There is a little story right out of the Twilight Zone, found in the first book of Kings. It has always frightened me, but I just now understood why.
We are not told their names, but one personage is a "man of God" who is sent from Judah to Bethel to deliver a divine sign against King Jeroboam. At the messenger's word the king's hand is withered, and at his word it is restored. The king thereupon invites the man of God to dinner. But the invitation is firmly rejected: "If you give me half your house, I will not go in with you. And I will not eat bread or drink water in this place, for so was it commanded me by the word of the Lord, saying, 'You shall neither eat bread nor drink water nor return by the way that you came'" (1 Kings 13:8-9).
Now there happened to be an old prophet in the same town, who upon hearing of all that the man of God had done, sent his sons to fetch him. When they overtook him the sons invited him for dinner. The man of God declined, stating his reason as before. But the prophet said to him, "I also am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying, 'Bring him back with you into your house that he may eat bread and drink water'" (v. 18).
The man of God went with him. As the two men sat at the table, the prophet looked at his guest and said, "Thus says the Lord, 'Because you have disobeyed the word of the Lord and have not kept the command that the Lord your God commanded you, but have come back and have eaten bread and drunk water in the place of which he said to you, "Eat no bread and drink no water," your body shall not come to the tomb of your fathers.'" (vv. 21-22).
After this forbidden meal, the man of God got on his donkey and rode away, but he met up with a lion on the road and it killed him.
In an eerie sequel, when the prophet heard of the man of God's death, he calmly instructed his sons to saddle his own donkey, and he went and took up the other man's body and buried him in his own tomb.
And the reason this story scares me so much is because I believe that for most of my Christian life I have heeded the words of godly men over the Word of God.
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