In chapter 13 of 1 Kings a prophet, a man of God, is sent to King Jeroboam in Bethel, to deliver a message of future doom for his reign as King. God gave explicit directions on how the prophet would carry out and deliver the message. “He was commanded by the word of the Lord; “You must not eat bread or drink water or return by the way you came.” Having delivered the message as instructed he now leaves the city via a different route, than which he came. So far so good… ahh, but wait. Along the way the man stopped to sit under an oak tree. An old prophet from the town, having heard all which took place between the man and King Jeroboam, now seeks to find the man of God. Spying the man of God sitting under a tree, the old prophet asks, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?” “I am”, he replied. “Come home with me and eat.” said the old prophet. “I cannot turn back and go with you, nor can I eat bread or drink water with you in this place. 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.’ ” The old prophet replied, “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). The man of God went back with the old prophet to his home and ate and drank.
How many times have I known what God called me to do through prayer or His Word? How many times have I known, yet, let other things draw me away. Wouldn’t God have told the man of God of his change in plans? Yet, he does not inquire of God. He believes the old prophet and listens to the wrong voice. Perhaps the man of God is tired, and hungry; in a vulnerable position as he sits under the tree. Being unaware of his vulnerability he succumbs to the old prophets temptation.
The man of God had accomplished what God had called him to do. He had delivered his message, he had not eaten or drank and was returning via a different way. Here’s the wow… the task was not complete. He had not arrived back at his starting point; home. How many times after the initial victory do we say ahhh it’s done, when the task is not completely finished?
Is it possible the outcome could’ve been different? Had the man of God not stopped to rest under the oak tree, if he’d been advancing forward to the final destination as God directed, the old prophet might not have found him. Or, he might have met the man of God well fed, his thirst quenched, at home safe and secure in the knowledge he had completed his task successfully.
Many times, just like the man of God, I get the first part of a calling by God accomplished; then I take a slight detour (I rest under a tree). I allow temptations to distract me. I listen to wrong voices. Before I realize it, I’m on the wrong path with the instructions of the Lord a faint memory.
Is there something in your life God has instructed, or is calling you too do? Are you working towards its completion or sitting under a tree? Are you listening to the wrong voices? In the story above, the man of God paid for his disobedience with his life. Jesus ushered in a new era. Therefore we have forgiveness, grace and 2nd chances if we confess our sin (yes it’s sin) and then choose to get back on track.
Personally, I’ve had to confess my getting off track. God has forgiven my disobedience. The question is, “Has my opportunity to accomplish what He called me too no longer an option”? I pray it’s not too late. Don’t let it be too late in your life. Get back on track. The continuing journey is only a prayer away.
Until next time