Leila Harris

Leila Harris

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Why do people lie, if not for their own gain?

In the Old Testament, we have the story of a man of God who received direct instructions from the Lord about going to Bethel to prophesy, not eating or drinking anything while there, and then leaving the town and going back home by a different route from which he came. These were pretty simple and straightforward instructions.

The reason this man of God from Judah was sent to Bethel is because Jeroboam built two worship centers with golden calves (one in Dan and the other in Bethel) and burned incense and sacrificed to it, leading the people astray. He had built the calves so that the people would not return to God and follow Rehoboam (the king of Judah) and come back and kill him. He made priests out of the lowest of people, those not of the Levitical priesthood. This went against the commandments of God. “And this thing became a sin.” (I Kings 12:30, KJV).

The man of God from Judah came into the worship center at Bethel just as Jeroboam was getting ready to burn incense at the altar. “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. And he gave a sign the same day, saying, 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.“ (I Kings 13:2-3). Jeroboam was angered with these words from the Lord’s prophet, so he stretched out his hand and demanded that the other priests grab hold of the prophet. His hand dried up and he could not pull it back to him. The altar was indeed rent, and the ashes were poured out, just as the prophet had said. King Jeroboam pleaded with the man of God to pray for him and restore his hand. The man of God did so, and the king’s hand was restored. The king wanted to thank the man of God, so he invited him to come home with him for a fine meal and a reward. “And the man of God said unto the king, If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place: For so was it charged me by the word of the Lord, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest.” (I Kings 13:8-9). Then the man of God went back a different way from Bethel toward home. He stopped to rest under an oak tree. While he was there, a prophet from Bethel came up to him on a donkey and invited him to come home and eat with him. The man of God refused and told him why. Well, the prophet from Bethel had his own plans, “He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and 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. But he lied unto him. So he went back with him, and did eat bread in his house, and drank water. “ (I Kings 13:18-19). As they were eating, the prophet from Bethel said to the man of God from Judah that he had disobeyed his direct orders from God and he would die and not be buried with his own family. The man of God from Judah left and was killed by a lion in the roadway. The lying prophet from Bethel went and retrieved his body and buried it in his own sepulchre and gave instructions that when he died, his sons were to place his body with the bones of the man of God from Judah.

The moral of the story is that when we know God has given us instructions on what to do, we are to obey Him and not be led astray by liars. God knew that the prophet from Bethel would try to entice His servant away from His orders, to serve his own evil plans and to make himself look good. He was one of the lowly and unworthy — appointed to the priesthood by a mere earthly king rather than God Almighty. This was the reason for the instructions about not eating until he returned home. We may not always (and rarely do) understand why we are given certain instructions from the Lord. We must, however, always remember that God knows the future and we don’t. Therefore, if we obey Him completely, we will not stray as the man of God from Judah did, and be taken in by the Devil’s wiles of liars.

When you take a question to God and He gives you a clear answer; do not let the greed and wiles of others make you sin against God.

This article originally ran on ashepostandtimes.com.

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