by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: I Kings 13:1-10
I. This is a story about two men, who remain nameless. One young and another old.
A. Both are prophets. One is a good man and the other is a liar.
B. One was selected to carry a message and the other was not.
C. One dies, but not the one you would think.
II. The problem
A. Jeroboam built an idol to keep his people from traveling to Judah - I Kings 12:25-30
B. Further, he set up his own priesthood and instituted feasts similar to the ones God had established - I Kings 12:31-32
III. The solution
A. God sent a young prophet up from Judah to confront Jeroboam - I Kings 13:1-3
B. The king reached out to grab the prophet, but with disastrous results - I Kings 13:4-5
C. The king was forced to ask for mercy - I Kings 13:6
D. But here is where it takes a strange turn - I Kings 13:7
1. Why would the king ask the man who just proved his false religion to be false and showed great power to come for dinner?
2. Perhaps it was an opportunity to arrest him
3. But I suspect the king desired to use his acceptance as a way to soften what happened.
a. “It’s not all that bad. After all, he was willing to come to dinner, so we are still friends.”
E. But God had thought of this in advance and gave warning - I Kings 13:8-10
IV. Plot Twist
A. An old prophet in Bethel heard about what the prophet from Judah had done - I Kings 13:11-13
1. There are many speculations why he went after the prophet
2. But notice that he lives in the town where the idol was set up
3. There is no record of him saying anything against it
4. And while he was “at the scene” God chose a man from Judah to face down the king
B. He found the young prophet resting under an oak tree - I Kings 13:14-19
1. Though the young prophet explained his requirements, the old prophet lies to him
2. What is wrong here?
a. The young prophet accepts the lie! He doesn’t even check.
b. He knew what God said. He already turned down the king.
(1) So why did he accept this invitation?
(2) Perhaps because it was from a fellow prophet
(3) Perhaps he thought his mission was done, but he did initially decline, though the fact that he stopped seems to indicate that he was finished.
C. God delivers a message through the old prophet - I Kings 13:20-22
1. Why was it so bad?
2. It was a violation of God’s command, true
3. But it also goes back to why he wasn’t to eat with the king. Here was a prophet who apparently had accepted the idolatry in his own town. Staying showed a measure of acceptance. He did not leave with the rest - II Chronicles 11:13-17
D. The young prophet is killed - I Kings 13:23-25
1. Notice that the lion killed the man, but not the donkey.
2. Notice also that the lion did not eat the man but stood by the body
3. Clear evidence that this wasn’t a chance event, and witnessed by several men
E. The old prophet buries the body - I Kings 13:26-32
1. Notice the lion was still there when the prophet came and fetched the body
2. The prophet placed the body in his own grave and mourned over what happened
a. Perhaps the old prophet realized that he was responsible for this man’s death
b. He tried to make up for his sin, but it was too late.
V. It seems so unjust!
A. It is the old prophet who lied, but it was the young prophet who died.
B. The young prophet had done what God asked. He made a mistake in listening to the lie of the old prophet.
1. But that is the point. He demonstrated twice that he knew what was expected of him.
2. He became careless.
a. He not question the old prophet’s lie
b. He accepted the word of a man over what he knew was what God had said (and was verified by the miracles)
c. He stopped to rest before his task was completed. After all, he wasn’t all that far from Bethel.
d. It looks like a mixture of pride in what he done and wanting to have someone to talk to who “knew the trade.”
C. The young prophet’s death became another piece of evidence that God was not going to accept the idolatry of Jeroboam.
1. Sadly, it made no impression on Jeroboam - I Kings 13:33-34
2. He even tried squash all knowledge of what happened
VI. What do we learn?
A. God means precisely what He said - Numbers 23:19
1. There are reasons for God’s commands - I Corinthians 14:33
2. If someone tries altering God’s will, even unintentionally, God will straighten matters out
B. There are liars among those who appear to be righteous - I John 4:1
C. We cannot participate in or support sin - Ephesians 5:11
D. The greatest time of danger is when you think you are not in danger and when you think you have free time - I Corinthians 10:12
1. Satan doesn’t give up just because you struck a blow against him - I Peter 5:8-9
E. It doesn’t matter how much good you did or if you were a believer - Ezekiel 18:24
1. This man had courage. He was dedicated to God.
2. He delivered his message with force in an unmistakable manner
3. But he slipped!
F. It matters that you finish what you started - Revelation 2:10
F. There is a reason both prophets remain nameless -- both disobeyed God -- but their story was too important to die in obscurity - I Corinthians 10:11-12