Life Lessons from the Unnamed Prophet of 1 Kings 13

Life Lessons from the Unnamed Prophet of 1 Kings 13
We should learn:
Believe God’s Word to you.
Confirm changes along the way through prayer and Bible study.
Do not place trust in anyone that contradicts God’s Word!

In order to understand God’s purpose for this prophet, we need to review the actions of King Jeroboam, ruler of the Northern Tribes. The nation of Israel had been divided due to the sin of King Solomon. The Southern Tribes would continue to be ruled by the house of David according to God’s unconditional promise, while the Northern tribes would be ruled by the house of Jeroboam based on a conditional promise, as long as they obeyed the Lord.
Jeroboam turned from obeying God almost immediately. His desire to establish himself as king, not understanding that God had already accomplished this, overcame any fear of God he may have had. He became afraid of man and what they would do so he set up a system of worship to satisfy the Northern tribes.

Rehoboam was offering sacrifices at this idolatrous altar in Bethel when the Prophet sent by God confronted him for his sin. We will take up the account in chapter 13 from this point. We see first the –

I. Promotion of idolatry by King Rehoboam.

1 Kings 12:27-31 If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah. Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And he set the one in Beth-el, and the other put he in Dan. And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan. And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi.

Rehoboam turned a true story, and it is true that the lie of the golden calf bringing them out of Egypt had been part of their history, into an idolatrous counterfeit religion. He would be described by the Lord from this time in history onward as the man who caused Israel to sin.
The courage of the Lord is seen invested in His man through the –

II. Prophecy against the false Gods.

1 Kings 13:1-3 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. 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. 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.

These words were both prophetic, being perfectly fulfilled through King Josiah three hundred and sixty years later, and in the present with the –

III. Proof of God’s judgment exacted upon the king and the altar –

1 Kings 13:4-6 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. 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.

Note the serious change in attitude –

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.
King Jeroboam, because of this public contest, was compelled to show appreciation to the prophet for his willingness to intercede with God in restoring his hand –

IV. Present offered to honour the prophet.

1 Kings 13:7-9 And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward. 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.

We must give notice that six times in these verses the prophet of God has been directed by the Word of God. Everything that he has done up to this point has been in obedience to the instruction of God. Now we turn to a most important lesson as we read of the –

V. Prophet’s sin through disobedience.

A. The Conversation.

1 Kings 13:10-17 So he went another way, and returned not by the way that he came to Beth-el. 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. 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. And he said unto his sons, Saddle me the ass. So they saddled him the ass: and he rode thereon, 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. Then he said unto him, Come home with me, and eat bread. 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: 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.

B. The Capitualtion.

1 Kings 13:18,19 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.

C. The Confrontation.

1 Kings 13:20-22 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: 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, 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. 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.

It seems like a great kindness to give this prophet of God the ass to ride back home with. The man, his sons, nor his servants accompanied him to retrieve the ass, so he may have thought that he would not get very far –

D. The Consequences.

I Kings 13:24-26 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. 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. 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.

And the false prophet ended up getting his donkey back and burying the prophet of God in his own graveyard.

Why did the old man lie to the prophet? Possibly because of his own guilt for not being true to God. He wanted the prophet to be disobedient, as he was. We do not really know why, but we do have lessons to learn –

We should learn:
Believe God’s Word to you.
Confirm changes along the way through prayer and Bible study.
Do not place trust in anyone that contradicts God’s Word!

About sjbjburke

I am an evangelist that enjoys Bible study and I look forward to posting outlines and receiving helpful comments. My wife and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary in 2010 and we enjoy serving the Lord together.
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