1 Kings 13:7-22-“The king said to the man of God, “Come home with me for a meal, and I will give you a gift.” But the man of God answered the king, “Even if you were to give me half your possessions, I would not go with you, nor would I eat bread or drink water here. For I was commanded by the word of the Lord: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water or return by the way you came.’ ” So he took another road and did not return by the way he had come to Bethel. Now there was a certain old prophet living in Bethel, whose sons came and told him all that the man of God had done there that day. They also told their father what he had said to the king. Their father asked them, “Which way did he go?” And his sons showed him which road the man of God from Judah had taken. So he said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” And when they had saddled the donkey for him, he mounted it and rode after the man of God. He found him sitting under an oak tree and asked, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?” “I am,” he replied. So the prophet said to him, “Come home with me and eat.” The man of God said, “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 answered, “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 to him.) So the man of God returned with him and ate and drank in his house. While they were sitting at the table, the word of the Lord came to the old prophet who had brought him back. He cried out to the man of God who had come from Judah, “This is what the Lord says: ‘You have defied the word of the Lord and have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. You came back and ate bread and drank water in the place where he told you not to eat or drink. Therefore your body will not be buried in the tomb of your ancestors.’
Luke 10:1-4 “After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of Him to every town and place where He was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field. Go! I Am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.”
While the Holy Spirit was giving me this lesson as I sat in my bedroom, I kept hearing a knocking against the outside wall. At first I just stopped reading and listened, then after a few seconds I got up to see. Haha I had an object lesson. I allowed a unfamiliar sound to take my focus away from what I was doing. We both chuckled at what I had done, because as it turned out there was nothing to confirm the sound I heard.
The scriptures above shed light on what can happen when we allow distractions to take us off course. We are inquisitive people by nature. You can see that in an infant/toddler. We welcome that from toddlers because their senses have not yet been trained to distinguish between what is worth exploring or not. They have not yet mastered the ability to take directions. But as they mature we guide them in their ability to know what sounds to avoid as well as people, places and things. We do this because as adults we understand and have learned the lesson of distractions.
I found these words I wrote in the column of my Bible after reading Luke 10:4 “Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road. I wrote: “One second of distraction can take us off course and away from our destiny. One bad advice can ruin a vision or dream. Most accidents occur by one quick glance in the wrong direction. Distraction is an accident waiting to happen. “ I just looked away for a second” is the cry of many after being distracted. We, at some point in our lives have found these statements to be true.
Let’s examine the passage in 1 Kings 13. The man of God was given specific instructions to bring a very stern warning to King Jeroboam. The King was so angry he stretched out his hand to grab and do harm to the prophet, as soon as he stretched his hand out, it got stuck in that position lol. He asked the prophet to pray for his healing and he did, and God restored his hand. Well, the King was so glad to be whole he invited the prophet to supper and offered him goodies. Under strict orders from God, he refused. As he was going back home, however, he was met by a distraction. At first he refused the offer, but when he heard something familiar, (I’m also a prophet of God) he let his guard down and fell for a lie. It cost him his life. Distractions take on many forms, the worst of which is family or familial relationships. We have to train our spiritual senses to identify what is of God and what isn’t, especially if we have received a word from the Lord.
I experienced this a couple of years ago. The Lord gave me specific instructions for a transition He had me make. During that period of time, I was systematically pressured and challenged to do the opposite of what I was instructed. It created great tension and pressure. And standing my ground made things very unpleasant. But I obeyed God. Stayed when I wanted to leave, because I was not about to follow my flesh. At the right time, the Lord gave me His green light. Distractions will come, as the man of God learned, and sometimes even from spiritual leaders. You need to know what God has instructed you to do by His Spirit. Avoid asking others what they think about what God has told you. This will open the door to creating what we call “reasonable doubt.”
In Galatians 1, Paul warned the Believers to be careful of those who would distort the truth. He was so adamant, he repeated the warning: That even if he or an angel from heaven should preach a contrary gospel, that they who did such things would be devoted to destruction.
Jesus, when sending out the seventy, had a similar warning: Don’t greet anyone along the way. He understood that distraction from the assignment can ruin us. “Hello,”-though a simple greeting, will stop you from moving, it’s normally followed by, “where are you going?” “Why are you in such a hurry?” Next thing you know, you’re stopping to explain and precious time that cannot be regained is lost.
I enjoy watching Gomer Pyle on TV. He was the master of distraction, he always allowed his emotions to get in the way of his assignment. He could never pass up an opportunity to help some poor soul. The enemy wants us distracted from our purpose. We have an urgency right now to spread the gospel. That was the whole premise of Luke 10. Jesus didn’t have a problem greeting or stopping to meet or speak with people, He was the Master of compassion and spending quality time with people. But this assignment required that they not be distracted but remain focused on the task ahead. Because they followed the instructions, they came back rejoicing, with great reports of salvation, miracles, and powerful signs of deliverances. The man of God on the other hand lost his life, through disobedience brought about by deception. This was a hard lesson, and one we’d do well to heed. When God speaks, He already knows what the outcome will be. Total obedience should be our only response.
This is a very poignant lesson for us to learn. As Christians, we cannot give in to our emotions when God has given us an assignment. I’ve had to make some very hard decisions in my life to walk in obedience to Christ. I have no apologies. I don’t mind being ostracized for being obedient to my Lord. The benefits far outweighed what I gave up. We desire to please and be loved. But never let it be at the risk of disobeying the Lord. Whoever they are will get over it. Please God all the time, people some of the time. We are His and His alone, if indeed He is your Lord. Don’t water down, or compromise His Word. He watches over every word He has spoken to perform it. Jeremiah 1:12. Don’t love anyone more than you love Him. Be willing to give up or lose everything for Him. Luke 14:26
Take the time to read 1 Kings 13 in its entirety. Then prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit to help you remain focused on whatever assignment He’s called you to. Satan is a master at distraction. And he will stop at nothing to derail us, he will use ANYONE! Distraction of itself isn’t sin no more than temptation is sin. It’s what we allow either to do that produces sin, or even death. The Bible says, to follow instructions is better than sacrifice. 1 Kings 15:22.
Father in the Name of Jesus, Thank you for loving us so much that you allow examples as the one we read today to protect and warn us to be careful to avoid distractions. Help us to remain focused and vigilant in our obedience to you. Thank you for the Holy Spirit our constant Teacher and guide. As we learn to listen for and hear His voice we will walk victoriously in this life. Amen
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” 1 Peter 5:8-9 NIV
Written by permission of the Holy Spirit