(1) How dangerous and lethal deception is.
(2) How important it is to know God’s truth and not be moved from it.
This chapter focuses on an unnamed prophet of God who was mightily used by God in Bethel to denounce Jeroboam’s idolatry and the altar he erected promoting sin.
After a series of amazing events, including a couple of miracles, the sons of a different prophet went and reported to their father what happened and how King Jeroboam wanted the prophet to come home with him, eat and he would also give him a “gift.” The prophet refused all of that on the basis of what he was personally told before arriving:
But the man of God answered the king, “Even if you were to give me half your possessions, I would not go with you, nor would I eat bread or drink water here. For I was commanded by the word of the LORD: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water or return by the way you came.’” So he took another road and did not return by the way he had come to Bethel. (1 Ki 13:8-10)
So because he was commanded not to eat bread, drink water or return the way he came to Bethel, he refused to go with the king! What a “test” that was, but he passed with flying colors.
No doubt, the king could have given that prophet a great feast and an expensive gift, but this man of God was not moved by that. He was set on keeping God’s commands and no amount of money would lead him astray. He was intent on remaining faithful to God. But the old prophet living in that area, who was informed by his sons, asked them about the road the prophet left on. He aggressively went after him and found him sitting under a tree.
That old prophet LIED to him about an angelic message, which contradicted the command he was given. In 1 Kings 13:18,19 the Bible says this:
The old prophet answered, “I too am a prophet, as you are. And an angel said to me by the word of the LORD: ‘Bring him back with you to your house so that he may eat bread and drink water.’” (But he was lying to him.) So the man of God returned with him and ate and drank in his house.
That old prophet intentionally deceived the other minister, who came into his territory. The man who was deceived thought he was OBEYING GOD, but wasn’t! Let me emphasize that again, the man who was deceived thought he was OBEYING GOD, was actually being led into sin! He was completely SINCERE and wanted God’s will, but was misled by a false message supposedly from God.
The alleged spiritual leader, who came as a faithful servant and friend, gave him dangerous spiritual poison. The MOST DANGEROUS ENEMY he faced was the man who appeared harmless, even more so than the powerful idolatrous king Jeroboam himself!
His greatest DANGER and “test” was now, would he believe or reject the conflicting message? Unfortunately, he believed that lie and went to an early grave because of it. In fact, his acceptance of that false message was actually defying the word of the Lord! He was sincere-but-deceived and that led to what is called defying the word of the Lord. Folks, sincerity is not good enough.
Another amazing thing to ponder is: WHY did the old prophet INTENTIONALLY LIE to the man of God? WHY did he want to ruin and destroy him? WHY did he want him to disobey God? There is no indication that the two of them ever met before or that he ever did, in any way, anything to harm him. Though it is not crystal clear, it seems like it was over jealousy!
The man of God was doing what the old prophet wanted for himself. After all, Bethel was his territory and he was a prophet too. For the man of God to come there, even though he was sent by God, would make that old prophet seem less important to the people living in Bethel.
Furthermore, jealousy and envy are capable of murder and either of them will cause a Christian to not inherit God’s kingdom. The Bible says:
Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy? (Prov 27:4)
“Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate, knowing it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead. (Mark 15:9-11)
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Gal 5:19-21)
So the wicked old liar actually brought down God’s prophet, because he wasn’t guarded as he vitally needed to be. Imagine that. That man of God had only ONE apparent flaw, that was, he somehow didn’t know a conflicting message to God’s word, cannot also be from God. That is very important to remember. God’s word is forever settled. It does not change.
In our day, if a message from a dream, vision, prophecy, experience, testimony, feeling, book of Mormon, Koran, etc. contradicts or conflicts with the Bible, we must reject it. If you don’t, though you are God fearing and sincere, you will suffer spiritually because of it.
Some think in our day that doctrine is not important when the opposite is the truth. The man of God in 1 Kings 13 was very sincere, but made the mistake of believing the wrong message which he was told was from God. NOTE: he was told it was from God, but it wasn’t. Consequently, he died and he was labeled as one who “defied” the word of the Lord!
We must be guarded and stick like glue to the message of the Bible. Don’t let anyone or anything draw you away, even someone you deeply love. If you do get drawn away, you will be deceived and deception can be deadly. You are battling for eternity. Be very guarded and test everything. As Jesus said in Rev. 3:11:
Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.
God bless you.
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