Imagine having a spiritual conversation with a neighbor. You’re sharing with them the gospel of Jesus Christ by explaining how He went to the cross and died for the sins of the whole world (John 3:16). He was buried in a tomb and three days later was resurrected (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). You quote what Jesus said before He ascended to the Father in Mark 16:16, “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.” Hoping they are connecting the dots, you inquire to their salvation status. They reply, “well, my preacher said…” or, “my pastor told me all I have to do is accept Jesus into my heart.” Unfortunately, many individuals put their trust in man, rather than the words of Jesus. They don’t seek a “thus saith the Lord.”
There is an interesting passage in 2 Samuel 7 that one might miss if not careful. King David has good intentions of building a house for the Lord. He mentions to the prophet Nathan his concerns by comparing the king’s house of cedar to the dwelling place of the ark as only a tent (7:2). Nathan gives his consent to David, “Go, do all that is in your mind, for the Lord is with you” (7:3). However, in the very next verse, we are told that God communicated to the prophet His true intentions. The house will be built not by David, but by one of his descendants (7:12-13). David, as a man of war and having shed much blood, was not authorized to accomplish such a feat (1 Chronicles 22:8).
One might ask how Nathan, as a prophet of God, was off-base in his counsel. However, we know of other examples when prophets did not speak under divine authority, but rather an opinion (1 Samuel 16:6; 2 Kings 4:27). Nathan did not have a “thus saith the Lord” in his answer. This is a great reminder for us today! Are you consulting and verifying the “utterances of God” (1 Peter 4:11) or taking someone’s uninspired word for it?