The old prophet and the man of God
By: Seth Gogo Egoeh
There is a passage in 1 Kings 13, I would like to share with you. It’s a passage that I think presents a challenge to us as Christians in the modern day.
During the wicked reign of King Jeroboam of Israel, Jehovah God sent a prophet unto Bethel to tell the king the calamity that would befall him and the city. King Jeroboam instituted idolatry which is an abomination unto God. And this made the whole Israel to sin before God. The king made up two golden calves and set up an altar for worship for Israel in Bethel and Dan (1 Kings 12:28, 29). He even made priests who are not of Levi descendant (1 Kings 12:31). God was angry with him and the children of Israel and it was because of this sin God sent the prophet to tell them the consequences of their sins. But, God forewarned him [the prophet] never to eat, drink nor go back the same way he came:
“And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward. 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; 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. So he went another way, and returned not by the way that he came to Bethel” (1 Kings 13:7-10, KJV).
The prelude to this was that, Jeroboam was burning incense on one of the the altars that he built [at Bethel] when the man of God brought the message. When the altar breaks, the King’s hand withers and he asked the prophet to intreat of the LORD. God healed his withered hand and as a form of appreciation to the man of God for intreating the LORD on his behalf, he wanted to reward him. But the man of God refused because of the saying God gave him. It was easy for him not to go with the king back to the town probably because the king is not a prophet nor a priest.
Nonetheless, in the same passage we heard that there was an old prophet in Bethel who was told by his children what the man of God [the sent prophet] did and what he said unto the king. But this old prophet decided to go and bring back the man of God. He succeeded in doing it (1 Kings 13:11-19). How did he do that? When he went and met the man of God under an oak tree, he lied to him, but the man of God was unable to determine that it was a lie.
“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 house, that he may eat bread and drink water. [But] he lied unto him.” [1 Kings 13:18, AKJV]
So, the man of God went back with the old prophet and did all that he was warned against. In the end, God punished him for his disobedience.
“And it came to pass, after he had eaten bread, and after he had drunk, that he saddled for him the ass, [to wit], for the prophet whom he had brought back. And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him: and his body was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it; the lion also stood by the body.” (I Kings 13:23-24, AKJV).
What lessons are there for us to learn? There are a lot of Christians around like the Old Prophet. How many times have we not heard that “is it not the same Bible which says you can do this and that…?” The Bible warned us against drinking; but how many times have we not heard from some Christians justifying drinking by saying that Paul told Timothy to take a little wine? How many times have we not seen many Christians backslided because they were not able to stick to God’s word? How many times have people not given in to the standards of this world? How many times have we not seen Christians justifying sex before marriage? When willl we wake up to the call of God?
What I have learnt from this passage is that “the Word of God can never contradict itself!”. Let us hold fast and firm to the Word of God. Let us stick to the Holy Spirit to guide and lead us in all our decisions.
Remember: GOD IS FOREVER FAITHFUL. Today, he is calling and reaching out to each one of us. He is ready to forgive us our sins and give us a new life if we repent (1 John 1:8-10). He is knocking at the door and waiting for us to allow him in to dine with us (Revelation 3:20).
MAY THE GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, THE LOVE OF GOD AND THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE HOLY SPIRIT BE WIT YOU ALL!