SEER

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false-prophet

FORTUNE TELLER

Young Elihu has been railing against Job for a while.  Now he would read Job’s mind, and challenge his motives.  When our friends venture inside our thoughts they are attempting to claim prophesy, which can be dangerous.

Elihu spake moreover, and said,  Thinkest thou this to be right, that thou saidst, My righteousness is more than God’s?  For thou saidst, What advantage will it be unto thee? and, What profit shall I have, if I be cleansed from my sin?  I will answer thee, and thy companions with thee.  Look unto the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds which are higher than thou.  Job 35:1-5

So Elihu suggests that Job considers himself more moral than God.  He further (falsely) claims that Job has rejected correction from sin.

If thou sinnest, what doest thou against him? or if thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto him?  If thou be righteous, what givest thou him? or what receiveth he of thine hand?  Thy wickedness may hurt a man as thou art; and thy righteousness may profit the son of man.  By reason of the multitude of oppressions they make the oppressed to cry: they cry out by reason of the arm of the mighty  Job 35:6-9

If you sin or obey how does it hurt or help God?  Elihu accuses Job of causing harm to others, which he has not done.  Job already searched his heart for the sin that his friends assume that he must have.

But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night;  Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven?  There they cry, but none giveth answer, because of the pride of evil men.  Surely God will not hear vanity, neither will the Almighty regard it.  Although thou sayest thou shalt not see him, yet judgment is before him; therefore trust thou in him.  Job 35:10-14

Elihu says that God doesn’t answer because of the evil in Job’s heart.  He tells Job to trust God, even while he is taking God’s judgment role on himself.

But now, because it is not so, he hath visited in his anger; yet he knoweth it not in great extremity: Therefore doth Job open his mouth in vain; he multiplieth words without knowledge.  Job 35:15-16

Now Elihu says that because Job does not trust God he is talking foolishness.  Have you ever endured a sermon like this?  You know where you are with God, and it is tiring to hear a rant about a sin that is not part of your life.  There are times when God can give a target for prayer, but it should not sound like the lying rant of Elihu.  A false prophet is a curse to the church.

Warnings about sin that is in your life leaves you a time and place to repent.  Some warnings may be a premonition of bad things like a death or other hurt.  But those at least offer you knowledge that God joined you for your comfort and let you know that you are not alone.  A bad message from a good messenger offers you the courage of God walking with you in your trial.  A bad message from a bad messenger is marked by disobedience and evident sin.

I remember when two televangelists began exchanging accusations of sin on their television shows.  They both appeared on television with their lawyers, and that is why I knew that they were both guilty.  As a baby Christian I had read the instructions that tell us not to take a brother to court:

Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?  Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?  Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?  If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.  I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?  But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.  Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. 1 Corinthians 6: 1-7

If either of these “leaders” were obedient to Christ, they would not need a lawyer to protect their interests.  In fact they would be working to restore the fallen brother quietly out of the public eye if possible.  I left following these fools immediately, and I was not surprised to see them both fall in disgrace.  You need not be a giant of theology to discern sin.

So the public ridicule of Job has all the earmarks of a lynch mob, not a godly comforting.  Elihu is not done yet, but he will begin to show signs of his pending failure soon.

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NON-PROPHET

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Stay ON the road!

THE STRAIGHT AND NARROW WAY…ONLY

God’s ways are mysterious but our way is to be clearly understood.  We must go God’s way, not the way of man.  One prophet comes to an altar to declare God’s word boldly in the presence of the king himself.

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.  1 Kings 13:1-5

The king got the warning, and was offended enough to try to stop him.  But God had another message for the king; not to harm a man of God.  The king had reason to respect the power of God manifesting at this scene now.  He had a bit of respect now.

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.  1 Kings 13:6-10

Before the king the man was courageous to resist temptation.  God gave him instructions, and he was carrying them out.  So he returned to his own home town.

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.  1 Kings 13:11-14

OK, a prophet hears about another prophet who delivered a bold message to the king.  Cause for some curiosity?  He wants to socialize a bit perhaps, so he offers an invitation.

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.  1 Kings 13:15-19

A prophet who is a liar?  You don’t think so?  Was not Saul one of the prophets?  For a season he prophesied, and he lied.  He also turned to a witch because his prophetic gift was gone.  So we can not trust a prophet to be any more than flesh.  Oh but the word of God can come back to them though.

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.  1 Kings 13:20-25

The old prophet already knew the story, and claims the body.

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.  And he spake to his sons, saying, Saddle me the ass. And they saddled him.  And he went and found his carcase cast in the way, and the ass and the lion standing by the carcase: the lion had not eaten the carcase, nor torn the ass.  And the prophet took up the carcase of the man of God, and laid it upon the ass, and brought it back: and the old prophet came to the city, to mourn and to bury him.  And he laid his carcase in his own grave; and they mourned over him, saying, Alas, my brother!  1 Kings 13:26-30

Is this getting weird yet?  Wait; the worst is still coming.

And it came to pass, after he had buried him, that he spake to his sons, saying, When I am dead, then bury me in the sepulchre wherein the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones:  For the saying which he cried by the word of the LORD against the altar in Bethel, and against all the houses of the high places which are in the cities of Samaria, shall surely come to pass.  After this thing Jeroboam returned not from his evil way, but made again of the lowest of the people priests of the high places: whosoever would, he consecrated him, and he became one of the priests of the high places.  And this thing became sin unto the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth.  1 Kings 13:31-34

The old prophet asks to share the same grave after he caused the young man to fall.  Is he expecting some righteousness to rub off on him?  I hope I rise to the resurrection from beside my late wife.  I sure don’t want to find this guy in bed with me! 

With men of God like this perhaps it made little difference that Jeroboam made priests of the low-lifes in town.  Could they be any worse?  Government is not equipped to protect our souls.