In I Kings 13, we see the man of God out of Judah going to Bethel . He cries out against the altar, gives a sign, and restores the hand of Jeroboam all in the leading of the Lord.
King Jeroboam invites the man of God to come to his house to refresh himself and will reward him before his journey back home. But he is adamant and tells Jeroboam that if he was to offer him half of his house, he still wouldn’t go with him.
The man of God was given specific instructions from the Lord and he was going to do what was asked of him.
I Kings 13:9-10 (AMP)
9For I was commanded by the word of the Lord, You shall eat no bread or drink water or return by the way you came. 10So he went another way and did not return by the way that he came to Bethel.
There were two boys who saw all that had happened in Bethel. They ran to their father, who was an old prophet, and told him all that the man of God had done that day. The old prophet wanted to know which way he went and because the boys saw everything, they knew which way he headed. He decided to saddle up and go after the man of God.
The old prophet found the man of God sitting under an oak. He confirmed that he was the man of God and asked him to go home with him and eat bread. But the man of God told him that he couldn’t based on what the Lord told him to do.
I Kings 13:18 (AMP)
He answered, I am a prophet also, as you are. And an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying, Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied to him.
The man went back with the prophet and ate and drank in his home.
Why didn’t the man of God confirm with the Lord before going back with the prophet? Did he think that the prophet was sent by God to rescue him with food and drink? Was he fatigued and so thirsty that his focus was blurred once he heard the word “prophet?” Did the old prophet really think he was hearing from God and not any other voices? Whatever the situation was, scriptures states that “he lied.”
As Christians, we have to be very careful whose giving us advice, who professes to hear from God, and who are true followers of the Lord. Now, there are many who speak the truth from the Lord but it’s our responsibility to discern those people. Obviously, the man of God didn’t have the opportunity to scrutinize the old prophets’ character and really get to know him. But all we have to do is ask the Lord. “Lord, is this from you? Are we changing course? Do you want me to go back?” These simple questions could have saved his life and can save ours.
We need to remember when we’re under pressure; we may get confused about certain things. But we have to take a minute and maybe longer to reflect. We should never feel so much pressure that we can’t make a sound decision. When we feel this, don’t feel convicted to do something. Sometimes the Lord just wants us to think what we’re doing before we proceed.
Proverbs 3:5 (AMP)
Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.
Was the man of God being tested? He sure was! I have a rule of thumb that says, “When you’re uncertain what to do next, continue to do the last thing the Lord told you to do.” When He gives you further instructions, then you move onto the next step. Easier said than done because sometimes you’re doing the same thing for many years and don’t feel you’re progressing in life. The beauty of all this is that the Lord may be working on certain areas of our life and He allows us to dwell just a little longer.
Soon after, the old prophet prophesies again; but this time, he’s speaking from the Lord.
I Kings 13:21-22 (AMP)
21And he cried to the man of God who came from Judah, Thus says the Lord: Because you have disobeyed the word of the Lord and have not kept the command which the Lord your God commanded you, 22But have come back and have eaten bread and drunk water in the place of which the Lord said to you, Eat no bread and drink no water–your corpse shall not come to the tomb of your fathers.
We don’t know what the man of God was thinking at this point. But let’s imagine; confused, shocked, disappointed. Whatever he was feeling at the time, he realized at that moment that he messed up.
How do we feel when we mess up? We look back at the situation and go over it in our minds on how we could of dealt with it differently. Sometimes, we may be embarrassed and ashamed. Some of us may say, “I wish I could take it all back and start fresh.”
Proverbs 3:6 (AMP)
In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.
If we mess up, we can be assured that if we surrender and acknowledge Him, He’s ready to show us the way we need to go.
The man of God saddles up and starts his journey back home. While travelling he’s killed by a lion.
I Kings 13:24 (AMP)
And when he had gone, a lion met him by the road and slew him, and his corpse was cast in the way, and the donkey stood by it; the lion also stood by the corpse.
The old prophet knew this was from God. When he went to the location, the lion and donkey were standing by the corpse. The lion didn’t eat the corpse or hurt the donkey. The old prophet proceeded to bring the body back to the city and bury the man of God in his own grave. He, then, made a request to his sons when he dies to bury his bones with the man of God.
There are many voices that we can hear. We need to ensure we’re listening to the true voice; the Holy Spirit. We must have our eyes and ears in tune to the Gospel. Let’s ask the Lord to allow us to see with our eyes the things He wants us to see and hear with our ears the things that are from Him. We should always reference the Bible in thoughtful study. As we do this, let’s ask for wisdom, knowledge, and understanding.
Mark 13:22 (AMP)
False Christs (Messiahs) and false prophets will arise and show signs and [work] miracles to deceive and lead astray, if possible, even the elect (those God has chosen out for Himself).