not saying I'm incorrect in saying this, but you know, God has foreknowledge. Maybe one of the reasons why God told him to go out of there and get straight home, God could see a lion would come along the path if he lingered.

And it was for his own safety. God said, "get out of here!" And he lingered, along comes the lion. We cannot afford to take detours. You know, I would like gladly continue but our time is about gone here. So we're going to have to conclude this morning.

But I would encourage you to read 2 Kings 23. And you'll see there just how bad it got in Israel, but just how righteous josiah was when he got rid of all these abominations. And again, our only safety, friends, is doing what God tells us to do. Christ in the heart, that is the miracle that we need. And that is the one that will keep us on a safe and a sure path 'til he comes.

Our offer today is offer number 774, "compromise, conformity and courage." It's free offer if you call Amazing Facts at 1-866-study-more, 1-866-study-more. They will send this to you.

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