[From an old journal entry on 1 Kings 13, which you can read here.]
The Word of God Vs. The Word of the Old (Phony) Prophet
I prayed last night and just kind of randomly opened my Bible to the passage and read intently to find that what the true prophet experienced was something that we all experience as believers in Christ. He was given the Word of God (cf. vv.1-3). He believed the Word, and he preached it, in spite of opposition from the enemy (cf. v.4). He saw God’s Word being fulfilled before his very eyes (cf. v.5). He was tempted to compromise, in spite of the fact that he could have profited from his ministry thereby, choosing to be obedient to the Word of the Lord instead (cf. vv.6-8).
He believed the Word of the Lord and was obedient to God in the face of his obvious enemies (i.e. King Jeroboam). However, when he came across someone who claimed to be a prophet of God, he let his guard down. He believed the man’s false prophecy. And he sinned against the very Word that he faithfully preached, obeyed and defended when in the presence of an obvious enemy of God. And do we not do the same thing? Do we not let down our guard around fellow, professing teachers of God’s Word, when we really should be obedient to what we know for a sure and certain fact God has spoken clearly in His written Word? We do.
And yet, this is our downfall. Isn’t it? To trust implicitly in the words of another minister who claims to speak on God’s behalf, even when we find that there is a contradiction between what the Lord has clearly revealed in His Word and what the minister says? I think we are all guilty of following the teacher, pastor, whoever, instead of scrutinizing what the “duly authorized elder” is feeding the flock of Jesus Christ, when it seems to be laced with poison. The man of God in this chapter, much like Eve (and that is the subject of another Bible study entirely), did defend the Word of God against this lying prophet, but I wonder whether or not he was completely given to holding the old prophet’s words up against the sure and certain Word of God, because he simply folds and accepts what the old prophet tells him.
Note this important truth: God’s Word does not contradict itself. The man of God and the old prophet spoke two things that were in complete contradiction to one another. The man of God’s message was: Do not eat bread and water. The old prophet’s message was: Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and water. 100% contradiction. Perhaps the prophet thought that God’s Word has paradoxes that “mere human logic” cannot resolve. Perhaps he didn’t think things through enough, and just accepted the old prophet’s status. Or, and this is where the sting comes, perhaps he understood that the old prophet’s words contradicted God’s Word, and he, being weary from traveling among apostate Israelites and being persecuted by unbelievers, desired the old prophet’s food and drink and “fellowship” more than he desired to be obedient to the Word of his God. Ouch.
Note another important and startling truth: The man of God accepted a contradictory message from an angel, as relayed by the old prophet. Yet, what does Paul say? “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any another gospel to you than what we have preached, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8). We are to obey the Lord Jesus, not men who contradict what Christ has clearly spoken. If we don’t, we might end up like the man of God: Slain by a lion on the side of the road. Was the man of God a regenerated believer? Of course, but he suffered as a consequence of his fellowshiping with the old prophet who was, in reality, a liar who was contradicting the simple Word of God.
If any man claims to be a “duly authorized elder,” or an old “prophet,” and yet preaches to you a message that is contrary to the clear teaching of Scripture, he is a liar and the truth is not in him. If any man tries to pull rank, or tries to tell you that “the Word of God is obscure and filled with paradoxes that ‘mere human logic cannot resolve’” then he is lying to you, or he is ignorant of the truth – and in either case, you must be obedient to Christ and reject his offers of bread and water and “fellowship,” for he is not speaking the Word of God but the demonically inspired ramblings of his own depraved mind.
Whom do you obey?
Christ, or your teacher?
Hold fast to the sure and certain Word of God; reject the lies of men who want to place you under their falsely assumed authority.
You have one teacher: The Christ.