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7 Lessons on Hearing the Spirit from 1 Kings 13

Several weeks ago we had a visiting speaker at church who spoke on Hearing the Spirit. I understand that he spoke from 1 Kings 13 but I didn’t hear any of the talk as I was teaching the children at the same time.

The talk was not recorded and all I had was the questions that he gave us to use to discuss them. When we discussed them at our house I did hear some of the points but a lot of the time I was putting my daughter to bed.

But I thought it would be good to grapple with the passage using the questions and see if I could make some sense of it myself. These seven lessons is what I came up with:

1. To hear is to obey

Israelite altar at Beer-Sheva A man of God comes from Judah to Bethel and prophecies to the alter in front of King Jeroboam that a later king called Josiah will sacrifice the priests of the false gods on that alter.

Though the king heard what the man of God said he didn’t like it as it reminded him that Yahweh did not approve of the way he was leading the nation to worship other God’s. The way to really hear this would be for him to sacrifice the priests not wait until a later king did it. But he would not.

2. God speaks to people even when he speaks to something else

Prophesying to an object is a literary device that is sometimes used by prophets.
Though the prophet spoke to the alter God was really speaking to the humans – the pinnacle of his creation – who he knew would hear the words.

Later in the story God uses animals but his purposes are towards the people in the story as people are made in God’s image.

3. Be quick to listen and slow to speak

The King was slow to listen – he heard but did not obey – but like many extraverts today he was quick to speak. First he said “Seize him”. God punished his attack on his prophet by shrivelling his hand. He then asked for God to heal his hand and then offered hospitality and a gift as a thank you or payment for the healing.

The man of God had obviously meditated on what God was saying and knew that to receive hospitality did not fit in with God’s plan no matter how tempting. He did not act on a whim and may have found it hard to speak up and refuse the King but nevertheless he did refuse.

4. Discern the Spirit’s voice from that of others

An old prophet from Bethel then lies to him saying that an angel has visited him and asked him to offer hospitality to the man of God.

There are many who claim to be speaking God word in some way or other today – whether in prophecy or teaching. It is important to discern who is really speaking the truth – using both our minds and our spirits. Often there is mixture that we need to sift and sometimes they may actually be lying – claiming divine revelation or encounters with angels – as this old prophet did here.

5. Misrepresenting God may have consequences for those you lead astray

The man of God accepts. But then God speaks to the old prophet that the man of God will be judged for disobeying what he knew God had told him. The man of God leaves and is killed by a lion.

The danger of misrepresenting God is that people may be gullible and believe you. God will hold them accountable if deep down they know that those words are not in accord with God has spoken yet they still comply and do what you say.

6. A prophet may not always be honoured

God called the man of God from Judah to speak in Bethel – where people would not be over familiar with him. He was deceived and fell in Judah and did not receive honour in his own town by being buried with his ancestors but finally he was honoured in Bethel by the old prophet who gave him his own tomb.

7. Three distractions from hearing the Spirit

In the parable of the sower Jesus highlighted three distractions from hearing God that we can also see in this story:

a. Difficulties

The man of God appeared in some senses like the good soil but perhaps words are not rooted well enough and the difficulty of hunger meant that he fell for the old prophets lies.

b. Lack of understanding

His lack of understanding appears to have allowed the old prophet to act out of false motives but perhaps he was like the good soil in the end as he did honour the man of God.

c. Riches

The king though was clearly in bondage to riches and cares of this world. A trap that the man of God rejected when offered the gift by the king.

I really don’t know if this bears much resemblance to the original sermon but I trust that you found it interesting and edifying anyway.

Hey Andrew, what do you think?

August 6, 2013 at 6:00 pm
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