One cannot help but remember a very strange event that happened in the Old Testament. There was a man of God sent to King Jeroboam to warn him not to practice the false religion that he was establishing. King Jeroboam rejected the message and told his men to “lay hold on him.” When King Jeroboam stretched out his hand against the man of God, his hand dried up so that he could not pull it back to himself. He asked the man of God to pray for his hand to be restored. And it was. The king had rejected the message for we read that he continued to practice his false religion (see 1 Kings 14:9).
After delivering the message and the healing of Jeroboam’s hand, the man of God prepared to return home. When the king invited the man of God to his home to refresh himself and give him a reward, the man of God declared that God had given him specific instructions: “For so was it charged me by the word of the LORD, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest” (1 Kings 13:9). And this what the man of God chose to do. Obey God.
While on his way home, “an old prophet in Bethel” heard what happened and invited the man of God to come home and eat with him. The man of God told the old prophet: “For it was said to me by the word of the LORD, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that thou camest” (1 Kings 13:17). Yet the old prophet answered, “… I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him” (1 Kings 13:18). Did you notice what happened? This old prophet stated that he had a “word of the Lord” declaring this man of God was to go home with him and eat. We read something that the man of God did not recognize. This old prophet “lied unto him.” The man of God listened to him, went to his house and ate with him. Then the man of God learned that he would die because of his disobedience to God. While on his way home, a lion met the man of God along the way and killed him. Then the lion stood by the dead man of God and his donkey as people walked by and saw.
Why did this man of God die? He had previously obeyed God by delivering His message to King Jeroboam and even prayed for the healing of his hand. Yet one who claimed to have a “word” from God for him had deceived him. He then disobeyed God’s Word that had been directly given to him.
Of all of the good the man of God had done, all saw when he had been deceived.
There are so many things that a Christian should learn from this incident:
- Satan wants to destroy Christians: see 1 Peter 5:8
- If Satan cannot destroy, he wants to deceive: see 2 Corinthians 11:3-4
- We are warned to not compromise, for our words become invalid: see Proverbs 25:26
- A warning to not even eat with one called a brother if they live a sinful lifestyle: see 1 Corinthians 5:11-13
- Be careful to whom you listen, watching out for false prophets: see 1 John 4:1
- Be careful to not listen to “seducing spirits” (means one who is misleading or an imposter): see 1 Timothy 4:1
- Understand false teachers are here and will try to deceive you: see 2 Peter 2:1-3
In this recollection of the man of God who succumbed to the old prophet’s deception, recognize something important. This man of God did not compromise his message (for it was from God); however, he did compromise his conduct. The man of God paid for his disobedience with his life. Remember: “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20).
It takes a commitment to live a life pleasing to God. Do not compromise or be deceived by a false teacher.
Have you committed to live a life pleasing to God in your word and conduct?