Spiritual Deception, Part 1

It’s an obscure little story tucked inside of 1 Kings 13.

Jeroboam was on the throne, and he was deeply involved in idol worship. God sent a prophet to warn the king. It’s interesting that this prophet is only known as “a true prophet of God.”

I’d love to know his actual name.
What he looked like.
A little more about him.

But we do know is that he’s a young adult, he’s serving God and God is greatly blessing his ministry.

God gave him specific instructions:
“When you prophesy to King Jeroboam, don’t eat or drink, and return home on a different route from which you went.”

The true prophet of God prophesied to Jeroboam, and the king stretched out his hand in anger and yelled, “Seize him!” But as he did this, his hand immediately shriveled up and he couldn’t retrieve it.

Jeroboam begged the prophet to seek healing from God. And God moved through the prophet to immediately restore the king’s hand.

In gratitude, Jeroboam invited the prophet to dinner and revealed that he wanted to reward him. But the prophet told him he was not to eat or drink, and he left on a different route from which he’d entered the city.

This is where the story takes an interesting turn!
There was an old prophet living in Bethel who had heard what happened and found the true prophet of God sitting under a tree. “Come home with me and let me feed you,” he invited.

The true prophet refused and explained God’s instructions.
The old prophet said, “But I’m also a prophet of God! And God spoke through an angel to me—telling me to invite you into my home.”

So the true prophet of God went home with the old prophet.
They ate together, and during dinner the old prophet said, “This is what the Lord says: You have defied the word of the Lord and have not kept the command He gave you. You came back and ate bread and drank water in the place where He told you not to eat or drink. Therefore you’re going to die far from home.”

The true prophet left immediately but was killed by a lion.


Are you thinking this is kind of a weird story?
And what can we learn from it?

We can actually learn several things! There are a lot of red flags in this event. Allow me to mention one now, and I’ll continue with next week’s blog, OK?

First Red Flag:

• The true prophet of God stopped to rest under a tree (1 Kings 13:14). When researching this passage, I discovered that the Hebrew meaning for sitting under the tree is a lot more than simply stopping for a breather.

He had actually stopped long enough to build shelter under the tree. In other words, he set up camp. He stayed a while—like a couple of months. He had constructed a temporary home.

He was in a place that wasn’t pleasing to God. He was still near the city of idols—the very place God sent him to prophecy against. He was to FLEE this wicked area. But instead, he stopped just outside the city and set up camp. He became comfortable living close to sin.

There’s nothing wrong with resting!

We NEED rest.

But when we rest in the wrong place, we’re setting ourselves up for trouble.

So think about it:

—Are you getting adequate rest? The better rested you are, the better equipped you are for doing what God has called you to do!

—Are you resting in the right place . . . or do you sometimes find yourself falling asleep too close to what God has forbidden?


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