[SW319] 02/23/2018 message notes by
Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2018
It is possible to be a dutiful man or woman of God, and yet blindly obey false prophets who speak words that are entirely contrary to the Word of the Lord. But there is a solution! I will show it to you as the Lord has shown me.
Text: 1Kings 13:1-18
Verse 1 — Now behold! Look! See! This is important! Here is a man of God, one who names himself as belonging to God — what we in the church would call a believer. He lives in Judah (southern Israel). By the word of the Lord, he dutifully went to Bethel, just over the border of northern Israel.
Two golden calves and altars were made and were being worshiped in northern Israel — one was made for the southern border of northern Israel, in Bethel, and another was made for the northernmost border, in Dan.
And by the word of the Lord — that is, he received a command from the Lord —he dutifully went to King Jeroboam. The man of God found Jeroboam offering incense at the altar of the golden calf in Bethel.
Note that “by the word of the Lord” is not commonly used for prophesying. This man of God received a command from the Lord and was able to speak what he heard, but there is no indication that he had a back-and-forth conversation with the Lord, as Samuel did from his youth and throughout his leadership of God’s people, per 1Samuel 3:3 (speak for Your servant is listening) and 1Samuel 8:7 (they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me as their King).
Verse 2 — And by the word of the Lord, the man of God dutifully cried against the altar of the golden calf. He spoke to it, saying a son shall be born to the house of David, named Josiah.What will Josiah do? He will sacrifice the idolatrous priests, who burned incense on you, O altar, and human bones will be burned on you, O altar (to defile you).
It was a powerful word. and indeed, it came to pass in 2Kings 23:15-16, when King Josiah did just according to the word the Lord had spoken to the man of God, and he had dutifully repeated.
Verse 3 — And the man of God dutifully spoke of a sign the Lord had spoken. He said, Behold, the altar shall be split apart and the ashes which are on it shall be poured out.
Verse 4 — Upon hearing this judgment, Jeroboam stretched out his hand and ordered the man of God to be seized. But as he stretched out his hand, it dried up (was withered). He could not pull it back into his robe, to hide God’s judgment upon him.
Verse 5 — At the same time, the sign came to pass. The altar was split and the ashes poured out. The sign confirmed that the words of the man of God were from the Lord.
Verse 6 — Jeroboam asked the man of God to entreat (soften the face of) the Lord YOUR God (for the Lord was not Jeroboam’s God), to pray that his hand be restored. So the man of God entreated the Lord, and the king’s hand was fully restored. The Lord permitted it, using it as a powerful sign that the man of God was speaking the Lord’s words to Jeroboam.
Verse 7 — Then King Jeroboam tempted the man of God. Come home with me, be refreshed (that is, strengthened, i.e., with food and drink), and I will give you a reward (gift).
NOTE: It is the same today. Satan will offer you a reward if you will agree to disobey what God has said, just as he did with Jesus Christ in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). But you will do as God the Son did, if you intimately know Him. Think on that!
Verse 8 — The man of God dutifully refused Jeroboam’s offer, saying he would not do so, even if the king gave him half the king’s house, nor would he eat bread or drink water in that place. Why?
Verse 9 — The man of God had received a specific command from the Lord to him, by the word of the Lord, “You shall eat no bread, nor drink water, nor return by the way which you came.”
Verse 10 — So the man of God dutifully left, and started on his way back to Judah, going a different way than the way he had come to Bethel.
Verse 11 — But that is not the end of what you are to behold, look at, and see!
An old prophet was living in Bethel. He was not identified as a man of God, nor as a prophet of the Lord. He was a false prophet, living in the southern worship center of the golden calves.
There is no evidence that the old prophet warned Jeroboam and the people of Northern Israel of their sin, nor was there any evidence that he ever urged them to repent. Such is the way of false prophets.
But the old prophet’s sons told him about the deeds that the man of God did on that day in Bethel. And so he was curious. He was not seeking fellowship with the man of God, for he was not a man of God.
The old prophet did not worship the Lord. Instead, he compromised with, participated in and celebrated the worship of the golden calf at Bethel, by not warning the people and urging them to repent. Thus, there could be no fellowship between him and the man of God.
Verses 12-14 — The old prophet had his sons saddle a donkey, and he left to find
the man of God. He found him sitting under an oak, and asked, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?” The man of God said, “I am.” Certainly, the Lord had worked great things and spoken great words through him!
Verse 15 — But the old prophet, who was not of God, then asked him to come home with him, and eat bread. Note that the man of God did not warn the old prophet of his sin, nor did he urge him to turn from it and repent.
Verses 16-17 — The man of God told him he could not eat bread or drink water in that place, and repeated the command the Lord had given him, that he was not to eat bread nor drink water, and not to return to Judah by going the way by which he came.
Verse 18 — But now the old prophet, who was not a man of God, lied to him. He claimed to be a prophet like the man of God. But he was a false prophet. It was obvious by his actions. But the man of God had been shown to be dutiful to the Lord.
