We are not given his name – only a description. He was ‘the man of God’. His part in the drama of salvation history is fleeting, but we can learn a lot from his story.
I want to raise an important point. If God calls us to do something, we need to complete it and not allow ourselves to be way-laid by something that sounds good, but may not be from the Lord.
I will try to summarize 1 Kings Chapter 13. Jeroboam was king of Israel – at that time the ten northern tribes, as distinct from the southern kingdom of Judah. Jeroboam had departed from the Lord’s ways and had established altars to worship false gods. He had led God’s people astray. God raised up a prophet – ‘the man of God’ – to bring a strong warning to the king, specifically against the profane altar. He came to Bethel, and in the course of the presentation of the message, God’s power was manifestly experienced. God had specifically warned the man of God not to eat bread or drink water or to return by the way he came, so when the king invited him home for lunch, he refused and headed home by another route. However there was a local man, described as ‘an old prophet’ who, for some undisclosed reason, upon hearing of the miraculous signs performed by the man, followed after him, and invited him to return and eat with him. He lied, saying that an angel had given him this word. So the man of God returned and ate – and then suffered the consequences of disobeying God. It’s quite a sobering story.
It made me think. I’ve spoken with a good number of Christians who have known a call of God to a course of action, a ministry to fulfil, a destiny to live – and yet have then been confused or even way-laid by someone bringing them a ‘word from the Lord’ which has actually not been what the Lord has said at all. Sometimes then the person is not only confused, or caught in fear of disobeying the new ‘word’, but sadly now in disobedience to the original command of the Lord.
I believe that if God has a word for us He tells us – in one way or another – directly. We know in our spirit that He has spoken. I also believe that He can use other believers to affirm or confirm that word, as they bring a prophetic utterance. I believe this is the right order. God speaks to us first, and prophecy from others will confirm the word He has spoken. We are then to follow through to completion all that He has asked of us.
Hence I am really cautious to test every word that a person brings to assess if it resonates with what the Holy Spirit is saying to my spirit.
Sadly, it appears that the ‘man of God’ in this passage, who had been doing so well, failed to check whether or not God had changed His orders, and acted according to a false word of prophecy, to his great loss.
Men and women of God, please be cautious to obey only the authentic word of the Lord.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Dad, please help me to know Your will and Your voice so that I may not be led astray by false words. Amen.
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