Golden Text: And he said unto him, I also am a prophet as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of Jehovah, saying, bring him back with thee into thy home, that he may eat bread and drink water. But HE LIED. So the man of God returned with him and ate and drank in his house, (1 Kings 13:18-19).
“The Man of God from Judah”
The story begins with the man of God being sent from Judah to Bethel; the word of God was spoken at the altar as Jeroboam was standing by the altar making an offering. The man of God cried out against the altar, ‘Thus said the LORD, “Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall be burnt upon thee.’ ”
Not only did God send a word, but he also sent confirmation of his word by miracles, signs and wonders. The man of God said, “This is the sign which the LORD hath spoke: ‘Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out.’ ” AND IT CAME TO PASS. Because this message did not please Jeroboam, he put forth is hand from the alter saying, Lay hold of him (the man from Judah). Immediately the hand that Jeroboam put forth dried up, and he could not pull it in to himself. The altar tore, and the ashes poured out from it, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the LORD. The king then asked the man of God to intercede with the LORD his God and pray for his hand to be restored.” So the man of God interceded and the king’s hand was restored (v.4-6).
Next King Jeroboam invited the man of God to come home with him to eat, and to receive a gift. But the man of God refused, saying, “Even if you were to give me half your possessions, I would not go with you, nor will I eat bread or drink water here. For I was commanded by the Lord, not to eat bread or drink water or return by the way I came.” I did not quite understand why such specific details had to be told to the king. Why didn’t the man of God just say “I will not go with you and your gifts are unacceptable according to the word of the LORD?” But he said his peace and left taking a different road.
“BE CAREFUL WHO YOU LISTEN TO”
Now the sons of a certain prophet told their father all that the man of God had done and all that he said to the king. The old prophet asked which road did the man of God take, he got on his donkey and he went after the man of God. He found him sitting under an oak tree. And the conversation went like this…
“Are you the man of God who is from Judah?, the old prophet asked. The man from Judah replied, “Yes I am.” Then the old prophet invited him to come home with him for a meal. The man from Judah replied, “I cannot turn back and go with you, I cannot eat bread or drink water with you in this place”, because the word of the LORD told me not to. (This is my short version of their conversation). “TMI! He shared too much information! WHY!!”
Then the old prophet said “I am a prophet too, 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!” So the man of God returned the same way he came and ate and drank at his house. (v.19)
“WHY!?!? He did exactly the opposite of what God told him not to do! All because he believed that this old prophet had heard from the LORD too!”
Next the Bible tells us that while they were sitting at the table, the word of the LORD came to the old prophet. He cried out to the man of God, “This is what the LORD says: “You have defiled the word of the LORD and have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you. You came back and ate bread and drank water in the place where you were not suppose to. Therefore your body will not be buried in the tomb of your fathers.’ ”
When the man of God had finished eating and drinking, the old prophet saddled the donkey for him, and as he went on his way a lion met him on the road and killed him. Everyone who passed by saw the body, and reported it in the city where the old prophet lived. When the old (lying) prophet heard about it he said, “It is the man of God who defied the word of the LORD. The LORD has given him over to the lion, and the lion mauled and killed him, as the word of the LORD had warned him.” Then he got on his donkey and he went out and found the body thrown down on the road, with the donkey and the lion standing beside it. So the prophet picked up the body, laid it on the donkey, and brought it back to his own city to mourn for him and to bury him. Then he laid the body in his own tomb, and they mourned over him.
After burying him, he said to his sons, “When I die, bury me in the grave where the man of God is buried, lay my bones beside his bones. For the message he declared by the word of the LORD against the altar in Bethel and against all the shrines on the high places in the town of Samaria will certainly come true.” Even after this, Jeroboam did not change his evil way, but once more appointed priests for the high places from all sorts of people. Anyone who wanted to become a priest Jeroboam consecrated for the high places. This is the sin of the house of Jeroboam that led to its downfall and to its destruction from the face of the earth.
