This young prophet had no trouble following his instructions until he was challenged by a peer, a man of God like himself (re-read verses 11-18). That's when he lost his way! The man who challenged the young prophet's direction was an older (and surely wiser) prophet, who spoke with the voice of experience. The young man must have felt it was safe to defer to him, but he paid dearly for substituting obedience to "authority" for true obedience to God. It was a cop-out, and a fatal misstep.
It is hard to imagine why this happened, or what could have motivated the older prophet to lead the younger man astray, but Wednesday's reading is speaking to my heart today: there is no substitute for direct obedience to God's word! No matter how convenient it may seem for me to "fall in line" and unquestioningly follow God's order of authority, whether in the church or in my home, I am first and always accountable to honor the principles laid out in the Bible. I must measure all human authority against the specific instructions and guiding principles of God's word.
This is my prayer for you:
Whether you turn to the right or to the left,
your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying,
"This is the way; walk in it." - Isaiah 30:21