This week I heard some bad advice from a very popular author and speaker in the Christian world.
One of her followers said to her; “I just can’t reconcile your teaching on this particular subject with what I read in scripture.”
The author answered: “Read a book.”
The follower was right, the author’s teaching did not line up with scripture, and so unable to point her to anything in the Word of God that would validate her opinion, she attempted to point the woman away from God’s wisdom toward human understanding.
The same sort of thing happened to the great leader, Nehemiah, in the Old Testament of the Bible. He got some bad advice from someone who had positioned himself as a spiritual authority.
While Nehemiah was leading the wall building effort in Jerusalem, his life was in constant threat. One day, a man named Shamaiah called Nehemiah to him and “prophesied” over him that Nehemiah should hide himself in the temple because that very night there was going to be an assassination attempt.
Nehemiah might have been tempted to believe the prophet, after all, his life was continuously in danger and protecting himself did sound like the prudent thing to do. The advice sounded good. Better safe than sorry, after all.
However, because Nehemiah had kept himself so close to God in prayer the study of God’s Word, he was able to see the truth.
Nehemiah said, “I realized that God had not sent him, because of the prophesy he spoke against me…He was hired, so that I would be intimidated, do as he suggested, sin, and get a bad reputation, in order that they could discredit me.” (Nehemiah 6:12-13)
Friends, more and more, you and I have to be like Nehemiah; we have to discern the difference between human opinion and God’s will. Never have we been so inundated with people who are positioning themselves on the “Christian” stage, only to promote ideas that are contrary to the truth of scripture.
If we are not intentionally and regularly seeking God’s will through prayer, Bible study and sound teaching, we will get swept up in lies that can lead to us sinning, getting a bad reputation, and being discredited- just like Nehemiah feared.
You and I don’t have time for that.
We are on earth for a relatively short time and we have a Divine purpose. We must not let anything distract us from pursuing God with all of our heart, soul, strength and mind.