1 Kings 13:20-22
And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came to the prophet that brought him back:…
No man of God will deliberately sin against God (John 8:44; 1 John 3:9; 1 John 5:18). But the good are liable to be surprised or deceived into transgression (James 1:18-15; 1 John 2:1, 2). We must be ever on our guard against the "wiles" and "depths" of Satan. For lack of vigilance this man of God fell into the snare, and we see here how he was reproved.
I. HE SINNED AGAINST THE WORD OF JEHOVAH.
1. This is evident upon the face of the narrative.
(1) He came out of Judah "by the word of Jehovah." Cried against the altar at Bethel "in the word of Jehovah." Gave the sign upon the altar "by the word of Jehovah" (vers. 1, 2, 5).
(2) He professed that his instructions not to eat in Mount Ephraim, but to return to Judah by another road, were by the same word. Professed to the king (ver. 9); to the old prophet (ver. 17).
2. But could not God revoke or modify His word?
(1) Certainly. He did so to Abraham (see Genesis 22:11, 12). What had been might be.
(2) Upon the recognition of this principle the old prophet proceeded, and so far was the man of God from disputing it that he was taken in the snare (vers. 18, 19).
3. Wherein, then, was his fault? The revocation here came not with the evidence of the command. The command was immediately from "the mouth of the Lord" (per. 21). The revocation came immediately from the mouth of the old prophet. Note: We are responsible for the proper use of reason in religion.
(2) Faith in the word of the Lord must be implicit. The Bible is that word. The evidence that it is such is conclusive - external, internal, collateral.
(3) Other voices must not be allowed to replace this. The voice of "nature," of "reason," of the "Church." We listen implicitly to these at our peril.
II. BY THE WORD OF JEHOVAH HE WAS REPROVED.
1. This came to the man of God himself.
(1) The reading of the text would lead us to conclude that it came to the old prophet. The words אשר השיבו here rendered, "who brought him back," are in verse 23 construed, "whom he had brought back," and might be so construed here. Josephus asserts that the word of the Lord here came to the man of God; and so does the Arabic. In the 26th verse we are assured by the old prophet that this word of the Lord came to the man of God.
(2) According to this view it was "Jehovah" who "cried unto the man of God," viz., from heaven as He called to Abraham (Genesis 22:11). So, coming to himself, as the command did in the first instance, he had not to weigh contradictory testimonies from the old prophet, but was left without a doubt. God brings home sin with demonstration.
2. It came to him in the ripeness of his transgression.
(1) "As they sat at table." Conscience reproves the sinner in the very act of sin. This is the voice of God in the soul. But here was an external voice to which the internal voice responded. Conscience responds to the word or law of God.
(2) It came to all who were at the table. To the old prophet as well as to the man of God. His conscience, too, would respond to the voice of God. To the sons of the old prophet, if present, there would also be a voice. What will our emotions be when in the day of judgment all the mischief to which we have been accessories will be discovered?
3. It was terribly severe.
(1) He is doomed to dis. "Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." We all die in consequence of sin entailed. But here is an actual "sin unto death" (1 John 5:16).
(2) He is doomed to die abroad. The mention of his carcase not coming to the sepulchre of his fathers implied a violent death away from home. Possibly the manner of his death may have been made known to him (compare ver. 26; 1 Kings 20:36). The word of God is not violated with impunity. What will be the case of those who seldom take pains to consult it? - J.A.M.
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came unto the prophet that brought him back: