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Faith Toward God (23)

In our last broadcast, we noted that the confusion surrounding many Christians who honestly believe that God cannot tell a lie, and yet do not do what He says, is due to doubt in their hearts as to whether it is really God speaking to them, or someone other than God. We noted that to deal with this issue, a Christian must not merely spend time reading the bible, but must also desire to know God and the Lord Jesus Christ personally. For, when you know God and His Christ personally, it will be difficult for anyone to deceive you with doctrines of devils, or even come to you camouflaged as God! We saw that Peters if it be thou phrase when asking to be commanded to walk on water, was a betrayal of his double-mindedness, as to whether or not it was Jesus whom he was addressing; and this, the devil capitalized on, to deceive him with the boisterous waves. We thus made some crucial conclusions, as follows:
1. Before you step out in faith toward God, be convinced in your heart that it is God you are responding to; not someone else! This is crucial because, even when God asks you to do something, there will be circumstances or situations that may question whether it was God you heard or someone masquerading as God, like the boisterousness of the waves, when Peter began to walk on water!
2. Until you are convinced that it is God speaking to you, stay where you are. You should, however, pray, until you receive an assurance in your spirit that it is God who is speaking to you. Then, act upon the word that God is saying to you, and do not yield to anything that is contrary to that word from God!
3. You must desire and seek to know God personally, in order to eliminate second-guesses. Knowing God has a price tag, and you must be willing and able to pay itit is not a monetary price tag, but a spiritual one which will require that you give up certain things. The Queen of Sheba paid, what in the natural can be compared in the spiritual, to the price we are talking about, so that she could hear the wisdom of King Solomonshe travelled in a caravan over land and sea, in peril of attacks from marauders; leaving behind her own kingdom in the hands of people, who could unseat her, travelling for weeks, if not months! And One far greater than Solomon has come, and we are content to sit in the pews on Sundays, listening to fables and the doctrines of demons, without making our own investigations from the Bible about what we are hearing? Brethren, we must be ready to, and actually pay the price for knowing God, and His Only Begotten Son, Jesus. The price to pay includes, personal bible study; attending bible teaching meetings, not just Sunday service; fasting to seek the meaning of certain revelations; regular personal and private prayer times; and daily meditation on the word of God.

Another thing we want to note about Peters double-mindedness, before we leave the subject, is that Peter may have questioned the fact that he was really walking on water. He may have said for example, Im I really walking on water? How is that possible? And in the process, his head began to play with his mind, and he began to sink. Whenever we try to figure out what is happening to us as a result of our doing the word of God; thus, allowing our heads to dictate to us that this should not be happening, we lose focus on God, and begin to doubt Him. To deal with doubt in this instance therefore, you must be willing to be a fool for God. Are you ready to go out on a limb with God? Are you convinced that God has spoken to you? Do you know how to distinguish between the voice of God and other voices? If your answer to all of these questions is a resounding Yes, then, my brother and my sister, stand on the word of God, regardless of what may be happening around you to the contrary. Remember, it is not the contrary situation that you see that you should be interested in; rather, it is God and His word that should be your focus! When you look at your circumstance or situation, you may discover that nothing has changed, even after God has spoken; so dont bother with the circumstance or situation, just focus on God and His word! Also, when God asks you to do something, and you are convinced that it is God Who is speaking with you, go ahead without hesitation to do what God has asked you to do, regardless of what anyone else may be saying, even if that person is someone you respect very much. For, as long as what God has asked you to do is consistent with His written word, as contained in the Bible, and with His nature, go forth and do as God has told you. Know this: God cannot contradict His written word; and everything that God says is consistent with His character! Sadly, it is not as easy to detect the introduction of doubt into our hearts when it is from an unsuspecting or well respected source, as we shall see in the story of a man of God, who was derailed in his walk with God: 1 Kings 13:1-26: And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the LORD unto Bethel: and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense. 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. And it came to pass, when king Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, which had cried against the altar in Bethel, that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him. And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him. The altar also was rent, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the LORD. And the king answered and said unto the man of God, Intreat now the face of the LORD thy God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again. And the man of God besought the LORD, and the king's hand was restored him again, and became as it was before. And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give thee 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. So he went another way, and returned not by the way that he came to Bethel. Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel; and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel: the words which he had spoken unto the king, them they told also to their father. And their father said unto them, What way went he? For his sons had seen what way the man of God went, which came from Judah. And he said unto his sons, Saddle me the ass. So they saddled him the ass: and he rode thereon, And went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak: and he said unto him, Art thou the man of God that camest from Judah? And he said, I am. Then he said unto him, Come home with me, and eat bread. And he said, I may not return with thee, nor go in with thee: neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place: For it was said to me by the word of the LORD, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that thou camest. 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. And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came unto the prophet that brought him back: And he cried unto the man of God that came from Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the LORD, and hast not kept the commandment which the LORD thy God commanded thee, But camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water in the place, of the which the LORD did say to thee, Eat no bread, and drink no water; thy carcase shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers. And it came to pass, after he had eaten bread, and after he had drunk, that he saddled for him the ass, to wit, for the prophet whom he had brought back. And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him: and his carcase was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by the carcase. And, behold, men passed by, and saw the carcase cast in the way, and the lion standing by the carcase: and they came and told it in the city where the old prophet dwelt. And when the prophet that brought him back from the way heard thereof, he said, It is the man of God, who was disobedient unto the word of the LORD: therefore the LORD hath delivered him unto the lion, which hath torn him, and slain him, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake unto him.

