Does this seem Petty?

Meanwhile, the LORD instructed one of the group of prophets to say to another man, “Hit me!” But the man refused to hit the prophet. Then the prophet told him, “Because you have not obeyed the voice of the LORD, a lion will kill you as soon as you leave me.” And when he had gone, a lion did attack and kill him. – 1 Kings‬ ‭20:35-36‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Recently my attention was drawn to the account in 1 Kings 20:35-36 where the prophet of God asked a companion to strike him. His refusal to comply with the request resulted in his eventual death. I was asked “doesn’t this seem petty?”

Firstly we must understand the scripture does not give us much as it relates to the training progression, the general disposition and mind set of this companion in this group of prophets. He could have had a nature of disbelief and rebellion. However what is recorded is for our learning and set as an example for us (Rom. 15:4, 1 Cor. 10:11).

What is clear from reading the text is that he never carried out the instructions given to him. He refused to obeyed what I believe would have been clear instructions from a representative of God.

His actions could be compared to other characters we have read in the scriptures.

Case Examples

  • Moses refusing to speak to the rock but deciding to strike it did not enter Canaan’s Land (Num. 20).
  • Nahab and Abihu chose to offer a different kind of fire than that which was instructed and died (Lev 10)
  • Saul decided to bring back the fated animals as an offering to God thinking to not let the best be wasted but given to the service of God. He lost his kingship favor over Israel. (1 Sam 15).
  • Uzzah struck dead on the spot when he tried to prevent the Ark from falling to the ground ( 2 Sam. 6:7, 1 Chron. 13:10)
  • A prophet was given contrary info by another prophet and ended up being mauled to death (1 Kings 13:1-24)

In our key text, the companion of the prophet lost his life because of his refusal to obey. The severity of the punishment surely served as a warning to other prophets in the group. In the case examples mentioned  above, there were different consequences for their disobedience and most paid the ultimate price of their life.

God is showcasing how important he believes obedience to him is. Even in situations that don’t make sense to our human minds he wants us to obey him. It is God who has created us and knows what is best for us and requires our complete obedience. Job came to this realization that even though he could not fully understand why he was suffering, his hope and trust was still in God (Job 13:15). Job says who can really question God or put him before a courthouse to demand answers because his ways are above us. His wisdom is profound and his power vast (Job 9:3-4).
When one reads Job chapters 38 to 41, we are reminded of our position. We are the created and our Heavenly Father is the creator. God can do all things and his plans cannot be opposed (Job 42:2) Solomon said It is our whole duty to show reverence to God and keep his instructions (Eccl. 12:13).

Some things may seem petty to us as human beings but God places great value in obedience to his word. In our key text, the bottom line lesson is obedience to instruction is needed and not lack of faith or doubt.  When we read the rest of the passage (1 Kings 20:37-43) we see the context of God’s will/final intent being played out. There was a message for King Ahab to be learnt and there is a message for us today as we read. Will you be fully obedient to God today or face the consequence?

Do you know what’s God’s will  for you to be saved? Read more…