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A man of God from Judah


And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the LORD unto Bethel: and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense. And he cried against the altar in the word of the LORD, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men's bones shall be burnt upon thee. And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign which the LORD hath spoken; Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out. And it came to pass, when king Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, which had cried against the altar in Bethel, that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him. And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him. The altar also was rent, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the LORD. And the king answered and said unto the man of God, Entreat now the face of the LORD thy God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again. And the man of God besought the LORD, and the king's hand was restored him again, and became as it was before. And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward. And the man of God said unto the king, If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place: For so was it charged me by the word of the LORD, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest. So he went another way, and returned not by the way that he came to Bethel. Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel; and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel: the words which he had spoken unto the king, them they told also to their father. And their father said unto them, What way went he? For his sons had seen what way the man of God went, which came from Judah. And he said unto his sons, Saddle me the ass. So they saddled him the ass: and he rode thereon, And went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak: and he said unto him, Art thou the man of God that camest from Judah? And he said, I am. Then he said unto him, Come home with me, and eat bread. And he said, I may not return with thee, nor go in with thee: neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place: For it was said to me by the word of the LORD, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that thou camest. He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him. So he went back with him, and did eat bread in his house, and drank water. And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came unto the prophet that brought him back: And he cried unto the man of God that came from Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the LORD, and hast not kept the commandment which the LORD thy God commanded thee, But camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water in the place, of the which the LORD did say to thee, Eat no bread, and drink no water; thy carcass shall not come unto the sepulcher of thy fathers. And it came to pass, after he had eaten bread, and after he had drunk, that he saddled for him the ass, to wit, for the prophet whom he had brought back. And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him: and his carcass was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by the carcass. And, behold, men passed by, and saw the carcass cast in the way, and the lion standing by the carcass: and they came and told it in the city where the old prophet dwelt. And when the prophet that brought him back from the way heard thereof, he said, It is the man of God, who was disobedient unto the word of the LORD: therefore the LORD hath delivered him unto the lion, which hath torn him, and slain him, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake unto him.

(1 Kings 13:1-26)


The man of God from Judah had just performed a great work of faith.  He had left his home at God’s command and journeyed into a hostile country.  He had pronounced God’s judgment against a mighty king and seen God’s power with his own eyes.  When the king offered him food, he easily refused, saying that God had told him not to eat or drink there.  Now, having just completed these great deeds, he turns toward home.  On the way, he meets another prophet, who invites him to eat.  He again refuses, but the other prophet tells him that God has changed his mind.  He does not seem to make any further argument or inquiry, but goes to eat with the older prophet.  Because of this disobedience, God strikes him down.  He went from a hero of faith in the morning to lion chow in the evening.  How?  He dropped his guard.  We must be careful the same thing does not happen to us.  Just because we have beaten Satan back for a time does not mean he is gone; it simply means that his latest attack has been foiled.  We have won a skirmish, but not the war.  That only ends when our life does.  When the devil leaves Jesus after tempting him in the wilderness, he has not given up; he is simply waiting for a more ‘opportune time’ (Luke 4:13).  He is always out there lurking, waiting for us to neglect our defenses so that he can devour us. 

Disturbingly, the person who Satan used to bring the prophet down was not the evil king, but rather the old prophet.  The man of God had no trouble refusing the king, but he was not on guard with the old prophet.  We cannot relax our guard for any reason, even if we are with other Christians.  Just because other Christians are doing something or say it is acceptable does not mean that it is.  We must be ceaselessly watchful.  We can rest from our vigilance when this life is done; until then, “it ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”


-Paul Gaughan