The Young Prophet Listens to the Wrong Man
May 13 - Nº 133 1 Kings 13:11-32
There was an old prophet who lived at Bethel. His sons had seen the young prophet from Judah bravely approach King Jeroboam at the altar and accuse him of sinning (see #132 - Jeroboam's Sin). They knew that God had sent this man because of the spectacular signs that accompanied his message. When they got home, they told their father everything. Immediately the old prophet wanted to know where this young man was. Then he told his sons to saddle his donkey so he could look for him. He found the young prophet sitting under an oak tree resting. “Are you the prophet of God who came from Judah?” he asked. “I am,” the young man replied. So the elderly prophet invited him to his home for a meal. The young man answered exactly as he had answered King Jeroboam’s request (see #132). He said, “I have been told by God not to stay and eat bread or drink water with anyone. He also told me to return to Judah a different way than I came.” The old prophet replied, “I am a prophet just like you. But the Lord sent an angel to me. He told me to come and get you and bring you back to my house so you can eat and drink with us.” This was a blatant lie! But the young prophet fell for it. Even though it contradicted the specific instructions God had given, he did not check with God. He went back to Bethel with the older prophet and ate bread and drank water in his house. While they were sitting at the table, the Lord began to speak through the older prophet. The old man cried out, “This is what the Lord says: ‘You have defied the word of the Lord and have not obeyed the command He gave you. You came back and ate bread and drank water in the place He told you not to. Now you will die and won’t be buried in your family’s grave in Judah.’” The younger prophet was certainly confused, but he finished eating. Then the old prophet saddled his donkey for him. As he traveled home, a lion jumped on the young prophet and killed him. His body fell on the road, and both the donkey and the lion stood next to it guarding it. Some travelers saw this strange scene and reported it to the people in the town. When the old prophet heard about it, he said, “I know who the young man lying on the road is. He is the prophet who disobeyed God.” He quickly saddled his donkey and went to the scene. When he arrived, the animals were still standing next to the young prophet. The lion had not devoured the body nor attacked the donkey. The older prophet took the younger prophet’s body to his home. He buried it in the grave he had reserved for himself. Then he mourned as if he had lost a brother. He told his sons that when he died he wanted to be buried next to this prophet of God. He realized that the young prophet’s message concerning the priests and the altar at Bethel (see #132) would certainly come true.
This strange, bewildering story teaches us not to let anyone else determine what God’s will is for our lives. If someone tells us to do something, we must check it out with God. If it is contradictory to His Words in the Bible, we must not do it! We must study the Bible and talk to God personally. We must obey what He says instead of listening to the reasoning of others—no matter who they claim to be.