Believing What You Want to Hear

But the old prophet answered, “I am a prophet, too, just as you are. And an angel gave me this command from the LORD: ‘Bring him home with you so he can have something to eat and drink.’ ”But the old man was lying to him. So they went back together, and the man of God ate and drank at the prophet’s home.

Then while they were sitting at the table, a command from the LORD came to the old prophet. He cried out to the man of God from Judah, “This is what the LORD says: You have defied the word of the LORD and have disobeyed the command the LORD your God gave you. You came back to this place and ate and drank where he told you not to eat or drink. Because of this, your body will not be buried in the grave of your ancestors.”

After the man of God had finished eating and drinking, the old prophet saddled his own donkey for him, and the man of God started off again. But as he was traveling along, a lion came out and killed him. His body lay there on the road, with the donkey and the lion standing beside it. (1 Kings 13:18-25)

Nobody’s perfect. God sent a prophet to deliver a message to Jeroboam, king of Israel. Jeroboam was standing by the false alter in Bethel when the prophet arrived. He told Jeroboam that the false priests would be slaughtered and their bones burned on that very alter by Josiah, a future king of Judah. As proof of his words, the prophet said that the alter would split and the ashes would be spilled. As Jeroboam yelled and pointed at the prophet, his hand shriveled up. He begged the prophet to heal him, which he did. Jeroboam then offered him a meal but the prophet refused. God had told him that he must not eat or drink anything until he got home.

On his journey back, another prophet offered him hospitality. He lied to him that God had given him a new message: it was now okay to eat and drink.

Doubtless hungry, he had accepted the prophet’s hospitality. But when God tells someone to do something, he doesn’t change his mind later just because it’s inconvenient. It is important to believe what God said, even if we’d rather he had said something else.

The prophet died because he believed a stranger that he had never met before, instead of God.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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