VIGILANCE THE PRICE OF PEACE (PART 2) – A PROPHET IS SEDUCED TO DISOBEY GOD’S COMMAND (1 KING 13:11-22)
Dear Members in Christ,
Vigilance the price of peace (Part 2) – A prophet is seduced to disobey God’s command (1 King 13:11-22)
In the previous article, we have the account of the unnamed prophet who was given a commandment by God to pronounce a prophecy of judgement to King Jeroboam. This servant of God was courageous and spoke firmly and clearly to Jeroboam. The prophet was unafraid before the idolatrous king, he spoke the truth of God as it should be told without fear or favor. However, King Jeroboam issued a surprising invitation to this prophet. Instead of a punishment, the prophet was invited to refresh himself in Jeroboam’s palace, and a reward was promised to the prophet.
But, before the prophet had embarked on this mission, there was an accompanying commandment about his journey. The man of God was commanded to prophesy against Jeroboam and he must not tarry in his journey. He must not so much as delay to eat, drink or use the same route on his return journey. The Bible records this command given to the prophet,
“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.” 1 Kings 13:8,9
A. It is easy to spot danger when it is obvious
It is seen from the Bible passage above that the man of God remembered and obeyed God’s commandment. He was quick to obey, asserting that even if Jeroboam had given him half of all his wealth, he will not go with him. This unnamed prophet could speak the exact commandment God had given him, that is, “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.”
In the face of an idolatrous king with whom he had pronounced judgement and desecration of the graves of the false prophets, this man of God was alert and remembered clearly what he was commanded to do. It may be that King Jeroboam’s invitation for refreshment and reward was just a trick to entrap this prophet. The king though idolatrous might have mused that it was unwise to harm a prophet in front of the many witnesses. Perhaps, the prophet thought that the king could dispose of him once he was invited to the palace. Vigilance is at its highest when we are surrounded by obvious danger.
This is often the situation Christians find themselves entangled in. We are watchful when we are faced with obvious spiritual danger. We shun places of entertainment which are ungodly and sinful. We stay clear of houses of drunkenness and gambling and close relationships and perhaps romance with unbelievers. These are the obvious dangers that surround us in our walk on this earth. But read on! Let us be vigilant also to hazards to our spiritual lives that are less obvious.
B. The prophet of God falls for a ploy of friendship
There was an old prophet that heard about all the words and works of this unnamed prophet and he came to meet this man of God from Judah. The old prophet offered an invitation to the man of God from Judah, but he answered him in very precise terms, saying, “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). He was watchful and remembered the commandment of God. But the old prophet spoke a lie to seduce him, and he fell for the trick.
“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. So he went back with him, and did eat bread in his house, and drank water.” 1 Kings 13:18, 19
Very sadly, the man of God from Judah fell for a trick that is as old as Eden. The old prophet claimed to have the word of God to invite him home, contrary to what God have commanded the man of God from Judah. The consequence is death for this prophet. It is prophesied that “thy carcase shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers.” 1 Kings 13:22.
You see, the man of God fell for the ploy because the old prophet said, “I am a prophet also as thou art.” This statement disarmed him completely, leading to his death.
The lesson for us is, we must be watchful against foes that are disguised as allies. Paul faced the same situation warning the Ephesians day and night for three years (Acts 20:30,31). They claim to preach from the Bible, but theirs is a message offering health and wealth instead of repentance from sin. False ministers are deceptive and the Bible warns us against such. They may appear to preach the truth, and offer kindness and hospitality, but they are in fact enemies of the Gospel. The Bible teaches us instead to take a stand for separation. We must be careful and watchful as we progress in our spiritual walk. Vigilance is the price for peace. Destruction awaits those who slumber on their spiritual watch! May God help us. Amen.
In His Service,
Rev. Lim Seh Beng, Pastor