Welcome back to The Road2Wholeness Blog! I hope you’re enjoying Life of LAB 2018. This is Blog 3 of 7. This blog is titled Decks vs. Road. If it sounds familiar, you may be thinking of our Free Online Novel Series, The Decks and the Road. Please do keep following the series and prepare for the last book “Renegotiating Kaylin” coming February 2019.
The idea for this blog came recently as I was reading from the Word. I came to the story of two prophets. The story is found in 1 Kings chapter 13. A man of God traveled from Judah to Bethel to deliver a word from God to King Jeroboam. The man speaks a word against the altar at Bethel. His word is not received well by the king, and the king stretches out his hand to seize the prophet. As he does, his hand shrivels up so that he could not pull it back. The king says to the man of God, “Intercede with the Lord your God and pray for me that my hand may be restored.” The prophet does, and the King’s hand was restored. Also the altar was split apart and its ashes poured out according to the sign given by the man of God.
Later, the king invites the man to his home to eat, and offers a gift, but the man of God refuses. He replies, “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.
Another prophet from Bethel hears about the incident, and meets the man on the road. He also offers the man of God a meal. The prophet repeats the command from God, but the old prophet from bethel claims that he has a word from an angel of the Lord that says he should bring him back to his home so that he may eat and drink. The man of God then goes back with the old prophet. While the man of God is eating, the old prophet gets a word from the Lord and he cries out “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. … Therefore your body will not be buried in the tomb of your ancestors.’”
As the man of God continues on his journey, a lion meets him on the road and kills him. His body was left lying on the road, with both the donkey and the lion standing beside it. The lion had not eaten the body nor mauled the donkey.
This is an interesting story and my spirit tells me there’s a lot more to uncover than what will be shared here today. I should add that once the old prophet gets the word that the man was killed he recovers the body and buries it. He then orders his sons to bury him beside the man of God when he dies.
Okay, what just happened?
A lot! First, how is it that a man who has seen the word of the Lord in such bold action, falls for such a trick. Such are the decks. The decks are tricky, yet the road is clear. For the law, God sent grace, but for instruction, often times, there is only consequences. My first thought is damn. When reading the Old Testament, I must admit, I’m often hurt by the lack of grace, and it always reminds me to appreciate what the Lord Jesus has done.
Here, I’m left with many questions. Questions like, should God have taken into consideration the fact that the man lied? Secondly, why did God give such a certained word to this man who lied and claimed to have gotten a word from an angel of the Lord? Perhaps the old prophet was only repeating what he already knew by the same word the man of God had shared. Or did God figure, since you have taken this man’s word over my direct command, then I’ll send the confirmation of my word through this same man. Who knows, but the man of God is killed and the old prophet orders that his body should rest beside him at his death.
Could this be a strategically planned case of stolen identity? Is the old prophet seeking to share in the fame of the man of God who comes from Judah and shows that the Lord is with him? Questions, questions… but what can we learn?
First, God shows that the word of God is true, and the word says, “A double minded person is wicked in all their ways.” One of the reasons why God promised to scatter the chosen people and subject them to a ruthless ruler was because they had witnessed so much of God’s power and had still been rebellious. Second, where was this prophet to go from there? What use or power or credibility would his word have after he himself defies God’s command? How was he to bring the commands of God to the people of God? And what strength would God’s word have if he’d allowed this man to live? Not to mention, God would suddenly become a partial God.
This is the truth about life without grace. It’s brutal. And in the case of grace, for the same reason, it had to be made available to all. Thus there is a road for the people of God who stumble. The road remains narrow. The road remains telling, but the road leads to life. And also true to the word of God that grants free will, there will always be the decks. With the decks however, a liar may disguise himself as a prophet and without the commands and wisdom of God, the game of where you’ll end up is not very telling.
So in the story of the decks and the road, if there’s anything to compare and contrast; it’s certainty and question. The man of God had the certainty of God’s word and chose to play it against the word of a stranger, and yet, in the story of the decks and the road, stranger things have happened.
Remember to go within that you may never go without. The God within you awaits you. Until our paths collide again, I wish you... Peace, Love, Life, and Complete Wholeness in Christ. Join us tomorrow for day 4 of Life of LAB.
NaTisha Renee Williams