July 8, Wednesday

Editor’s Note:  The AMI devotionals from July 6-12 are provided by Cami King, who serves on the church staff of JCC, Raleigh.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

1 Kings 13:11-19

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. 12 Their father asked them, “Which way did he go?” And his sons showed him which road the man of God from Judah had taken. 13 So he said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” And when they had saddled the donkey for him, he mounted it 14 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. 15 So the prophet said to him, “Come home with me and eat.” 16 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. 17 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.’”18 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.) 19 So the man of God returned with him and ate and drank in his house.

8George Washington once said, “Associate yourself with men of good quality, if you esteem your own reputation; for ‘tis better to be alone than in bad company.” I wonder if he learned this from the Apostle Paul who warned the Corinthian church that, “bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Most of us can think of times when we foolishly or ignorantly listened to bad advice and of the calamity that ensued thereafter. In these moments, we quickly learn to be more selective about those from whom we receive counsel.

In our passage for today, the man of God (who, in his defense, had been doing a great job up to this point of following the Lord’s commands faithfully) takes some bad advice. A self-proclaimed prophet comes to him and lies, saying he’s received a word from the Lord that blatantly contradicted the word God had already spoken. The man of God listens and finds himself in trouble with God because of His disobedience. It may seem a bit like an unfair situation for the man of God. After all, how was he to know that the prophet was lying? It seems like an honest mistake.

Oftentimes in life, it is hard to tell the good advice from the bad. But there are a few clues that can usually help. In our story for today, the second prophet is living in an idolatrous land (where the king had erected idols to be worship in lieu of God). Most commentators say that this points to a compromise in the lifestyle of the prophet – for he remained among an idolatrous people. Furthermore, God had not chosen to use this second prophet to deliver His message (the reason why the man of God came to the land in the first place). Lastly, the prophet’s words were in direct contradiction to what the Lord had already said. All of these things should have been red flags for the man of God.

As we look at our own lives, we can learn much from this story. We must ask ourselves, “From whom am I receiving advice?” The character and life’s witness of a person deems him worthy to speak into our lives. We are always more likely to receive good advice from a person with life lived for God and a heart submitted to Him.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, please give me discernment as I listen to the advice of those around me. In every decision I make, give me a heart that is humble enough to hear from those walking faithfully with You as well as the conviction to resist the guidance of those speaking in contradiction to Your word.

Bible Reading for Today: Hosea 3

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Lunch Break Study

Psalm 1:1-3

Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.

Questions to Consider:

  1. Why do you think delighting in the law of the Lord helps us not to walk in the counsel of the wicked (or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of scoffers)?
  2. Why do you think it’s important to meditate on the law of the Lord day and night?

Notes:

  1. If our delight is in the law of the Lord, we will not find enjoyment in doing things contrary to his commands. Part of becoming like Jesus is allowing the Holy Spirit to cultivate in us a heart that actually enjoys doing the things of God. The more this happens, the more likely we are to resist bad counsel and sinful paths.
  2. Even though our goal is to have a transformed heart and to delight in that which is good, we know from experience that this is not always the case. Therefore, it is all the more important to meditate on (read and re-read, learn and recite) the law of the Lord. When we are tempted to turn to the left or the right of the narrow path, the practice will help keep us on track.

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 Evening Reflection

When you have to make a decision, how do you go about receiving advice? Are there people in your life through whom you can hear from the Lord? Have you been receiving advice from others that contradicts the Word of God? Oftentimes, we seek the advice of people whose lives model whatever it is we desire. If we desire the things of God, we are much more likely to receive godly advice from godly people. But if we desire the things of this world (money, power, success, etc.), we are much more likely to take the advice from people who’ve achieved those things. Ultimately, it is God (through his Holy Spirit and His word) who gives the best counsel. Spend some time with the Wonderful Counselor, asking Him to lead you in any upcoming decisions you have to make.

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