This really is a strange top five Bible story to have (another one involves two people getting speared at once!). You will find this particular account in 1 Kings 13 if you feel so inclined to read the whole story. The summary is this:
Man of God (Prophet) gives a word to King Jeroboam. King Jeroboam was NOT happy about what was said. However, when the king orders the man of God to be seized, his arms shrivels up and a sign from God takes place that confirms the unwanted prophecy is true. The man of God restores the king’s hand and the king invites him to stay for a meal and to receive a gift. NOW, here’s the kicker, God gave the man of God strict instructions to not eat bread or drink water or return the way he came. So the man of God denies the king’s invite.
In this chapter, the prophet remains unnamed BUT he is referred to as “man of God” 16 times in 34 verses.
Unfortunately, this man of God disobeys the strict instructions and ends up getting mauled by a lion and dies. This is why it’s weird that it’s one of my favorites. The REASON is this: when God gives you a personal word (instructions, direction…etc) no one can override that word, not even another man of God. If you read further along the chapter our man of God decides to disobey the command of God because another prophet says, “An angel came to me and said to me by the word of God to bring him back with you to your house and eat and drink” (heavily paraphrased).
Be careful who you are listening to – both spiritually and naturally. On one hand you could “hear from God” but it not be the voice of the Lord at all! On the other hand you DID hear from God, but because someone said something different you act contrary to that word. So is knowing the voice of God complicated? NO! “My sheep know my voice” – this is one of the most encouraging things in the Bible! You can know the voice of the Father and be confident in the choices you’re making in life because you are being Spirit-led (Romans 8).
It’s awesome to me that despite this man’s error, the Bible continues to call him “man of God” even after he’s been killed. To me, this shows us how God sees us – with the love of a father. Even when we mess up He sees us as we TRULY are and will never stop revealing our identity to ourselves (then we can reveal it to our adversary!!!).
There are still things in this story that trip me up (like why the other prophet lied! Meany.). However, it’s still in my top five because I know that every word of God given to me personally (and God’s promises!) is my responsibility to carry out, is there for my protection, and will always end in triumph.
I would rather be nameless but have my Father call me “his woman” then to have my name known yet not be intimate with His voice!