Verses 16–18: “ ‘I cannot go back with you or enter your house’, said the other [prophet]; ‘I can neither eat nor drink with you in this place, for it was told me by the word of the Lord: “You shall not eat and drink nothing there….”’ And the old man said to him, ‘I am also a prophet, as you are; and an angel commanded me by the word of the Lord to bring you home with me to eat and drink with me.’”
To whom do we listen? Whose guidance do we follow? This Scripture highlights the necessity of listening and following the word of God that comes to us directly, not through another.
The first prophet was clear on the message he had received from God. He let himself be influenced by another, also a prophet. The second prophet asserted his relationship to God in stating his request for the first prophet to dine. The first prophet deferred to the second prophet’s “message” from God and abandoned what he knew through his direct experience of God. The result was his death for not following the voice of God within.
How often do we know deep within our gut the direction our Self/God Within wants us to take, but we abandon it to follow another?
Carl Jung writes about kinship libido as “our need for human connection.” The need for human connection overshadows our need for connection to the Self/God Within to the degree we had early-life experiences that betrayed, shamed, and guilt-ed us when we spontaneously expressed our spirit. As a result, we may have patterns of giving up the connection to our Self/God Within, as we fear losing connection to another person (i.e, being ignored, shunned, ridiculed, and persecuted, hurt in some way) or being seen in a negative way (i.e., arrogant, aloof, selfish).
Whenever we listen to another person over the voice of God Within, we experience a death of self/Self as the true us does not get embodied in word and action. We sometimes defer to another person’s knowing because we do not trust or discern our own inner guidance.
Each of us must develop a conscious relationship to the ego-Self axis, theologically known as the self/ego living in relationship to the Holy Spirit. The axis is the point of connection between our conscious self/ego and our larger Self/God Within. Various spiritual disciplines and systems of understanding are roadmaps and tools for the endeavor.
I invite you to reflect on how you discern the voice of God Within. What are the disciplines and systems of understanding that facilitate hearing the voice? What blocks it? Ask the Self/God Within to guide you to the embodied knowing you most need at this time in your life. Be alert for those who offer their “knowing” to replace your own. Be courageous and stand with what you know to be true for you!