Obeying God's Word (1 Kings 13:21–22) - Radical

Obeying God’s Word (1 Kings 13:21–22)

“And he cried to the man of God who came from Judah. Thus says the Lord, because you have disobeyed the word of the Lord and have not kept the command 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.”
– 1 Kings 13:21–22

A lot is going on in this story in 1 Kings 13:21–22 that we don’t have time to go into. But basically, the person who’s described here as the man of God is a prophet who had spoken God’s word boldly and obeyed God’s word temporarily, in part, to a certain point. But then he was deceived and he ended up disobeying God. And as a result, he died. And in this story, we are reminded of the danger of temporary obedience to God. Or partial obedience to God. Doing some of what God has called us to do, speaking some of God’s word, but not speaking and obeying all of God’s word. Or all that God has called us to do.

These Verses Remind Us to Obey God Fully

There is always a temptation in us to stop short of full, total obedience to God. To think, “Well, I did most of what God called me to do, so certainly that’s enough. Of course, I didn’t do it all, but I mean, some is important.” And yes, some is important. But God has never called us to obey him partially. I think about my children. If I tell them to do something for their good, and they do part of that, but they don’t do the full thing I’ve told them to do. And they don’t experience all the good I know for them in doing that. They’re not obeying. They are disobeying.

1 Kings 13:21–22: Asking For God to Help Us be Obedient

And this is the picture we see in this man of God and the consequences that flow from that. So, God, we pray in each of our lives. That you would help us to obey your word completely. We pray that you would help us to do all that you are calling us to do. God, help us to see, even right now, as we pray. Help us to examine our hearts and to see areas of our lives where we are stopping short in obedience to you. God, we know that you’ve called us to holiness, to purity of mind, and thought, and desire. Lord, where have we grown apathetic, and complacent? Where are we in partial obedience to you? Thinking this thought here: there is no big deal.

Asking God to Purify Our Minds

God, help us to think pure thoughts, to have pure desires that are pleasing to you in every way. God, we pray that you would help us to see, examine our hearts. Where have we, God, spoken things, sad things, written things, that are not useful for building up others according to their needs in Christ Jesus. God, to help us to use our every word for the building up of others, according to their needs in Christ Jesus. God, speaking of our words, we know that you have commanded us to proclaim the gospel, to share the gospel with people around us.

Lord, help us to see, examine our hearts. Where have we been disobedient to your command? Thinking, “Well, I’m following God in these other areas, maybe I’m not sharing the gospel, but that’s not a big deal.” God, help us to see any partial obedience to you as a very big deal. Help us to repent of any and all partial obedience to you, and help us to proclaim your word boldly, and obey your word completely by the power of Christ in your spirit in us. We pray, according to 1 Kings 13:21–22. In Jesus’ name, amen.

David Platt

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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