One of the most confusing, weird, and controversial stories in the bible that I have encountered so far has been the story of the young and the old prophet from 1st Kings 13. To summarize the story, God sends a young prophet to deliver a word to the ruling king but not to stop or eat or drink or return the way he came. After he delivers the word he sets on his way but an old prophet chases after him and deceitfully persuades him to come home with him and eat. As soon as the young prophet finishes eating, the old prophet asks why he did not obey God and tells him he will die because of that and true to the word of the old prophet he is mauled by a lion on his way home.
For days, I have been meditating on that scripture asking what lessons can be learned from such a bizarre story and this morning a scripture crossed my mind,
By smooth words he will turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward the covenant, but the people who know their God will display strength and take action. Dan 11:32 NASB
This scripture, even though contextually was a prophecy about the future state of the Israelites has allowed me to think through this story a little bit more. The young prophet received a word from God not to eat or drink after he had delivered the message to the king. The king tried to convince him to stay for a meal but he refused but when the old prophet came and deceitfully told him God had said he should come home and eat, he relented and went with him. What went wrong? Did he no longer believe God had initially spoken to him? Was he motivated to disobey God’s word because he was afraid to offend the old prophet? I don’t know the answer to these questions but what I know is that there was a disconnect between what he spoke as truth and how he lived that truth in different circumstances of his life.
The scripture from the book of Daniel assures us that those that know their God will display strength in the midst of deceit, confusion, fear, mixed messages or flattery and will resist such influences. They will not only speak their truth which comes from the word of God but they will live that truth. With all the uncertainty surrounding the covid virus and its implications on global health and wealth, there are so many theories out there and frankly, some are scary. And yet God assures us that his promises for us will not fail because He cannot lie. He offers himself to us as an anchor of hope when it feels like we are being battered by the storms of life and that should be the TRUTH we SPEAK and LIVE.
So when God wanted to make the unchanging nature of His purpose very clear to the heirs of the promise, He guaranteed it with an oath. Thus by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be strongly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and steadfast. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus our forerunner has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever in the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 6: 17- 20 BSB
Regardless of the circumstances, we need to hold on steadfastly to the truth of God’s word and not be influenced by anything especially fear. Know that the God who has promised is a faithful God, rest in His promises, be strong and courageous and walk in the strength of the Lord. Jesus is praying and interceding for you.