This past Sunday, I preached from 1 Kings 13. It is a strange story where an unnamed prophet comes to prophesy against the king. Some signs confirm his prophecy.
The story takes a strange turn, a lie is told, and more judgments are rendered. This story created a lot of questions for me. But I also had some important takeaways. Here are five of them.
Evil People Seek Spiritual Help
The king told the guard to seize the young prophet after he pronounced judgment on the king. When the king pointed his finger at the prophet, his hand became paralyzed. He then asked the prophet to pray to the Lord on his behalf. The prophet did, and his hand was restored. Even the evilest people can find themselves in situations where they feel prayer is their only resort. The prayer said more about the Lord and the prophet than it did the evil king.
Distraction Dilutes The Greatest Abilities
In response to restoring his hand, the king invited the young prophet for a meal. The prophet said he would not come even if offered half the kingdom. He was not to eat or drink anything while he was there. After starting his journey home, an old prophet chased him down and invited him to his own house. He claims an angel told him to have the young prophet for dinner, but he is lying. The young prophet eats and drinks with the man to his detriment.
The young prophet had seen some significant signs and wonders. What he said came true. But he allowed himself to become distracted, costing him his life. No matter how much God has used you, the enemy is constantly trying to distract us from being obedient.
Do Not Allow Someone Else’s Word For Your Life Override God’s Word For Your Life
God had been clear with His instructions to the young prophet. But the prophet allowed the words of the older prophet to cause him to be disobedient. Never let what someone else says cause you to ignore what God has said. God’s Word has the final say.
Disobedience Is Defiance
While they are eating, the Lord speaks through the older prophet, and he pronounces judgment on the young prophet. He tells the young prophet that he has defied the word of the Lord and disobeyed His command. When we are clear on what we should do and choose to do something else, we are defiant. We attach a lot of words to disobedience to try to soften what is going on. We call them mistakes and misunderstandings. The reality is disobedience is defiance. People rarely use defiant as a compliment.
We Do Not Get To Choose How God Dispenses Grace
The troubling part of this story is how unfair it seems. The old prophet lied to distract a young prophet. The old prophet does not get judged. He even gets used by God in passing judgment on the young prophet. A lion kills the young prophet for eating dinner with the older prophet who told him he had heard from the Lord. I do not get to decide how God works or how He dispenses grace. I can only trust that He is doing what is righteous and making His will come to pass on this earth. I am a recipient of God’s grace, but I don’t get to choose how He gives it to others.
This story was a challenging passage. Tell me your takeaway, and if you had some of the same struggles I did with it.