The Man of God (1 Kings 13) January 10
To rebuke Jeroboam for his abominable actions, God sent a prophet from Judah, unnamed in the scriptural account, with strict instructions to deliver God's message, perform a certain sign and depart home to Judah without partaking of any food or drink. The unnamed prophet gave the warning, performed the sign and departed as instructed. Despite the personal effect of the sign upon Jeroboam, the king would not repent. How tragic and foolish! Jeroboam's stubbornness would yield decades of strife and, ultimately, the destruction of his dynasty and kingdom. We will later read of how Josiah, king of Judah around 300 years later (though prophesied here by name long before his birth), fulfilled this prophecy (2 Kings 23:15-18).
The Judean prophet departed according to the instruction of God, but he was soon pursued by an "old prophet" who dwelt in Bethel. We are not told who this old prophet was, nor if he was indeed a true prophet of God. His conduct does not betray him necessarily as a false prophetsince this one occasion is the only time we know that he lied. The old prophet's deception of the Judean prophet underscores the vital need to follow God's instructions precisely. The Judean prophet should have declined the old prophet's invitation, saying that if the old prophet's claim were true then he would wait until God revoked his original command in just as sure a manner as He had given it. But, foolishly, he allowed another to dissuade him from strictly following God's commands.
The story of the Judean prophet contains the same theme as the story of Jeroboam's new form of worshipnamely, that any compromise with God's instruction has consequences.