The Old Prophet vs the Man of God
Christians, most of us that on fire for God talk a lot, and I mean a lot! Why wouldn't we? We know the living God, we have the Holy Spirit warming our hearts with incomprehensible joy and peace, and we have personal experiences of God's amazing love. The truth is, we just have a lot to say.. and this is the problem.
The problem starts very innocent, a testimony is shared, a personal word from God is talked about, then it happens. The person sharing starts giving personal convictions and commandments the Holy Spirit only gave that individual, but when the people listening try to comprehend it they end up trying to convince the speaker out of their conviction. They say things like, "oh you don't have to do that, it's not a sin" or "oh no brother, you're doing too much it doesn't take all that!"
Nearly every time I've witnessed this scenario play out I see the words and convictions of the Holy Spirit get challenged by carnal interpretations. Romans 14 teaches us to never offend a weaker brother or sister in the faith, even if it means not eating meat around them if they believe it is a sin to eat meat! Romans 14:2-3 " For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him." We need to pay close attention to the last part of the following verse; Romans 14:23 "And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin."
"Whatsoever is not of faith is sin." This is the note hearts need to be tuned to when hearing the words and experiences our brothers and sisters share. Often times the listeners in this scenario come against the person who is sharing because they carry a belief system that tells them, "if God told them that, then I have to do that as well". And yes, there are times the specific words of the Holy Spirit apply to everyone in Christ, but it's often when this isn't the case. Regardless of the reason, we can't forget that if the person sharing is correct and the word is from the Holy Spirit, you'd be trying to make someone rebel against the Holy Spirit, and this is witchcraft, 1 Samuel 15:23 "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king."
But all this could have been avoided if the speaker didn't tell on themself! Keep in mind, I'm talking about personal convictions. The general sanctification and holiness that the word of God calls all mankind to is not what I'm referring to. More specifically, the convictions and sanctification the Holy Spirit leads an individual to when God begins to separate them like a Nazarite.
The Man of God & The Old Prophet
In 1 Kings 13, there was a man of God sent by the Lord to prophesy against Jeroboam because he caused Israel to worship other gods through a religion he created (1 Kings 12:28). Jeroboam also made people priests who weren't Levites (1 Kings 12:31). Jeroboam tried to stop the man of God by placing his hand on him, only to have it wither away and dry up. This event changed Jeroboam's tune and caused him to plead with the man of God to pray for his hand. After the man of God complied, Jeroboam's hand was restored and Jeroboam invited the man of God to his house to refresh himself... this is where the problem starts.
The man of God responds to Jeroboam's invitation with, 1 Kings 13:8-9 " 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: 9 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."
After this, the man of God obeys the word from the Lord and goes home another way, but the sons of an old prophet in the area leave to tell their father everything the man of God said to king Jeroboam. Shortly after the man of God's journey, the old prophet meets him and temps him to disobey God's word and says,1 Kings 13:18 "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." The man of God falls to the temptation, eats, then is killed by a lion.
Beware the leaven
God was speaking literally and spiritually when He gave the man of God his commandments. The spiritual meaning to the commandment against eating bread is referring to not receiving/ believing anyone else’s words/ doctrine. Job 12:11 Compares the ear hearing words to a tongue tasting food, God’s commandment was referring to not believing the words of any other that are in conflict with His. Jesus even referred to doctrine as "leaven" when warning the first disciples not to "consume" the teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees. This is why we are called to test the spirits with the truth, 1 John 4:1.
The man of God in 1 Kings 13:18 believed the conflicting word the old prophet spoke. The man of God resisted the "bread" of man two times, first with king Jereboam, and the second was the old prophet (at first), 1 Kings 13:16. It was the second attempt the old prophet made that caused the man of God to fall to the temptation. The only difference was the alleged source of the "new word", 1 Kings 13:18 "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." This is why we can't believe words, on matter the source if they are in conflict with God's word, 1 John 4:3 "And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world."
