Robert C. Oliver Contributing columnist
August 16, 2013
The thirteenth chapter of the book of First Kings records an event that pertains to two prophets, one old and one young. Following the division of the kingdom, Jeroboam having been made king of the northern nation, Israel, he made two golden calves and placed one in Dan and the other in Bethel that the people of Israel might worship them rather than go to Jerusalem and possibly turn back to Rehoboam, the king of Judah. These golden calves and the worship of them was an egregious issue to the God of heaven. He sent the young prophet of our text to prophesy against the altar at Bethel (I Kings 13:1-3). King Jeroboam, upon hearing it was angered and commanded the young prophet to be taken. His hand was dried up and then restored by the young prophet resulting in Jeroboam desiring the young prophet to accompany him to his home and eat and drink with him (I Kings 13:4-7). The young prophet refused, stating that God had given him command concerning this very issue, not to do so and he then did just what God had said for him to do (I Kings 13:8-10). However, we then read of an old prophet that lived in the area. He went to the young prophet and requested him to come home with him and to eat and drink, to which the young prophet gave the answer as he had to the king himself. However, the old prophet continued by telling him that he too was a prophet and that God had told him to bring the young prophet back to eat and drink with him, but it was a lie (I Kings 13:11-18). The young prophet then succumbed to the desires of the old prophet, went to his house to eat and drink and was punished by God at the paws and teeth of a lion (I Kings 13:19-24). There are many good lessons for us to learn from this account, but only one that we wish to consider at this time.
God told the young prophet what to do. The old prophet told the young prophet that God told him to do something else. The truth we wish to emphasize is that what the young prophet had to do was obey what God said, not what he said that God said. Peter told the council and the high priest, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). It can’t be said any plainer than that! In the case of the young prophet, he knew what God said concerning the matter, for God had said it to him and he repeated it more than once in our text. The old prophet said that God had said the things he told the young prophet, but the young prophet knew that God had said what He had said to him. One would be hard pressed to come up with a reasonable explanation for why the old prophet lied to the young prophet. He would surely know what the end result would be if the young prophet succumbed to his temptation. But, it is just as perplexing trying to understand why the young prophet would succumb. As stated, he knew for himself what God said. He had already stood before the most powerful man in that part of the world and boldly told him he would not do what he desired, for God had told him to do otherwise. Yet, when one who was not so mighty lied to him, he disobeyed God. One might speculate that it was because he was intimidated, after all the old prophet was old and experienced and he was yet young. Or, it may be that he was like Balaam (Num. 22:18-19) who really wanted to do what he was being asked to do, though he knew it was not what God had said. Whatever the reason, he should have done what God said, not what the old prophet said God said.
The same holds true today. It is absolutely mandatory that we do what God said, not what someone said He said. What God said concerning this age is what we find recorded in the pages of the New Testament (II Tim. 3:16-17). It does take effort on our part. When someone tells us, “God said this or that”, the only way we can know if it is true or not is to go to what God said, the Bible and see what the truth is. There are many false teachers gone out into the world (I John 4:1). Some may be false teachers because of ignorance, they simply do not know the truth. As Paul said of his fellow Jews, “they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge, For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God” (Rom. 10:2-3). In other cases, it may be as with the old prophet, “but he lied unto him”. Regardless of the reason, whether error or lie, we must do what God said, not what he said God said. They say that God said that one is saved by faith only. Look and see if that is really what God said (Matt. 7:21). They say that God said one church is as good as another. It would be wise to look for yourself and see if that is what God said (Matt. 15:13-14; 16:18). They say that God said that baptism is not a requirement for salvation. Better check it out for yourself to see if that is what God said (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:3-4). They say God said it does not matter how one worships so long as they are sincere. Is that really what God said (John 4:24)? Friends, don’t be intimidated by anyone and do what they said God said do, but do what God said do. It is the only way to heaven!
(Editor’s note: Send any questions or comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org)