In Conclusion of the Matter…
The key point in this story is obedience. Whenever God gives specific instructions they must be carried our precisely. The man from Judah was told where to go, what to do, what to say and who to deliver the message to. He was instructed not to eat, drink or accept gifts. He was also told not to return the same way that he had gone. While he was at the altar, the man of God adamantly delivered the message to the king. The king was angered and he tried to lay his hand on the man of God, and when he did that his hand withered. Also the altar split and ashes poured out from the altar as confirmation of the prophecy. The man of God interceded on the king’s behalf, in which God reversed the curse and the king’s hand converted back to normal. After this happened the king extended an invitation to the man of God, inviting him to dine with him, and he offered to give him a gift. This was the king’s way of offering payment for the miracle, but the man of God refused the kings offer just as he was instructed to do.
The splitting of the alter reminds me of Jesus as he hung on Calvary’s Cross; He cried out in a loud voice and gave up his spirit, and at that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, (Matt. 27:50-51 NIV). The rending of the veil signified that Christ, by his death, opened the way to God. We have an open door, by way of Jesus Christ, to the throne of grace and to the throne of glory hereafter. The rending of the veil in this account is a foreshadowing of the veil rending and a son being born to the house of David. This is an announcement of the Kingdom shifting hands.
I perceive that the greatest mistake that the man of God made was in listening and believing the old prophet. He believed this stranger and followed him, which was disobedience against God. It’s sad to say, but the man of God partially obeyed God, and partial obedience is disobedience. The death sentence was pronounced by the old prophet who told the lie to the man of God in the first place. It seems fair, but the point of the matter is that God does not cover sin, He deals with it.
1. Man’s word should never override God’s Word. Just because a man claims to be a prophet, who has heard a word from God concerning you, (in this case the old prophet claims that an angel spoke to him), you should have reservations and doubts of the validity of the person and the message. Believing a lie could harm you, or possibly cost you your life.
2. We should never place our trust in man who has but breath in his nostrils. Jere. 17:9, tells us that the human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. This certainly describes the old prophet’s actions. We must always place our trust in God. God loves us and He cares for us. Only God knows the end of a matter at the beginning.
3. We must test every spirit to see if it is from God (1 John 4:1). There are many false prophets in the world (Matt. 7:15). Spiritual red flags are warnings of on-coming danger. Perhaps the man from Judah had grown weary after his journey and was weak in his flesh. When we are weary and tired after a long journey, we can become weak in our spiritual senses, therefore, needing to be refreshed. This could possibly be why the man of God let his guard down.
4. It is a fact that we are most venerable to temptation when we are weak and we need to be refreshed. This reminds me of Jesus being led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit. He was there for 40 days and 40 nights. Jesus in his humanity, was tempted by satan during this time. But, Jesus fought the devil’s lies with God’s Word, and after this, the Bible says, “Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended to him, (Matt. 4).
5. Most notable, God’s Word is not for sale. We never charge a fee for telling others about the love of God and all that He has done for us. 2 Cor. 2:17 reads, “Therefore, we do not peddle God’s Holy Word. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.”
This lesson is a test about obedience. Whatever God last instructed you to do, do it. He never contradicts His word, and he always gives confirmation by His Spirit. In this Biblical account, a signs accompanied the prophecy. It’s not that we (believers) need proof, but it is for the unbelievers and the unbelieving believers that signs are given; “For we walk by faith and not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). God’s word will not come back void (Isa. 55:11). If the Lord sent you to a particular place, and he told you not to return by the same way route, “don’t return by the same route”. Psalms 32:8 tells us that the Lord will instruct and teach us in the way that we should go.
There is a popular phrase that is often repeated by many, it’s used to appease a person who may be in distress about a situation. They are told, “The Lord will make a way.” This statement is passé because The Lord has made a way. Jesus is the Way. He is the only way! The veil has been torn and we now have access to the Father. The Lord Jesus invites you to partake of His bread and water. The water that He gives is living water that will quench your thirst. The bread that He offers is the bread of life. You will never hunger or thirst again. Now is the time of Salvation.