As Christians living in this world, we are to be prepared for the dangerous journey that is the Christian life. We are warned to not be beguiled by people who are not true Christians. Some of them may desire to lead you off the true path into darkness and despair. Be careful whose company you keep! (“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” 1 Corinthians 15:33).
One cannot help but remember an event in 1 Kings 13. A man of God was told to deliver a message to King Jeroboam. After he delivered the message, he was to return home. When the king invited him to his house, offering him a reward, see what the prophet told him. “8. And the man of God said unto the king, If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place: 9. 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 13:8-9). This man of God knew what God told him to do, and he returned home another way.
The Bible tells us there was an old prophet who heard all that the man of God had said and done to the king. The old prophet asked which way the man of God had gone, and he went after the man of God. Once he found him, he invited the man of God to come home with him and eat bread. Read the man of God’s reply. “16. And he said, I may not return with thee, nor go in with thee: neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place: 17. 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 13:16-17). The man of God planned to do just what God told him to do. What was the old prophet’s response? “He said unto him, 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).
Stop a minute to remember something important. The most important thing a Christian should do is to find out if the person giving the counsel is a true Christian (in this case a true prophet of the Lord). We are warned to test everyone you come upon, and do not be beguiled by those who make a show of religion but do not belong to Jesus. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). Remember: there are those who desire to lead you off the true Christian path. Be careful of the company you keep.
The man of God should have known to question this old prophet – to find out if he was a true prophet of the Lord. Instead, read what the man of God does. “So he went back with him, and did eat bread in his house, and drank water” (1 Kings 13:19). The man of God knew the king was godless, but he did not even question the man who claimed to be a prophet. The man of God was told that because he disobeyed the Lord, went back and ate bread and drank water, he would die (see 1 Kings 13:21-22). Wow! All because he disobeyed the Word of God. What happened? “And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him: and his carcase was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by the carcase” (1 Kings 13:24). Did you notice something strange? The lion killed him, yet he did not eat the man of God. The lion and the donkey stood by his body. Read what this man of God was then known as: “… It is the man of God, who was disobedient unto the word of the LORD: therefore the LORD hath delivered him unto the lion, which hath torn him, and slain him, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake unto him” (1 Kings 13:26).
Remember, we read that the man of God was told that he would die for disobeying the Word of God. Read a warning we find in 1 John 5:16 that there is a “sin unto death.” That sin is different for each individual. For this man of God, it was disobeying this Word from God that brought about his unusual death. This helps us understand the importance of knowing and doing what God’s Word tells us to do – no matter what anyone else tells us. “LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am” (Psalm 39:4).
Do you trust God and His Word, recognizing just how frail you are?