(Today's post by Chris Queen)
1 Kings 13
Jeroboam was a wicked king. Concerned with his own power and fearful of the possibility of the House of David’s and tribe of Judah’s return to the throne of Israel, he created idols and established altars in the towns of Bethel and Dan. The purpose of his actions was so that his people wouldn’t have to go to Jerusalem – smack dab in the middle of the territory of the tribe of Judah – to make their sacrifices.
God send a young prophet (a “man of God”) to speak out against Jeroboam at the altar in Bethel.
2 By the word of the Lord he cried out against the altar: “Altar, altar! This is what the Lord says: ‘A son named Josiah will be born to the house of David. On you he will sacrifice the priests of the high places who make offerings here, and human bones will be burned on you.’ ” 3 That same day the man of God gave a sign: “This is the sign the Lord has declared: The altar will be split apart and the ashes on it will be poured out.”
God gave this young prophet strict orders not to eat or drink anyone else’s food on his journey to Bethel and back, so when the king offered him dinner, he refused.
An old prophet caught word of this new prophet coming in and delivering the words of the Lord, and after his encounter with the man of God, the story takes an odd turn.
14 …He found him sitting under an oak tree and asked, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?”
“I am,” he replied.
15 So the prophet said to him, “Come home with me and eat.”
16 The man of God said, “I cannot turn back and go with you, nor can I eat bread or drink water with you in this place.17 I have been told by the word of the Lord: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water there or return by the way you came.’ ”
18 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.) 19So the man of God returned with him and ate and drank in his house.
20 While they were sitting at the table, the word of the Lord came to the old prophet who had brought him back. 21 He cried out to the man of God who had come from Judah, “This is what the Lord says: ‘You have defied the word of the Lord and have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you.22 You came back and ate bread and drank water in the place where he told you not to eat or drink. Therefore your body will not be buried in the tomb of your ancestors.’ ”
23 When the man of God had finished eating and drinking, the prophet who had brought him back saddled his donkey for him. 24 As he went on his way, a lion met him on the road and killed him, and his body was left lying on the road, with both the donkey and the lion standing beside it.
Crazy, huh? So, why did God deal with the man of God so harshly? The answer is simple – disobedience. The man of God believed the old prophet’s lie; thus he disobeyed and paid the price. Disobedience costs us.
What are some of the lies people fall for today? “God has forgiven me, so I’ll just live like I want to.” “There’s more than one way to have a relationship with God.” “It won’t hurt if I give into temptation just this once.” These lies and others like them lead to disobedience, and disobedience is sin. God may not call out lions to gobble us up, but He will deal with our sins.
How can you take care not to fall for the lies that lead to sin? How can you measure up what others say to the truth from God?