One day God told a man of God from Judah to go to Bethel to King Jeroboam (Jair-a-BO-m), who was a king that worshiped false gods, and tell him that he was DEAD WRONG. Now that's a pretty brave thing to do. 'Cause back then, you'd probably be seized and arrested on spot for telling ol' Jeroboam that he was DEAD WRONG. But the man of God from Judah went anyway and told King Jeroboam that the altars were going to be burned down and his rule would end in ashes, etc. King Jeroboam pointed at the man and said, "Arrest him!" But just then, his arm shriveled up and he couldn't pull it back. So his arm was just stuck pointing. Then he started to get really freaked out and was probably thinking, "Oh, dang. I totally messed with the wrong God here..." So he asked the man of God from Judah to pray for him so his arm wouldn't be all shrivel-y. The man of God of Judah did and the arm came un-shriveled. Then the King, who was totally trying to get on the man of God from Judah's good side so his altar wouldn't burn to the ground, invited him into his house to have dinner and stuff. But the man of God from Judah refused because God had SPECIFICALLY told him not to eat or drink and to come straight back. So the man of God of Judah left. When he was on his way out of Bethel, an old prophet of God came up to him and asked him to come to dinner. The man of God from Judah told him the same thing that he had told King Jeroboam. But then the old prophet did something very nasty and mean.
He told the man of God from Judah that God had told HIM that it was okay for the man to eat. So the man of God from Judah agreed and went to eat with him. And then God told the old prophet while they were eating to tell the man of God from Judah that he was going to die that day because he'd disobeyed God.
So on his way back to Judah, the man was viciously attacked by a lion. And the lion and the donkey stood side by side, watching over the body of the man of God from Judah.
Is that weird or what? I mean, that's like worthy-of-Lord-of-the-Rings kind of stuff. Our youth minister then told us that the point of the story was to take obedience to God seriously. That scared me.
It made me feel like if I did something wrong, God was going to strike me down. But, fortunately for us, Jesus came and God has tons of mercy along with his little issue with disobedience. But, it still didn't rest easy for me. The closest thing I can compare it to is the beginning of Kung Fu Panda.
And, yes, I did say Kung Fu Panda.
In Po's dream, he says, "Never before had a panda been so feared, and so loved."
I think that's sort of what our relationship with God should be like. We know that he could totally kill us any second if he wanted to, but we love him because he chooses not to.
Fear and love go hand in hand.