Bible Reading: John 7:1-8

Many years ago someone said to me, “Be careful whom you listen to.” That was good advice because it is so easy to make a mistake, and miss God’s will by listening to wrong advice. People may speak with good intentions but still be wrong. It may even come from close friends or even family members, and yet still send us in the wrong direction if we are not careful.

The Feast of Tabernacles was approaching and under normal circumstances Jesus would have gone to Jerusalem, but he knew that it was the wrong time for Him to go. The Jews in Judea wanted to kill Him, and it was not yet His time to go back to Jerusalem. The brothers of Jesus were going to Jerusalem for the feast and tried to persuade Him to go with them. They did not believe in Jesus and their motive for trying to persuade Him to go to Jerusalem was totally wrong. They scoffed at Him and goaded Him with three wrong suggestions. “Go where your followers can see your miracles.” “You can’t become a public figure if you hide yourself.” “If you can do such wonderful things prove it to the world!” Jesus rejected their suggestions and resolutely remained in Galilee. Can you catch the spirit of the brother’s suggestions? Their words have the same feel about them as the words of the devil as he tempted Jesus in the wilderness. The words of his brothers did not come from the Holy Spirit but a wrong spirit. Be careful whom you listen to!

In a small prayer group in the Church of Scotland in Dalry, Ayrshire, someone approached me and gave me a prophetic word. He said, “When you go to the country to which God is calling you, your mother will give you her blessing!” It seemed impossible. Six weeks before we left for Indonesia we felt it right to go and say goodbye to my stepfather and mother. My stepfather’s last words to me were, “Say goodbye to your mother. Go, and never come back. You are not part of this family!” Three weeks later he had a brain haemorrhage and died within twelve hours. Following the funeral, and before we left for Indonesia, we brought my mother back to our home in the Midlands of England for a few days. Each night she pleaded with me not to go to Indonesia, and each night I had to say to her that we must go because God had called us to go. On the last night before we took her back to her home, my mother said to me, “I don’t understand why you have to go, but go with my blessing.” Eight years later my mother gave her life to Jesus Christ in a Salvation Army open-air meeting, and on a visit to see us in Indonesia told me that if I had not gone to Indonesia she would never have come to Christ, and surrendered her life to Him! It is important to be careful whom you listen to!


How can you recognise the difference between wise counsel and wrong advice?

Jesus knew that one day it would be the right time to go to Jerusalem, but that time was not yet. Why is timing so important in our walk with God?

Why is it important that our primary motivation is not the needs and requests of people but hearing God’s voice and obeying Him?