by Tim Hall
How strong is our commitment to truth?
At first we feel pity for the unnamed “man of God” described in 1 Kings 13. After all, he accepted a potentially dangerous mission from God by confronting evil King Jeroboam about the unauthorized altar he had built in Bethel. This prophet was faithful and courageous in carrying out his assignment.
But he never made it home alive. As he traveled back to Judah, a lion killed him, and the obvious inference from the text is that God sent the lion. Why would God do such a thing to a man who had been faithful to His mission?
The man of God had not been completely faithful to his mission. One part of God’s orders was that he not eat or drink while in Bethel. At first, he was obedient and refused Jeroboam’s invitation to dine with him.
But an old prophet caught up with him on his way home, and told him that God had changed the orders. God now wanted the man of God to come dine in Bethel, according to the older prophet. The text tells us, however, that the old
prophet “was lying to him” (1 Kings 13:18, NKJV).
In most respects, the man of God did well. As long as he listened only to the Lord and did His will, he would be blessed. But when he chose to believe a different message instead of the one God gave him, tragedy followed. He was sincere in what he did, but he was sincerely wrong.
Centuries later, Paul warned Christians about falling into the same trap: “And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:11,12).
To put it simply, here is the choice we face: Will we believe God, or will we put our trust in what others tell us about God and His will? There are many religious people who speak things that are not found in the Bible. They sound so warm and sincere; how could we believe for a moment that they’re in error?
But if their message doesn’t match the message God has given us in His word, they are in error, and we would be foolish to follow their teachings instead of the Lord’s.
Why have we been given this account about the man of God who believed a lie? Because it’s a perennial problem, one that God’s people continually face.
Let us follow two simple admonitions: “Buy the truth, and do not sell it …” (Proverbs 23:23), and “… Your word is truth” (John 17:17). When we walk only in the light of God’s truth, we’ll be safe.
by Tim Hall