The Penalty of Disobedience
1 Kings 13:11-32
Now there dwelled an old prophet in Bethel; and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel…

It may seem, at first sight, that the prophet was hardly visited for breaking such a commandment as this; and yet we may remember that Adam brought death on himself and us all by an act of disobedience much akin to this; for he was commanded not to eat, but he did eat: why should any of his children fare better, especially when sinning like this prophet, to whom the word of God came not as to other men, immediately into his heart from the Holy Spirit of God? He grieved the Holy Spirit. But though he did not sin wilfully, but was most artfully tempted into his sin, God's justice could not spare him; an example must reeds be made of the punishment of faithlessness in so high a commission- Such is the example: now how does it concern the Christian?

1. The Christian is a prophet, for he has the gift of the Word of God and of His Holy Spirit, and the revelation of the world to come. And his profession is to protest and struggle against the corruption of the world, against which he must denounce the wrath of God which cometh on the children of disobedience.

2. As the prophet had the commandment given him, "to eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that he came," that is, to have no fellow. ship with the sinners whose idolatry God had sent him to denounce, so the Christian has a special injunction on this head; it has been given him both in the word of his Saviour, and in the example of his Saviour. We must not as Christians eat and drink by the way; we must not waste our precious time and heavenly substance in the carnal enjoyments of this life; but we must go on the way which God hath pointed out to us, without turning to the right or to the left for refreshment, for if we do, then we are out of His way, then we are in the forbidden habitations of sin; still less must we return by the same way that we came.

3. The prophet was tempted by a false brother; and even so are Christians tempted by false brethren, and persuaded by them to sit down to the meat and drink of sinful indulgence, and to return by the same way that they came, going backward, though at a much quicker rate, through the same steps that they have come forward in the Christian race.

4. And whom did God choose to pronounce sentence of death upon him? His very deceiver. And is not this continually the case? Is not the tempter into sin often the very first to reproach the tempted with his sin, and to mock at him when it is beyond remedy? Is he not often the first to open his eyes to his real state, and laugh at him? This is the way of Satan, the grand tempter of all, and therefore the way of his children also. Thus sin is felt by the tempted as the sting of death indeed!

5. And now see the end: a lion met the prophet in his way and slew him. And is there no lion ready for the faithless Christian too? Yes; the lion is at the door ready for all the unwary, gaping upon them with his mouth, staring upon them with his eyes, on the crouch, and ready to spring at the first favourable moment, and rend and tear the soul in pieces.

6. If God could visit with such strict justice the disobedience of a man who was tempted to believe that he was obeying God, how will He visit those who yield to temptation with the clear knowledge that they are disobeying God, and hearken to men who they know cannot be prophets of God, as was the man to whom this prophet listened, but are evidently prophet of Satan.

(R. W. Evans, B. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel; and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel: the words which he had spoken unto the king, them they told also to their father.

WEB: Now there lived an old prophet in Bethel; and one of his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel. They also told their father the words which he had spoken to the king.

The Old Serpent Again
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