George DeHoff, a preacher from my father’s generation tells this story: It was a Sunday morning and the church was about to begin their worship assembly. George was sitting on the front pew as he was to be the guest speaker. A man took a seat beside him and whispered seriously: “The Lord told me I was to speak today.” George, without missing a beat said: “What time did you speak with the Lord?” The man replied and George answered with: “Yes, I know, but later the Lord told me he’s changed his mind and you were to be quiet while I speak.”
With competing voices, how is one to know what is really the word of the Lord?
The first prophet in the story may have wondered if the Lord had really spoken to him, but it is to his credit that if he doubted at all, he followed the Lord’s instructions even in the face of opposing a king. All doubt would have been removed however when the altar split in two and when the king’s arm withered before everyone’s eyes.
The problem came when the second prophet lied: “An angel of the Lord spoke to me . . .” he began and then contradicted everything the Lord had told the first prophet.
Duped, the first prophet ended up disobeying God – and it cost him his life.
How fair is that, and, again, with competing voices, how are you supposed to know which way is right?
The first prophet knew by experience that God had spoken to him. He didn’t know God had spoken to the second prophet. He should have asked for proof. But more than that, God is not in the habit of changing His mind. The first prophet should have smelled a rat.
The Bible is the confirmed message from God. Messages to the contrary are to be held suspect. The same competing voices were heard in Isaiah’s day to which God replied: “When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?” Then notice this command: “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.” (Isaiah 8:19-20).
It’s sound advice. Any fool can claim to have a message from God. The wise man will make sure the message really is from God by comparing what is suspect with what is certain.