One of the architects of the fracturing of Israel was a man named Jeroboam. Solomon had driven him to Egypt, but upon Solomon’s death Jeroboam had returned. In the break up of the kingdom this idol worshipper had become king of Bethel.
When he is at an altar in the city praying, God sends a man from Judah to share a prophecy. This anonymous man speaks of a ruler from the line of David name Josiah who will bring an end to idol worship in Bethel (2 Kings 23:15-21).
Jeroboam believes it to be true (it will be fulfilled in about 350 years) and reacts immediately. He orders him to be seized and is immediately stricken as God reveals his power and protects the man of God.
Even though enticed to stay and fellowship in the king’s house, the prophet refuses because God instructed him not to. He was obedient as he resisted the influence of this obviously wicked man, but there is another test to come.
As this prophet sits under a tree exhausted and hungry an old prophet from Bethel comes to him. (We don’t know his motivation, perhaps to be inspired or simply fellowship with someone God is currently using?) At any rate, he lures the man against God’s command by telling him that God appeared to him and told him he should come. (Here are the red flags: This message did not come directly from God, second is that God does not contradict himself.)
The old prophet either lied to him or was deceived himself by a demon that appeared to him. The end result is that because of his weakness and disobedience the man of God from Judah is eventually killed by a lion.
This shows us that we can go from being in God’s will and profitable, to disobedient and out of His will with one decision. The prophet should have known better, but stumbled in a time of weakness. It was an honest mistake, but one that he should not have made. The warning signs were there, but he chose to ignore them.
How many times do we see warning signs before making a decision? Some times we may listen, but other times we don’t. Our effectiveness for God is directly related to our obedience. Let’s be mindful to seek the Lord before every decision and remember that just because something appears good, that doesn’t mean that it is.
1 Kings 13