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 (1 Kings 13:18 KJV)
The story of the “man of God from Judah” recorded in 1 Kings 13 is one of those stories in the scriptures that always triggers sorrows and unanswered questions in my mind. God sent a prophet from Judah to Bethel to prophesy against King Jeroboam’s idolatrous altar. The LORD gave this young prophet specific instructions on what to do after he delivers the prophetic word: not to eat or drink there and to use another road to return to Judah.
After delivering the word with accompanying miraculous signs, he went another way as instructed by the LORD. An old prophet in the city heard what happened and came after him. The verse above records the words of this old prophet. He lied to the young prophet and said an angel appeared to him and told him to ask the young prophet to come back. Sadly, this young prophet listened to him, came back to eat with the old prophet. This young prophet died on his way back home because he disobeyed God.
There are many questions about this story but the one truth I will like to comment on here is that God holds us responsible for our choices, including ministry actions. God will use people to speak and direct us, and those men and women should never become God in our lives. God will hold us accountable for what we do, whether we were led astray by another believer, leader, pastor, spiritual father or mother, etc.
Why did God hold the young prophet responsible for disobedience though it was the old prophet who lied to him?
APPLY THE WORD
This story should bring Jesus’ words home to “beware of men” (Matt. 10:17). As long as we still have the flesh in this fallen body, we must be careful even with those God is clearly using mightily. There will be times when they might do or say things that are not from God. This is where many of us will struggle to know when it is God and when it is not. The last thing you want to do is to swallow everything a minister puts into your mouth because they are a teacher, apostle, prophet, etc. Beware of men. God holds you responsible for your actions, even if someone deceives and leads you astray.
Pray the Lord will help protect you from being led astray by unintentional or intentional acts of deception from those who are part of the same family of God.