There are some disturbing stories in the Bible. One that disturbed me is in 1 Kings 13 where a prophet of God is sent to prophesy to the king, then go directly home without eating. The disturbing part is where a false prophet lies to him, claiming, "An angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying, 'Bring him back with you into your house so that he may eat bread and drink water.' But he had lied to him" (1 Kings 13:18b). The true prophet listens to him, and then, as punishment, is eaten by a lion.
How is that fair? Why wasn't the liar punished?
It was years later when I found myself in the prophet's shoes. Someone I trusted lied to me—not just any lie, but an overt lie with the intent to harm. I was gutted.
A very wise person explained, "Angela, if you'd been honest with yourself, you would have known this person was a liar all along."
I should have known. But I wanted to believe what the liar said to me. Like the prophet, I wanted to live a more comfortable life. And rather than listen to the truth of God's words, I justified my decision based on someone else's words. I was lying to myself.
Perhaps God told the prophet to go directly home because he knew where the lion was going to be. Perhaps God's command was motivated by a need to protect the child he loved. His commands would have protected me.
When I look closer at this story, when I seek out the deeper meaning, there are two clear messages.
- I need a personal relationship with my Savior. Everything I am taught and told needs to be weighed against Scripture. Every decision I make first needs to be directed by Christ, because He knows and wants what is best for me.
- The punishment of others is not my business. Life may seem unfair sometimes. The overt liar may get what he or she wanted in the moment. It's my job to trust God's judgment, even when it doesn't make sense. Jesus made that very clear to Peter in John 21:22 (NLT): "As for you, follow me."
Is there anything you are pretending not to know today? Any lies you are listening to that could cause you harm in the end?
If you can't pinpoint any lies, I encourage you to study Scripture and pay special attention to the passages that particularly offend you. In the same way the story of the prophet and the lion bothered me, the stories that bother you could very well be related to a lie you are choosing to believe.
Angela Ruth Strong is a Christian romance writer who writes not only about a man and woman falling in love but more importantly about women finding out how loved they already are. She's won the Cascade Award for her novels and also had a couple optioned for film. To help other aspiring authors, she started IDAhope Writers in her home state of Idaho. When not writing, she's adventuring with her husband and teenagers, teaching group fitness classes and working her day job at an airline. She believes in the power of story and would love to hear yours. Feel free to visit or write her at angelaruthstrong.com and join her Facebook fan page for fantastic fun at facebook.com/
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