Then the false prophet lied to him again, saying that an angel spoke to him by the word of the Lord (it sounded legitimate) and that the angel said to bring the man of God back to the old prophet’s house, that he may eat bread and drink water.
Verse 19 — So the man of God went back with the false prophet, even though the old prophet’s words directly contradicted the command that the Lord had given him. Why did he go with the old prophet, after having dutifully obeyed the Lord up to that point?
Blind obedience. He had no discernment that this man was a false prophet, and that the false prophet’s words contradicted the command of the Lord. He should have known that the Lord never contradicts Himself.
But the man of God did not know the Lord intimately. There was no back-and-forth communication between the Lord and him. So he had no spiritual discernment, and blindly obeyed the false prophet’s lie.
The man of God could not discern that
1) the old prophet was a false prophet, which was obvious by the situation,
2) that God does not contradict Himself, and
3) therefore, he should never obey a so-called “word” that is directly contrary to what the Lord commanded him to do.
So, by blindly obeying the false prophet, he sinned against the Lord. The man of God disobeyed the direct command of the Lord.
Beloved, when you have no spiritual discernment, it is because you do not intimately know the Lord. So, you may dutifully serve the Lord, but then blindly obey whoever else comes along with a “Thus says the Lord,” even though it directly contradicts the Word of God. And you will sin again the Lord. But there is a solution!
Verses 20-22 — After the man of God disobeyed the Lord’s command to him, a true word from the Lord came through the false prophet (the Lord can even speak through a donkey, as His angel did to Baalam in Numbers 22:28).
What was the word? It was a judgment from the Lord, upon the man of God!
Because he disobeyed and did not observe the Lord’s commandment to him, the man of God would not be buried in Judah, in the grave of his fathers. That meant the man of God would die in Bethel! It never would have happened if the man of God knew the Lord intimately, and thus had the Lord’s discernment.
Verses 23-24 — Once you disobey a direct commandment of the Lord, it snowballs. You disregard further words from the Lord, having no sense of having sinned. Behold!
The man of God disregarded this word of Lord’s judgment upon him. He was confident that he was a man of God. The Lord had used him mightily! He was sure that he would be able to return home. Note that the man did not repent, nor did he cry out for mercy from the Lord. He thought he was still a man of God.
How ironic! He believed a false word from the false prophet, but did not believe a true word spoken by the Lord through the false prophet. It is evidence that he had no intimacy with the Lord, and thus, no spiritual discernment or sense of wrongdoing.
So, after disobeying the Lord’s command by eating and drinking, he decided to return to Judah. Again, he still did not repent for returning and eating and drinking. He did not ask the Lord to have mercy on him.
And the false prophet assisted him in his continued disobedience, giving him a donkey so the return to Judah would be easier and faster. But the Lord, and the false prophet through whom He spoke, had told the man of God that he would not be buried in Judah!
So, on the man of God’s journey back to Judah, a lion killed him, just as the Lord had said. The lion did not kill the donkey, and both the lion and the donkey stood over him. Lions kill and eat, but the lion did not kill and eat the donkey. Lions leave and look for other prey, but the lion did not leave. It was a sign from the Lord, of His judgment on the man of God for disobeying His direct command.
Verses 25-31 — When the old prophet heard he had been killed by a lion, he went to the scene and brought the man of God’s body back to Bethel. Note that the false prophet never repented for lying to the man of God.
And people came and mourned the man of God there — alas, my brother! He had not been their brother, but now he was. Why? Like them, he disobeyed the Lord!
They even made a monument to him, and 276 years later, King Josiah asked about (see 2Kings 23:17) and was told about the man of God.
Verse 32 — Despite all of this, the old false prophet knew that the words spoken by the man of God to Jeroboam would come to pass. But note that even knowing the word would come to pass, the false prophet never repented, nor did he warn the people of their sin and urge them to repent.
Verses 33-34 — And Jeroboam remained unrepentant and sinned even greater sins. The Lord had given the word. Jeroboam and his house would be blotted out and destroyed from the face of the earth, for He knew Jeroboam would never repent.
So, what is the solution for you, today, so that you have a 24/7 back-and-forth conversation with the Lord, and so that you have spiritual discernment and do not fall for the lies of false prophets?
By being transformed FROM being a dutiful servant of the Lord INTO a servant of the Lord who intimately knows Him! But how does that transformation happen?
Now, behold, look, see! This is important!
Ask your Father in heaven (Luke 11:13) to give you the Holy Spirit. Then, stay and wait for His promise — the baptism and infilling of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5). When the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit dwell within you, large and in charge (John 14:23), you are no longer blind, but are able to clearly behold, look and see!
The Holy Spirit teaches you all the truth (John 16:13). He gives you a purified heart that serves only the Lord, and He gives you the Lord’s discernment — spiritual discernment — so you immediately detect the lies of false prophets and their boss, who is Satan himself.
Beloved, my fellow believer, cry out today, for we live in a day of many false prophets who lead many dutiful but blind servants astray. Amen, Lord Jesus. So be it!