Our family has been reading through the Bible, about a chapter a day. My husband reads it aloud after breakfast to our squirmy crew. We’ve recently finished 1 Kings and have had the fun of trying to explain some of the seemingly crazy prophet stories in there to our children.
I was thinking about these again tonight as I read about the sons of Jonadab in Jeremiah 35. God tells his prophet, Jeremiah, to go to the sons of Jonadab and give them wine. He does and he tells them to drink it. They refuse because their father had commanded them to never drink wine. They disobeyed the prophet, but obeyed their father (and God’s command to honor your father). They were commended by the Lord and blessed because of their obedience.
This reminded me of the story from 1 Kings 13 where the Lord commands a prophet to not eat or drink water in the place where he was sent. He obeys, at first. But then another prophet comes and tells him that “an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying ‘Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.'” (vs. 18) So the prophet listens to him and eats and drinks water. Because he had disobeyed the Lord’s command to him, he was killed by a lion on his way home.
One obeyed the prophet of the Lord but disobeyed God’s command and was killed. One obeyed God’s command but disobeyed the prophet and was blessed.
There is no substitute for knowing the Lord’s voice and obeying it. It doesn’t matter what any teacher says or any other person who claims to be God’s spokesperson. It doesn’t matter how right they make it sound. It only matters what God says–his clear commands in Scriptures and the things you know He has personally taught you and convicted you about by His Spirit. These are the things you need to follow and cling to as truth.
Remember, in these two examples the prophets were truly prophets of God. They had been confirmed as God’s prophets. The word of the Lord had been known to come to them. But it didn’t matter. Only God’s word mattered.
God’s prophets have a tremendous job in the church. I’m not saying we should ignore prophets or muzzle them. I’m just showing the importance of knowing God’s word for ourselves and obeying it. We can’t follow others. We need to follow Christ alone.