In 1 Kings 13:10-34, we read the account of a prophet, a donkey and a lion. This is indeed an intriguing chronicle but also a very stern warning for us! What can we learn from this? A prophet being persuaded and deceived by his “believing brother”… could this in any way be happening in our time?
This is the chronicle of a prophet, a man of YHVH, who had a mission; YHVH gave him a task…
King Jeroboam was an apostate king. He was disobedient to YHVH’s commandments. He introduced all kinds of foreign worship ideas.
1 Kings 12:28
28 So the king consulted, and made two golden calves, and he said to them, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem; behold your gods, O Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt.”
He even changed some of the commanded feast days.
1 Kings 12:32–33
32 Jeroboam instituted a feast in the eighth month on the fifteenth day of the month, like the feast which is in Judah, and he went up to the altar; thus he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves which he had made. And he stationed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made. 33 Then he went up to the altar which he had made in Bethel on the fifteenth day in the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised in his own heart; and he instituted a feast for the sons of Israel and went up to the altar to burn incense.
Jeroboam was leading YHVH’s people astray. YHVH sent a prophet to him to warn him and to give him a sign.
1 Kings 13:1–3
1 Now behold, there came a man of Elohim from Judah to Bethel by the word of YHVH, while Jeroboam was standing by the altar to burn incense. 2 He cried against the altar by the word of YHVH, and said, “O altar, altar, thus says YHVH, ‘Behold, a son shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by name; and on you he shall sacrifice the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and human bones shall be burned on you.’ ” 3 Then he gave a sign the same day, saying, “This is the sign which YHVH has spoken, ‘Behold, the altar shall be split apart and the ashes which are on it shall be poured out.’ ”
Jeroboam was not happy about this! He stretched out his hand crying “Seize him!” His hand dried up!
1 Kings 13:4–5
4 Now when the king heard the saying of the man of Elohim, which he cried against the altar in Bethel, Jeroboam stretched out his hand from the altar, saying, “Seize him.” But his hand which he stretched out against him dried up, so that he could not draw it back to himself. 5 The altar also was split apart and the ashes were poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of Elohim had given by the word of YHVH.
Jeroboam asked the prophet to pray for him for healing which he did. Jeroboam then invited the prophet home to refresh himself, he even promised him a reward. The prophet refused and told the king and all around him that he was commanded not to eat or drink in that place.
1 Kings 13:9–10
9 “For so it was commanded me by the word of YHVH, saying, ‘You shall eat no bread, nor drink water, nor return by the way which you came.’ ” 10 So he went another way and did not return by the way which he came to Bethel.
That which YHVH commanded the prophet was now known to the people.
The prophet was obedient, he did not eat nor drink there and he went home another way. He probably thought that he had accomplished his mission. He was on his way home! He might even have felt a little proud of himself sitting under an oak, resting? Another prophet, from the area, arrived and invited him to his home. He was still faithful to his mission, because he repeated what YHVH commanded him.
1 Kings 13:16–17
16 He said, “I cannot return with you, nor go with you, nor will I eat bread or drink water with you in this place. 17 “For a command came to me by the word of YHVH, ‘You shall eat no bread, nor drink water there; do not return by going the way which you came.’ ”
This prophet identified himself with the other prophet saying: “I am also a prophet, like you.” After reassuring him that they were brothers in the faith, he deceived him with a lie: “an angel spoke to me by the word of YHVH, saying, ‘Bring him back with you to your house that he may eat bread and drink water.’ ” But he lied to him.”
The prophet being persuaded by his “believing brother”, went with him. He ate and drank with him against YHVH’s instructions. Then something unusual happened. YHVH spoke to the disobedient prophet through the apostate prophet. YHVH can use the unfaithful for His purpose.
1 Kings 13:21–22
21 and he cried to the man of Elohim who came from Judah, saying, “Thus says YHVH, ‘Because you have disobeyed the command of YHVH, and have not observed the commandment which YHVH your Elohim commanded you, 22 but have returned and eaten bread and drunk water in the place of which He said to you, “Eat no bread and drink no water”; your body shall not come to the grave of your fathers.’ ”
The disobedient prophet must have paled and trembled at these words, for he saddled his donkey and went away. He was punished for his disobedience on his way home. It cost him his life.
1 Kings 13:24
24 Now when he had gone, a lion met him on the way and killed him, and his body was thrown on the road, with the donkey standing beside it; the lion also was standing beside the body.
You might think that quite harsh, but consider that he, a man called by YHVH, publicly disobeyed YHVH’s commandment.
The people passing by saw the man, the donkey and the lion and related it to others in the city. The prophet who misled him was among these, and he explained to the people what happened.
1 Kings 13:26
26 Now when the prophet who brought him back from the way heard it, he said, “It is the man of Elohim, who disobeyed the command of YHVH; therefore YHVH has given him to the lion, which has torn him and killed him, according to the word of YHVH which He spoke to him.”
This apostate prophet must have felt very guilty, knowing that he led him astray, so he took his body and buried it in his own grave. He even mourned for him.
Needless to say, Jeroboam did not repent of his evil ways and that which was prophesied indeed came to pass.
What can we learn from this?
We have two prophets here, one faithful to YHVH’s word and another living within the borders of the apostate king, most probably following the ways of everyone in that place.
The faithful prophet did what YHVH commanded him to do; he was on his way home and was found by the apostate prophet resting under a tree. He was persuaded to act contrary to YHVH’s word by someone he believed to be a fellow believer. The apostate prophet said to him “I am a prophet like you”. He acted foolishly; he chose to leave YHVH’s protection in disobedience and was punished for it.
How often don’t we do the same? We have access to so many amazing teachings. We can type in a keyword on the internet and find many to choose from. How often do we listen to a teaching or read an article by a person professing to be someone like ourselves and just accept whatever they say as truth? Not knowing that it is not really in accordance with Abba YHVH’s Word. Do we even take out our own Scriptures to check the references for contextual or other errors in their interpretation?
We are living in the age of deception. Deception comes easily, even to the faithful. We need to make sure everything is according to Abba YHVH’s Word, not the word of man; even if it sounds amazing!
There is a phrase that is quite often used when teachers introduce something contrary to YHVH’s Word, they say: “YHVH made all things; therefore, it is good; the adversary stole it and corrupted it.” Abba YHVH does not change; He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow (Heb 13:8)! If He commanded us not to do something, He still doesn’t want us to do it. He won’t give us any new revelations contrary to His Word!
You, reading this, is that faithful prophet of YHVH, do not be let astray. ALWAYS prove everything against the Word of YHVH. If it is in any way contrary to the Word of YHVH, do not follow or share it!
Wrong is wrong! It is either in line with YHVH’s Word or not! There is no in between!
Be careful, prove everything!
1 Thessalonians 5:21–23
21 But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; 22 abstain from every form of evil. 23 Now may the Elohim of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Master Y’shua Messiah.
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