I Kings 13

If we offer to God that which is an abomination to Him (the worship of the flesh) the offerer will certainly fall under the wrath of God.

1 And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the LORD unto Beth-el: and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense.

2 And he cried against the altar in the word of the LORD, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall be burnt upon thee.

3 And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign which the LORD hath spoken; Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out.

4 And it came to pass, when king Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, which had cried against the altar in Beth-el, that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him. And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him.

5 The altar also was rent, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the LORD.

6 And the king answered and said unto the man of God, Intreat now the face of the LORD thy God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again. And the man of God besought the LORD, and the king’s hand was restored him again, and became as it was before.

7 And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward.

8 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:

9 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.

10 So he went another way, and returned not by the way that he came to Beth-el.

11 ¶ Now there dwelt an old prophet in Beth-el; and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Beth-el: the words which he had spoken unto the king, them they told also to their father.

12 And their father said unto them, What way went he? For his sons had seen what way the man of God went, which came from Judah.

13 And he said unto his sons, Saddle me the ass. So they saddled him the ass: and he rode thereon,

14 And went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak: and he said unto him, Art thou the man of God that camest from Judah? And he said, I am.

15 Then he said unto him, Come home with me, and eat bread.

16 And he said, I may not return with thee, nor go in with thee: neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place:

17 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.

18 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.

19 So he went back with him, and did eat bread in his house, and drank water.

20 ¶ And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came unto the prophet that brought him back:

21 And he cried unto the man of God that came from Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the LORD, and hast not kept the commandment which the LORD thy God commanded thee,

22 But camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water in the place, of the which the LORD did say to thee, Eat no bread, and drink no water; thy carcase shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers.

23 ¶ And it came to pass, after he had eaten bread, and after he had drunk, that he saddled for him the ass, to wit, for the prophet whom he had brought back.

24 And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him: and his carcase was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by the carcase.

25 And, behold, men passed by, and saw the carcase cast in the way, and the lion standing by the carcase: and they came and told it in the city where the old prophet dwelt.

26 And when the prophet that brought him back from the way heard thereof, he said, It is the man of God, who was disobedient unto the word of the LORD: therefore the LORD hath delivered him unto the lion, which hath torn him, and slain him, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake unto him.

27 And he spake to his sons, saying, Saddle me the ass. And they saddled him.

28 And he went and found his carcase cast in the way, and the ass and the lion standing by the carcase: the lion had not eaten the carcase, nor torn the ass.

29 And the prophet took up the carcase of the man of God, and laid it upon the ass, and brought it back: and the old prophet came to the city, to mourn and to bury him.

30 And he laid his carcase in his own grave; and they mourned over him, saying, Alas, my brother!

31 And it came to pass, after he had buried him, that he spake to his sons, saying, When I am dead, then bury me in the sepulchre wherein the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones:

32 For the saying which he cried by the word of the LORD against the altar in Beth-el, and against all the houses of the high places which are in the cities of Samaria, shall surely come to pass.

33 ¶ After this thing Jeroboam returned not from his evil way, but made again of the lowest of the people priests of the high places: whosoever would, he consecrated him, and he became one of the priests of the high places.

34 And this thing became sin unto the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth.

1 Kings 13:1-10 – ​Judgment upon Worthless Worship

   What a noble name for anyone to bear–a man of God! Yet we all might so bear the impress of God in our character that those who come in contact with us might feel that ineffable something which you cannot define, which does not need advertising, but which tells that the person who bears it is truly a child of God.
   The altar by which Jeroboam expected to consolidate his kingdom was the cause of its overthrow and disaster, until at last Israel was carried into captivity. When we turn from the fountain of living waters and hew out for ourselves broken cisterns that can hold no water, we start on a course of unfailing disaster and loss.
   Literal obedience to God is indispensable to those who would carry his messages. It was a fit and proper answer that the prophet, in the first instance, gave the king. He rightly told Jeroboam that he must abide by the exact terms of his commission, and that the bribe of half of Jeroboam’s house would not induce him to tarry even so long as to take a meal at the royal table. This minute and rigorous obedience stood out in striking contrast to the conduct of Jeroboam. God is exact and requires exact obedience.

1 Kings 13:11-19 – ​Led Astray by a False Messenger 
   The unnamed prophet from Judah had received distinct instructions not to eat bread nor drink water while on his divinely-commissioned errand. He was therefore justified in refusing the royal invitation; and it would have been well with him had he also refused the invitation of the old prophet, who followed him with the persistent invitation to return with him to his house. But the younger prophet failed, because the older man professed to speak by divine warrant and because the invitation chimed in with his own inclinations. As he sat there under the oak, tired and hungry, he was only too willing to believe that the prophet’s message was true, although it was altogether contrary to his own impression.
   When God has spoken to us, let us not dare to turn aside on the advice of others, however good they seem, even though their proposals may be draped with a show of religious phraseology. God does not say Yea or Nay; but all His commands, like all His promises, are Yea and Amen in Christ. In Him is no variableness, nor shadow cast by turning.

1 Kings 13:20-34 – ​Sign upon Sign Unheeded

   There is a tragic note in this paragraph. The man of God had performed God’s errand bravely and well, and his words were verified by the result; but he perished as a castaway. See I Corinthians 9:27. If only he had obeyed God’s word, as it came directly to himself, he might have been entrusted with many similar errands; but “Alas, my brother!” was a true elegy on the part of the man who had led to his downfall. How careful we should be never to dissuade a young soul from some heroic purpose which has formed itself in his imagination! Too many young men have perished on the threshold of their life-work, because older prophets have cried, “Spare thyself; have mercy on thy flesh.”
   God never goes back on His first instructions. If He has clearly spoken to your soul, refuse to take your marching-orders from others. No man, however aged or holy, has any right to intrude into the sacred dealings of God and the individual disciple. We may always detect the false voice, because its suggestions so exactly chime in with the weakness of our nature, in its desire to eat bread, drink water, and enjoy the society of our fellows.

1 Kings 13:21-22—Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed,… but camest back.

   We are inclined at first sight to pity this unknown prophet, and to justify his return; but as we look closer into the story, we not only discover the reason for the severe penalty that overtook him, but we are warned lest we make a similar mistake. When we have received a direct command fresh from the lips of Christ, we must act on it, and not be turned aside by a different suggestion, made to us through the lips of professing Christians. God does not vacillate or alter in the thing which proceeds from His mouth. When we know we are in the line of His purpose, we must not allow ourselves to be diverted by any appeal or threat, from whomsoever it may emanate. Deal with God at first-hand.
   The rule for determining the true worth of the advice which our friends proffer us, is to ask, first, whether it conflicts with our own deep-seated conviction of God’s will; and, secondly, whether it tends to the ease and satisfaction of the flesh, as the old prophet’s suggestion certainly did. Beware of any one who allures you with the bread and water that are to break your fast. That bait is likely enough to disturb the balance of your judgment. When a voice says spare thyself, be on the alert; it savors the things that be of man, not of those that be of God.
   Learn to deal with God at first-hand. Do not run hither and thither to human teachers, or to the Church. Be still before God, and what He says in the depths of thy soul, do. His Holy Spirit shall guide you into all truth; and when once His way has been revealed to thee, go straight on, listening to no other voice, however much it professes Divine inspiration.