What a sad ending for this man of God! From this story, we see that God had sent this man of God to Bethel to prophesy against the altar where King Jeroboam and the ten tribes of Israel were engaging in idol worship, with specific instructions not to eat, neither drink, nor return to Judah by the same way he went to Bethel. And even though it was a challenging assignment, the man of God went and did as God had asked him to do. As a result of doing Gods word, King Jeroboam stretched forth his hand in command for the man of Gods arrest, but the stretched hand of the king dried up instantly, and the altar which the man of God had only just spoken against, broke! The king then pleaded with the man of God, who prayed to God and asked that the kings hand be restored, and God heard his prayer. As a result, the king invited the man of God to his palace to come and refresh himselfeat and drinkand receive a reward (something similar to the Ghana-must-go bags which political office holders are wont to give to men of God who come to give them prophecy, which in most cases are lies!). But the man of God boldly declared to the king, recounting what God had told himIf 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., and he went another way, leaving Bethel, to return to Judah. Meanwhile, there lived an old prophet in Bethel, whose children were at the shrine, possibly, as worshippers of Jeroboams golden calf. They returned home and told their father all that had happened. So, the old prophet saddled his ass, and went after the man of God, who was by this time taking a rest under an oak tree. When the old prophet got to the man of God, and invited him to his home, the man of God again declared what God had said to him about not eating, drinking, or returning by the same way (obviously, in telling the old prophet the story, his children included the man of Gods refusal to be hosted by the king). So, the old prophet being well informed about the man of Gods refusal of the kings invitation, pulled the, I am also a prophet line on the unsuspecting man of God, and even backed it with, an angel told me to tell you. Indeed, the bible states that the old prophet had lied to the man of God. Unfortunately, the man of God took the old prophet at his word and returned with himAfter all, he is also a prophet, the man of God must have thought to himself; he did not inquire of God! As they ate in the old prophets home, suddenly, the word of the LORD came forcefully upon the old prophet, who then prophesied of the demise of the man of God because of his disobedience to the word of God.

There are many lessons to learn here, but as it relates to the subject of doubt from unsuspecting sources, the following lessons will suffice:
1. When God asks you to do something, first be convinced about it, and keep on recounting or reciting it to yourself, so that whenever a contradicting statement or event rears its head, you will be sure to hold on to Gods word.
2. Because no one is greater than God, what God says should hold sway; not even what a spiritual juggernaut says should be considered over the word of God! I dont want those who are given to rebellion to jump on this statement and begin to act contrary to the word of God. Let it be clear that God spoke to you, and He will give the proof that He indeed spoke to you.
3. And if someone you respect tells you something that is to the contrary of what God had told you, and backs it up with God told me to tell you, make sure that you go back to God to verify that He indeed sent that individual to you.

Failure to heed these crucial precepts have turned many men of God out of the will of God and unto fables. The old prophet was used by the devil to confuse the man of God and he succeeded because the man of God did not suspect the old prophet. Beloved, doubt can be introduced into your heart even by the words of spiritual juggernauts, who may in fact be old prophets whom God no longer speaks to, being used by the devil! Beware!

Let us pray!