Don’t seek the word of the Lord
without first seeking the Lord of the word.
The word of the Lord is revealed to us in Isaiah as follows. “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11. Accordingly, much emphasis has been placed upon the importance of seeking and knowing the word of the Lord. Once we have been given the word of the Lord we must continue to seek the Lord of the word, lest we depart from His will at our peril.
The thirteenth chapter of I Kings is a difficult passage but most illustrative of this principle presented by Dave Gresham. The following verses chosen from this chapter focus on the importance of his statement. “By the word of the LORD a man of God came from Judah to Bethel, as Jeroboam was standing by the altar to make an offering. He cried out against the altar by the word of the LORD: ‘O altar, altar! This is what the LORD says: A son named Josiah will be born to the house of David. On you he will sacrifice the priests of the high places who now make offering here, and human bones will be burned on you.’” (verses1-2) “The king said to the man of God, ‘Come home with me and have something to eat, and I will give you a gift.‘ But the man of God answered the king, ‘Even if you were to give me half your possessions, I would not go with you, nor would I eat bread or drink water here. For I was commanded by the word of the LORD: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water or return by the way you came.‘ So he took another road and did not return by the way he had come to Bethel. Now there was a certain old prophet living in Bethel, whose sons came and told him all that the man of God had done there that day. They also told their father what he had said to the king. Their father asked them, ‘Which way did he go?‘ And his sons showed him which road the man of God from Judah had taken. So he said to his sons, ‘Saddle the donkey for me.‘ And when they had saddled the donkey for him, he mounted it and rode after the man of God. He found him sitting under an oak tree and asked, ‘Are you the man of God who came from Judah?‘ ‘I am,’ he replied. So the prophet said to him, ‘Come home with me and eat.‘ The man of God said, ‘I cannot turn back and go with you, nor can I eat bread or drink water with you in this place. I have been told by the word of the LORD: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water there or return by the way you came.‘ The old prophet answered, ‘I too am a prophet, as you are. And an angel said to me by the word of the LORD: Bring him back with you to your house so that he may eat bread and drink water.‘ (But he was lying to him.) So the man of God returned with him and ate and drank in his house. While they were sitting at the table, the word of the LORD came to the old prophet who had brought him back. He cried out to the man of God who had come from Judah, ‘This is what the LORD says: You have defied the word of the LORD and have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you. You came back and ate bread and drank water in the place where he told you not to eat or drink. Therefore your body will not be buried in the tomb of your fathers.‘ When the man of God had finished eating and drinking, the prophet who had brought him back saddled his donkey for him. As he went on his way, a lion met him on the road and killed him, and his body was thrown down on the road, with both the donkey and the lion standing beside it. (verses 7-23) How might the man of God from Judah avoided his untimely death by the lion? It would have been avoided by seeking the LORD of the word and not being satisfied by the initial word of the LORD only.
It is important in our lives as individuals, and also as organizations, to seek the word of the Lord. By that is meant the goals, directions, purposes and the vision statements that we use as individuals, companies or churches. Having sought these from the word of the Lord, it is imperative that we seek the Lord of the word to fulfill them. It is all too easy to declare our vision statement, or purpose we have received from the word of the Lord and fail to seek the Lord of the word. Unless we continue to seek the Lord of the word we will use our own methods and look to our own abilities to accomplish His work. We live, not in danger of the lion which will kill the mortal flesh, but the activities of the flesh which will kill the work of the Spirit. In the NIV this is described as “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire.” I Thessalonians 5:19. In the KJV it is referred to as “Quenching” the Spirit. Unless we seek the Lord of the word continually in dependence upon His methods, His timing, and His ability we are in danger of quenching the Spirit.
Campbell Morgan says these words in regard to this subject. The Holy Spirit. Flaming H. Revell Company Copyright 1900 2016 Crossreach Publications Pg 107.
“Men have perpetually quenched the Spirit by attempting to work in their own strength, hoping that God would step in and make up what they lacked. God will not come and help men to do their work. This is no mere idle play upon words, the difference is radical. If men make their plan of service and then ask God to help them, they may, by that very assertion of self, quench the Holy Spirit. If, on the other hand, they await the Divine vision and the Divine voice and the Divinely marked out path; if they wait until they hear God saying, I am going there I would have you go with me, then the Holy Spirit can exercise His gift in their lives. The Spirit is quenched by disloyalty to Christ, or when His gift is used for any other purpose than that upon which the heart of God is set.”
It is a good thing when we seek the word of the Lord. Let us also remember to seek the Lord of the word. May the Lord of the word continue to grant us His Divine vision, His Divine voice and His Divinely marked out path as we seek Him.
In Christ, Richard Spann