1 Kings 13 tells us about the Prophet Who Lied and the Prophet Who Died… the Li-ar and the Li-on… It’s an interesting story where the man of God goes to Jeroboam to tell him about his future and how it will come crushing down by a child named Josiah because of the evil he was doing. In fact, upon telling Jeroboam this, his hand withers and the very sign that the man of God predicted … “Surely the altar shall split apart, and the ashes on it shall be poured out.” (vs 3) … occurred. For this reason, Jeroboam offered to him to come home with him and refresh himself, but the man of God tells him that the Lord commanded him not to “eat bread, nor drink water, nor return by the same way you came.” (vs 9). And, this command he obeyed, until he met an old prophet from Bethel who told him that God said that he was to come home with him and eat bread. So, the man of God followed him even though he was lying; this lead to his death. It’s interesting that his punishment was being killed by a lion, but then upon his death, the lion and a donkey just stand by it. The lion doesn’t tear the corpse apart, and it doesn’t kill the donkey either, but both are standing there. In a sense, the lion was fulfilling the obedience to God that the man of God did not … by not eating.
Hopefully, the moral of the story is not lost on us as Christians. The man of God had a clear understanding of what God wanted him to do. He was to deliver His message and not eat bread, not drink water, and not return by the same way. If he had done those simple things, he would have lived. In fact, he survives his first test with Jeroboam. When Jeroboam, the evil king, wants to feed and refresh him, the man of God, with his defenses on high alert, says no and removes himself from the situation. But, when the man-of-God’s defenses are lowered … with someone he trusts (a fellow priest) … he allows himself to disobey what God told him to do. This is where it should “hit home” with us. God gives us simple commands, and in the face of pure evil, it can be very easy to shun the devil and his handiwork, but when the devil comes at us as seemingly trustworthy, and something we can empathize with, we must have our defenses on high alert. This is when we need it most! It may be a false teacher, or a friend or family member trying to get us to do something dishonest. Whatever it is, we must always remember that what God tells us through His word is more important than anything anyone else tells us.