And even though in the story of the man of God and the old prophet, the old prophet lied, it's important to know that every spiritual encounter isn't always from God. Angels can lie and present themselves as God's angels, 2 Corinthians 11:14 "And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." This is why we have the Bible and the Holy Spirit to discern the truth from lies. If only the man of God trusted God's word and didn't get swept away with the flash of angelic encounters, he would have made it home! Many false religions are birthed from fallen angels encountering biblically ignorant people to "add/ change" the word of God, this is how the Mormons came to be! This applies to even demonic revelation, this is how the black Hebrew Israelites were formed!
Beware the fountain
The commandment to not drink water is referring to us not coming under another spirit. 2 Corinthians 11:4 "For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him." This verse makes it abundantly clear, it's possible to receive another spirit (for those who think Christians can't receive demonic spirits. 2 Corinthians is written to the Church, which is full of Christians filled with the Holy Spirit!) , and not every person preaching "Jesus" is the true Christ.
When you tie together the two commandments the Lord gave the man of God, we get a clear understanding of 1 Timothy 4:1 "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;" Doctrines of devils impart devils into those that believe it, the bread is the word of doctrine, and the water represents the unclean spirits that get received.
Going back another way
The final commandment of “nor turn again by the same way that thou camest.” Has a few meanings, first is protection. The word tells us our enemy the Devil is prowling around like a lion looking to devour his next prey, 1 Peter 5:8. Ephesians 6 talks about our spiritual armor and tells us our faith is a literal shield in the spirit, Ephesians 6:16. When God sent out the man of God on the mission, his steps on the way are steps in obedience and faith. His commandment to come back another way covers his return home in faith. God's word gave the man of God a safe passage to his assignment and back home, it took faith to obey God's commandment. As long as he was walking in faith, the man of God was protected.
Spiritual meaning of shoes in the bible
This commandment has another hidden meaning. But before we can reveal it, we need a deeper understanding of shoes and paths. In Ruth 4, Boaz purchased Naomi's land from her cousin and to confirm the agreement they exchanged shoes. Verse 7 describes this exchange "...this was a testimony in Israel." in the same way our shoes in the armor of God represent the preparation of the gospel of peace, shoes represent the confirmation of a testimony.
As the Lord gave the man of God the assignment, his first path was to deliver the word to the king but the path to return back home was not supposed to be revealed. He was not supposed to reveal to anyone his personal commandments from the Lord! After the man of God released the word of God for the king and included his personal commandment, everyone heard him say this including the enemy! What the kingdom of darkness heard was "I'm covered by God's protection as long as I step in obedience, and if I fail to keep any one of these three commandments I'll lose it!" You better believe the enemy heard that!
The sons of the old prophet went and told their dad everything the man of God said. Just like his journey back home was covered in faith as he went another way, if the man of God kept his personal commandments to himself he would have never been tempted to fall!
We can't do the enemy's job for them! This is no different that Samson willingly sleeping with a harlot who kept tempting him to give up his weakness. Don't play with fire, and certainly don't pour gasoline on yourself before you light a match!
The specific and personal commandments are not supposed to be shared, least of all fasting. This is because Jesus directly tells us to do fastings in secret, Matthew 6:17-18. Only release the word God is telling you to release and keep the rest to yourself. Sharing the testimony of God's power is fine after the fact, just be cautious of the details. Proverbs 29:11 "A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards." When you blurt everything out you end up giving the enemy everything they need to destroy you through temptations.
A few quick examples:
Has God told you to wake up at a certain time each day? Sharing this only gives the enemy an exact time to send the heaviest oppression, tempting you to snooze into disobedience.
Are you in a marriage where faithfulness has fallen in the past? Testifying to the opposite gender of your spouse isn't a good idea, the enemy often plants "ideas" in the minds of those closest.
Are you currently struggling with a specific sin? Keep it between you and God, and if you really feel the need to share, only share with someone who's truly overcome this area by the power of the Spirit.
I pray this blog has been a blessing! If you're struggling with a repetitive sin, I encourage you to read the following blog!