A man of God stands before God and not before men

Consider 1 Ki 17:1.

1Ki 17:1 1 Now Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the settlers of Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the LORD, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word."

This is the first mention of Elijah in the Bible. Before he appeared on the scene God must have been training him, and one of the things he learned was that he needed to stand before God. And that particular lesson stood out in his mind.

And when Elijah began to mentor Elisha he taught Elisha the same thing. That is why we see Elisha also using the term ‘before whom I stand’.

It is this particular lesson that we need to take away from Elijah’s experience: the man of God stands before God, and before God alone. There are two aspects to this: one, he stands before God, and two, he does not stand before anyone else.

To not stand before anyone else is to not be concerned about the opinions of other human beings. A man of God does not do things so that men may see them and honor (i.e. think and speak well of) him. He does not seek the honor of men. Here is how Paul put it:

1 Cor 4:3-4 3 But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. 4 For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord.

Paul understood that he needed to stand before God and not men.

The man of God does not speak something to, or do something for, someone because he wants something from them. He speaks or does things because God commanded him to.

Paul no longer sought to please men because he knew that if he tried to please men he would not be able to be a man of God.

Gal 1:10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.

Notice the mutual exclusivity of this: that is, one excludes the other – if you are trying to please men you cannot be a man of God.

Take some time to honestly examine why you say and do different things. If you find that you are saying and doing things because of what other people might think of you then you have to change if you want to become a man of God.

The reason why you cannot be a man of God if you are still trying to please men is because, as a man of God, you have to pull men upwards, whereas men don’t want to be pulled upwards. You will have to say things that men will not like to hear and they will not be pleased with you when you tell them things that they don’t like to hear.

The other aspect is to stand before God. To stand before God is to allow God to examine every part of your life, and point out anything that He thinks you need to change. You give God the freedom to change you.

When you stand before God you are giving God permission to evaluate your life. If you want to be a man of God you have to be prepared to change whatever God wants you to change. There may be things that God may not want you to change immediately, but whatever He wants you to fix, you will need to fix. And He will let you know what he wants you to fix.

God requires this because you will be representing Him. If people cannot look up to you then it will reflect poorly on how they perceive God.

For example, if you have a habit of scoffing at people and constantly belittling them and finding fault with them then the people will think that God is like that too. Therefore, God has to get you to stop behaving that way before He can let you be His representative.

Moses seemed to have difficulty learning this lesson of letting God dictate his life. Consider the situation in Ex 4:24-26.

Ex 4:24-26 24 Now it came about at the lodging place on the way that the LORD met him and sought to put him to death. 25 Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin and threw it at Moses’ feet, and she said, "You are indeed a bridegroom of blood to me." 26 So He let him alone. At that time she said, "You are a bridegroom of blood" – because of the circumcision.

Here was the situation: God made a covenant with Abraham that God would consider the descendants of Abraham through Isaac as His people, and to be a part of that covenant all male descendants of Isaac would need to be circumcised. But Moses married outside of Israel, and his wife was reluctant to circumcise her child. And Moses was okay with that. But God was not okay with that because God took His covenants seriously. After all, what sense would it make to deliver the Jews through a man who was not in the covenant that God made with Abraham?

God wanted Moses to change that and Moses finally did.

The good thing is that Moses learned the lesson and went on to become a great man of God.

What about you? If your wife doesn’t want you to do something that God wants you to do, who will you listen to, your wife or your God?

You will always listen to your God. It may just be that your wife, and not Jehovah, is your God.

Unfortunately, it did not end the same way with Solomon.

Solomon sought God, and God loved him. What a great combination that was! Unfortunately, while that was how it started, that was not how it ended. This is because Solomon married foreign women against God’s wishes. God spoke to him and asked him to change that, but Solomon did not. As a result, in the end, God did not uphold Solomon.

2 Sam 12:24-25 24Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and lay with her. She gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon. The LORD loved him; 25 and because the LORD loved him, he sent word through Nathan the prophet to name him Jedidiah.

1 Ki 11:4 As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been.

1 Ki 11:9 The LORD became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.

1 Ki 11:14 Then the LORD raised up against Solomon an adversary, Hadad the Edomite, from the royal line of Edom.

The lesson that we can learn from this is that even if we start out well it is no guarantee that we will finish well. Therefore, we need to always keep watch over ourselves.

Who are you standing before? Do you stand before God or men? Are you trying to gain favor with men? Are you trying to make yourself look good in the eyes of man? Or are you more concerned about what God thinks of you?

We all have this great desire to be liked by others and to look good before others. That desire has to be conquered if we are to become men of God.

In the process of becoming a man of God, each of us needs to carefully examine what we say and do and ask why we say it and do it. If we are still trying to impress men then we cannot be men of God.

Each of us also needs to examine our life to see if we love anything more than we love God. If God wants us to change something and we don’t want to then we cannot be men of God.

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