The Disobedient Prophet
11 Now an old prophet was living in Bethel; and his [i]sons came and told him all the deeds which the man of God had done that day in Bethel; the words which he had spoken to the king, these also they related to their father. 12 Their father said to them, “[j]Which way did he go?” Now his sons [k]had seen the way which the man of God who came from Judah had gone. 13 Then he said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” So they saddled the donkey for him and he rode away on it. 14 So he went after the man of God and found him sitting under [l]an oak; and he said to him, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?” And he said, “I am.” 15 Then he said to him, “Come home with me and eat bread.” 16 He said, “I cannot return with you, nor go with you, nor will I eat bread or drink water with you in this place. 17 For a command came to me by the word of the Lord, ‘You shall eat no bread, nor drink water there; do not return by going the way which you came.’” 18 He said to him, “I also am a prophet like you, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.’” But he lied to him. 19 So he went back with him, and ate bread in his house and drank water.
20 Now it came about, as they were sitting down at the table, that the word of the Lord came to the prophet who had brought him back; 21 and he cried to the man of God who came from Judah, saying, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because you have [m]disobeyed the [n]command of the Lord, and have not observed the commandment which the Lord your God commanded you, 22 but have returned and eaten bread and drunk water in the place of which He said to you, “Eat no bread and drink no water”; your body shall not come to the grave of your fathers.’” 23 It came about after he had eaten bread and after he had drunk, that he saddled the donkey for him, for the prophet whom he had brought back. 24 Now when he had gone, a lion met him on the way and killed him, and his body was thrown on the road, with the donkey standing beside it; the lion also was standing beside the body. 25 And behold, men passed by and saw the body thrown on the road, and the lion standing beside the body; so they came and told it in the city where the old prophet lived.
26 Now when the prophet who brought him back from the way heard it, he said, “It is the man of God, who [o]disobeyed the [p]command of the Lord; therefore the Lord has given him to the lion, which has torn him and killed him, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke to him.” 27 Then he spoke to his sons, saying, “Saddle the donkey for me.” And they saddled it. 28 He went and found his body thrown on the road with the donkey and the lion standing beside the body; the lion had not eaten the body nor torn the donkey. 29 So the prophet took up the body of the man of God and laid it on the donkey and brought it back, and he came to the city of the old prophet to mourn and to bury him. 30 He laid his body in his own grave, and they mourned over him, saying, “Alas, my brother!” 31 After he had buried him, he spoke to his sons, saying, “When I die, bury me in the grave in which the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones. 32 For the thing shall surely come to pass which he cried by the word of the Lord against the altar in Bethel and against all the houses of the high places which are in the cities of Samaria.”
33 After this event Jeroboam did not return from his evil way, but again he made priests of the high places from among [q]all the people; any who would, he ordained, to be priests of the high places. 34 [r]This event became sin to the house of Jeroboam, even to blot it out and destroy it from off the face of the earth.
Unsurprisingly, Jeroboam didn’t turn back to God, and continued leading the Israelites even further into idolatry. But there’s something else that’s important to learn from the man of God who spoke to Jeroboam. We already know that God told him not to stay in Bethel, that he was not to eat or drink anything there either.
But then along comes this other prophet, who wanted so much to show kindness to the man of God, that he straight out lied to him, and claimed that God spoke to him also. I don’t think there was any ill-intent whatsoever here. He was probably thinking, “Really?!?! God told you to travel all that way, and not to eat or drink? That’s just not right!” So the old prophet was determined to show some good hospitality to the man of God.
Then what’s the lesson? The man of God had heard directly from God. He was sure enough about God’s message that he went and confronted Jeroboam to his face. This man saw God strike Jeroboam when he attempted to seize the man of God AND he saw God heal Jeroboam after he prayed for the King. Yet he believed the old prophet when his message contradicted what God told him directly.
Get it yet? God will speak to you, maybe not audibly, but there will be times when you know what God wants you to do. Other people will tell you they have a word from God for you. If those contradict, run away! Or at the very least, thank them kindly and promptly forget what they said.
In short, if someone says they have a message from God for your life, and you haven’t heard the same thing, it’s probably not really from God. No matter their intentions, if you’re regularly talking to God, and haven’t had prior confirmation, that’s not right! God may use others to confirm His word to you, but it’s quite rare for Him to send a message through someone else that hasn’t already been in your heart and on your mind already.