A Tale of Two Prophets


1 Kings 13

11 There was an old prophet living in Bethel, whose son came and told him all that the man of God had done that day in Bethel. When his sons repeated to their father the words the man of God had spoken to the king, 12 the father asked them, 'Which way did he go' So his sons pointed out to him the road taken by the man of God who had come from Judah. 13 Then he said to his sons, 'Saddle the donkey for me.' When they had saddled it, he mounted 14 and followed the man of God, whom he found seated under a terebinth. When he asked him, 'Are you the man of God who came from Judah,' he answered.'Yes'" 15 Then he said, "Come home with me and have some bread." 16 'I cannot return with you or go with you, and I cannot eat bread or drink water with you in this place,' he answered, 17 "for I was told by the word of the Lord: You shall not eat bread or drink water there, and do not go back the way you came." 18 But he said to him, “I, too, am a prophet like you, and an angel told me by the word of the Lord: Bring him back with you to your house to eat bread and drink water.” But he was lying to him. 19 So he went back with him, and ate bread and drank water in his house. 20 But while they were sitting at table, the word of the Lord came to the prophet who had brought him back, 21 and he cried out to the man of God who had come from Judah: “Thus says the Lord: Because you rebelled against the charge of the Lord and did not keep the command which the Lord, your God, gave you, 22 but returned and ate bread and drank water in the place where he told you, Do not eat bread or drink water, your corpse shall not be brought to the grave of your ancestors.” 23 After he had eaten bread and drunk, they saddled for him the donkey that belonged to the prophet who had brought him back, 24 and he set out. But a lion met him on the road, and killed him. His body lay sprawled on the road, and the donkey remained standing by it, and so did the lion.

25 Some passersby saw the body lying in the road, with the lion standing beside it, and carried the news to the city where the old prophet lived. 26 On hearing it, the prophet who had brought him back from his journey said: 'It is the man of God who rebelled against the charge of the Lord. The Lord has delivered him to a lion, which mangled and killed him, according to the word which the Lord had spoken to him.' 27 Then he said to his sons, "Saddle the donkey for me," and they saddled it. 28 He went off and found the body sprawled on the road with the donkey and the lion standing beside it. The lion had not eaten the body nor had it harmed the donkey. 29 The prophet lifted up the body of the man of God and put it on the donkey, and brought him back to the city to mourn and to bury him. 30 He laid the man's body in his own grave, and they mourned over it: 'Alas, my brother!' 31 After he had buried him, he said to his sons, "When I die, bury me in the grave where the man of God is buried. Lay my bones beside his. 32 For the word which he proclaimed by the word of the Lord against the altar in Bethel and against all the temples on the high places in the cities of Samaria shall certainly come to pass."

An old prophet from Bethel finds out about the prophecy that the man of God had spoken to the king. He had his sons saddle-up his donkey for him, and rode to find the man of God. The old prophet found the man of God sitting underneath an oak tree. He asked him to have dinner with his sons and him at his house. The man of God told him that he had been instructed by God not return with him or to go with him; and that he was not to eat bread or drink any water in this place.

The old prophet invited the man of God just like Jeroboam had, but this time he didn't refuse because the old man had told him that an angel sent from the Lord had said, 'Bring him back with you to your house that he may eat bread and drink water.' However, the old prophet was lying to him. The old prophet gave a false word from God, and tricked the man of God. He tried to persuade the man of God to change his course from doing what God had originally told him to do. The old prophet had remained faithful to the Lord, but had fallen from his steadfastness lately.

Remember that satan can come as a messenger of light. In this case, the false word spoken by the old prophet came in the form of something true, but it was deception. If we have received something from God as a fresh word, we must act upon it, and not be misled by others. God never contradicts himself when dealing with his servants.

As we know from the scriptures above all were sitting at the table eating, and then a true word came to the old prophet:
'Thus says the Lord; ‘Because you have disobeyed the word of the Lord, and have not kept the commandment which the Lord your God commanded you, but you came back, ate bread, and drank water in his place of which the Lord said to you, "Eat not bread, and drink no water, your corpse shall not come to the tomb of your fathers."

At first the old prophet had spoken a lie, and now he had spoken a true word from God. This is an important principle of how God works. We think that strict judgment should begin with the ungodly, but God often uses strict judgment with his own. (1 Peter 4:17.) This is because he knows that some people won't be reached when his people live in compromise and disobedience.

Fortunately, we live in an era and time when our sins are forgiven through the blood of Christ. Even when we err by speaking something that is false, God in his infinite mercy forgives us. However, those that continue down this path must reap the repercussions of sinning against the Holy Spirit. In time the slippery slope that they have been traveling upon, will cause them to be cut-off from God.

Stephen Hanson