The major lesson I got in 1 Kings 13 is pretty simple and straightforward but there’s something else I’d like to point out before I go into the major lesson. To do that, I’m going to back up a little into chapter 12.
Jeroboam thought to himself, “Unless I am careful, the kingdom will return to the dynasty of David. When these people go to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices at the Temple of the Lord, they will again give their allegiance to King Rehoboam of Judah. They will kill me and make him their king instead.” 1 Kings 12:26-27 NLThttps://bible.com/bible/116/1ki.12.26-27.NLT
The Lord had given over part of the kingdom to Jeroboam fulfilling the prophecy that was spoken about to Solomon as a result of his disobedience. He didn’t fight for the kingdom, he didn’t even lobby for it. The Lord gave it to him. I wish he had held on to that truth and dwelled more on it. But our guy forgot. And that’s what we see play out in his decision to build an altar that’s not for the Lord just so he won’t lose his kingship. Talk about biting the finger that fed you. Insecurity and an unbridled desire for power or good things will often result in the downfall of a man.
The kingdom was given to him by the Lord, shouldn’t he have gone to the Lord to learn how to hold on to it and successfully rule?
Question for us:
What has the Lord given to you or spoken of about you that initially, you counted on Him for it but now are trying to work it out in your power and might? Remember, it’s not by power nor might but by the Spirit of God. Never ever take God out of the equation even if and even when it looks like you’re losing or being counted out.
This one decision that Jeroboam made will be the downfall of his reign. In other words, what he didn’t want to happen, he will bring upon himself with his own hand eventually. Sadly though, he will cause others to go down with him. The people who he’s leading, who will now go on to follow in his wrong steps, going against the commands of God.
You have a responsibility to test every Spirit
Your position as a leader matters. The decisions you make will have a huge impact not just on you but the people you’re leading as well. When it’s a leadership position assigned by God your responsibility is even greater. While the leader has his responsibility and is accountable to God, those following, have a responsibility to filter, cross-check, and prove the kind of leadership they are getting as well. In other words, while we can so easily say that Jeroboam led the people astray and into sin, the truth of the matter is he only provided the medium. The ultimate decision was made by the people. Their situation was not like Daniel’s or Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego’s and even they made a decision to stick to the Lord’s commands even when it was dangerous to their life. So we also as followers of Christ, we have a responsibility to test and prove every Spirit.
This lesson is the major theme I see run in Chapter 13. God sends a prophet to deliver a prophecy to Jeroboam about where his evil actions would end up. He does it. Delivers the message as instructed by the Lord. He was going to be attacked and the Lord showed up backing up His message with power. He, however, had one other instruction:
For the Lord gave me this command: ‘You must not eat or drink anything while you are there, and do not return to Judah by the same way you came.’” 1 Kings 13:9 NLThttps://bible.com/bible/116/1ki.13.9.NLT
But then another prophet came to him and deceived him. Saying:
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. 1 Kings 13:18 NLThttps://bible.com/bible/116/1ki.13.18.NLT
He believed the prophet and went with him resulting in a rather tragic end for him.
Just because one claims to be a prophet, spits fire from heaven, can hold the weather and move mountains, hears the Lord, and says an angel spoke to him doesn’t mean he’s speaking the truth. God is the only one who is infallible and unbiased. As long as it’s a man speaking to you expect that there’s a likelihood of some bias in it. Which is why we should go back to verify ourselves as well. It’s why we must have a habit of testing and proving, why we must “study to show ourselves approved”. It’s why we must be students of the word; applying ourselves diligently to understand and dig out for ourselves the treasures within it.
I don’t know why the other prophet did what he did. I also don’t know why God didn’t do anything to him but one thing is clear; when God gives us an instruction if something contrary comes up, go back to him and inquire. Don’t just swallow it hook, line, and sinker. Ask, ask, ask. We have access to God; unrestrained, unrestricted access and so we can all go to him ourselves to know what He’s saying.
This is not to say that God cannot speak to us through others. He can, He will, and He does. However, we still have a responsibility to test and prove what we’re told. The Holy Spirit and the word at the end of the day should be our ultimate and final guide. We check everything else, placing it side by side and reviewing it in line with the word and the Spirit.
‘Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. ‘ 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 NLThttps://my.bible.com/bible/116/1TH.5.20-21
I pray that God will make us doers of the word and equip us to apply the word in our lives. That we will be students of the word, rich with understanding and revelation and the know-how to test and judge everything accordingly. I pray that every yoke of insecurity and any unbridled desires in our heart that can lead us into sin, God will break and help us overcome. I declare that the desires of our hearts align with the Lord’s and that we are people who constantly walk side by side with him doing as He pleases and instructs us. At the end of the day, our lives will show forth the praises of the One who has called us into marvellous light.