So it was, after he had eaten bread and after he had drunk, that he saddled the donkey for him, the prophet whom he had brought back. When he was gone, a lion met him on the road and killed him. And his corpse was thrown on the road, and the donkey stood by it. The lion also stood by the corpse. 1 Kings 13:23-24
What’s Going On?
There was an unnamed man of a God; a prophet who was sent to King Jeroboam to deliver a message. King Jeroboam was not pleased with the word that he heard and with a pointed finger he directed his guards to seize the man of God. Incredibly, the King’s hand withered right there on the spot. A distraught Jeroboam pleaded with the man to pray for restoration. The man did and God restored his hand. In gratitude, Jeroboam invited the man home to dine with him. The offer was declined.
“If you were to give me half your house, I would not go in with you; nor would I eat bread nor drink water in this place. For so it was commanded me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘You shall not eat bread, nor drink water, nor return by the same way you came.’ ” 1 Kings 13:8-9
So, the man of God begins his journey home when an old prophet gets wind of what happened and sets out to find him. He discovers him on the road and like Jeroboam, invites him home to eat. Innocent enough we might think, but the man refuses the invitation citing the same reason as before.
For I have been told by the word of the Lord, ‘You shall not eat bread nor drink water there, nor return by going the way you came.’ “1 Kings 13:17
For whatever the reason (we’re not given a biblical explanation), the old prophet lies to the man….
“I too am a prophet 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.’ ” 1 Kings 13:18
The man of God is swayed by this old prophet and goes to his home to eat. As the meal is finished, the events turn ugly. The old prophet now makes this proclamation:
“Thus says the Lord: ‘Because you have disobeyed the word of the Lord, and have not kept the commandment which the Lord your God commanded you, but you came back, ate bread, and drank 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.’ “1 Kings 13:21-22
Without a doubt this is a bizarre story. However it is recorded in the Bible for a purpose. There is a lesson revealed in the conduct of the unnamed man of God and it’s important to us, because as men and women of God, we are similarly vulnerable. The man knew the word of God and he allowed himself to be swayed by someone he respected or deemed to be unthreatening. The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatians reminds us that if anyone at all, Christian or otherwise, preaches any other Gospel then the one we received, that person (or angel) shall be accursed; the implication being that we should avoid them. Why would Paul share such a thing? Because he knew it would happen over and over again.
Peter counsels us in 1 Peter 5:8 to, ‘Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.’ I can’t help but think that Peter was familiar with the story in 1 Kings 13. King David gives us this admonition:
The works of the Lord are great, Studied by all who have pleasure in them. His work is honorable and glorious, And His righteousness endures forever. He has made His wonderful works to be remembered… Psalms 111:2-4
The Psalmist tells us the works of God are great and that we should study them. Given the fact that there are false christs, false prophets, ignorant Christians, and roaring lions who seek to devour us, it is good advice to be well versed in God’s word. How else are we to know when we are being misinformed, misled, or lied to?
For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe. 1 Thessalonians 2:13
These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson