Just Because He’s an Older Prophet…

Doesn’t necessarily mean you should just *believe* everything he says. Here’s my entry from my journal today:

1 Kings 13 — God sent an unnamed prophet from Judah to Jeroboam, king of Israel, to warn him that his kingdom will be taken away due to his leading the people into idolatry. The prophet had been instructed not to eat or drink while there, so he refused the king’s offer of hospitality. However, on his return journey, another prophet in Bethel invited him in for a meal. When the original prophet refused, citing God’s command, this second prophet — whom the Bible calls “old” — claimed that an angel had spoken to him and ordered him to provide food and water for the prophet from Judah. That was a lie, but the (presumably younger) prophet believed him and conceded to his request. Of course, he was then reprimanded at dinner by prophetic word — through the lying prophet, no less! — that he would be punished for his disobedience. (Of course, he was then mauled by a lion and left by the side of the road for passersby to gawk at, and then buried far from his family’s grave.)

This is such an interesting story. I wonder about the old prophet in Bethel. Did he receive a word from God to invite the prophet from Judah in, so that God might test him? Then maybe he lied in the way he reported the command from the angel? Or was it completely made up, simply because he — for some reason — desperately wanted to share a meal with the young prophet? Maybe the older one hadn’t heard from God in many years, and, having heard about this young man who was sharing prophecy with royalty, he just wanted to be around him. To hear his story, to reminisce about times when God used to speak to him, too. Maybe he felt lonely and misunderstood, and just desperately craved fellowship.

Well, he seems to have gotten what he (presumably) asked for, because the prophet from Judah accepted the lie, and God even used the old prophet to deliver a message. Maybe it had been years — maybe he had been begging God to return and use him like He had in the past. What a sad answer, though. Well, that’s all speculation, I guess. Maybe he was simply a false prophet. 

The real lesson I see is in the prophet from Judah. Why did he so easily turn back on God’s command? Oh, maybe he resisted for a few minutes, bantering with the other guy — we don’t know. He did acquiesce in the end, though. Maybe it’s because the other prophet was older. The younger listened to the reasoning of the older — “I also am a prophet, like you” — and believed him. We don’t know if the younger consulted God, because it’s not recorded, but he either didn’t, or he did, but didn’t receive an answer.

The fact was that he already had an answer, straight from the mouth of God. You don’t mess with that. I think it was Paul who said that even if an angel tells you something different from what God has already revealed, still don’t listen. The enemy can disguise himself as an angel of light. This prophet from Bethel should not have listened to the older prophet. Cultural norms don’t matter; age doesn’t matter; leadership roles don’t matter. If someone is counseling you to disobey God, don’t listen! Evaluate the counsel you receive, regardless of who gives it, against the revealed truth of God. Never just blindly trust any leader. You’ve a brain, a Bible, and the Holy Spirit. Consult them, too. (Bible and Holy Spirit trump the leader and your brain, obviously.)

One thought on “Just Because He’s an Older Prophet…

  1. This is such an important reminder; especially as we are living in times of great deception. To look steadfastly to Jesus is imperative and judging everything heard by his word. This can be a lonely trail at times, but the end thereof is life everlasting in the presence of the Savior.

    Blessings always in Jesus name.

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