The Lord Told Me

Lenny Cacchio

Ariel Sharon's stroke was not a function of his 77 years and 300 pound girth. At least that's what one well-known preacher says. The obvious diagnosis holds no quarter when someone supposes he has direct pipeline to God's workings in the affairs of men. Instead, or so we are supposed to believe, God is punishing Mr. Sharon for giving back land that is already occupied by people he is supposed to be giving it back to. 

God certainly does give visions to prophets, but he also says to "believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1 KJV). It's a serious thing to claim that "The Lord told me", and anyone who says that had better be sure he's right. Just because someone claims a personal message from God does not make it so. 

Shortly after the Kingdom of Israel was divided, God sent a prophet to King Jeroboam of the Northern Kingdom. The prophet warned of destruction of Jeroboam's high place. God gave the prophet specific instructions for his own conduct while delivering the prophecy: He was not to eat or drink a thing until he was out of the bounds of the kingdom. Even though the king invited him to stay, the prophet refused: "If you were to give me half your house, I would not go in with you; nor would I eat bread nor drink water in this place. For so it was commanded me by the word of the LORD, saying, 'You shall not eat bread, nor drink water, nor return by the same way you came.'" (1 Kings 13:8-9 NKJV).

But he didn't count on a deception from a fellow, older prophet: "I too am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the LORD, saying, 'Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.' (He was lying to him.) So he went back with him, and ate bread in his house, and drank water." (1 Kings 13:18-19 NKJV)

"The Lord told me.", said the older prophet. The younger man took the words at face value, and it cost him his life. Just because someone says "The Lord told me.", it doesn't mean the Lord really did tell him.

In Acts 10 we read about Peter and his reaction to a very real vision. He was praying when he fell into a trance, and he saw a sheet lowered from heaven containing all kinds of vermin and snakes and every foul living thing that God had created. "And there came a voice to him, "Rise, Peter, kill and eat" (verse 13).

Here was a voice from God. Peter could honestly say, "The Lord told me.", but unlike that young prophet, Peter's reaction was tinged with a healthy dose of skepticism. "Not so, Lord, for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean" (verse 14).

Even though this vision was repeated three times, Peter did not immediately run out and start to eat roasted cockroaches and rodent's hearts. Instead, he "doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean" (verse 17). Peter was wise enough not to jump to conclusions and go off half-cocked. It was not long before he learned the real meaning of the vision: "God has shown me that I should not call any MAN common or unclean" (verse 28).

Peter waited before inferring. Even in the face of a vision we need to hold it up to the light of God's word before concluding what the message is. To do anything else does great damage to the Faith.

Lenny C.

 Excerpted from The Sabbath Morning Companion, January 06, 2006, by Lenny Cacchio. All rights reserved.