1 Kings 13:11, 12
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…
I. THE PROPHET'S SIN AND DOOM. Evil is never wanting in emissaries. It finds them among the so-called followers of God as well as in the world. This was -
1. a prophet. The possession of privileges does not ensure salvation. Balaam took the wages of unrighteousness. "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?" etc. Is our own life on a level with the place God has given us? If not, we may be among those whose influence and suggestions place stumbling blocks in the path of God's children.
2. He dwelt at Bethel, without testifying against its sin, and unmoved by fear of God's judgment. How many who know God's will and have declared it to others remain in Bethel still!
3. His instant resolve. The very story of the prophet's obedience led him to tempt the man of God. His own religion was not like this, and this must therefore be either hypocrisy or delusion. Had the king's request not been made publicly it might have been acceded to. There must be a weak point somewhere, and he will try to find it. Lower life is ever suspicious of a higher, and is anxious to prove that it is not higher. The prophets in Bethel are ever on the watch to break the credit of the men of God from Judah. Is thine the spirit of the learner or of the scorner? Does the higher life judge thee and fill thee with desire to press upward, or only with angry suspicion and desire to show it is no better than thine own? They who are of the wicked prophet's spirit still do his work.
II. THE FALL OF THE MAN OF GOD.
1. How the tempter found him. He sat, weary and faint, resting under the shadow of the tree. The invitation to eat bread had more power there than before in Bethel. The tempter knows his opportunity. In times of weakness and need we should hide ourselves in the joy and strength of God.
2. The weapons he uses. When an appeal to appetite fails, he professes his oneness with him and uses falsehood. "I am a prophet also as thou art, and an angel spake unto me," etc. To eat bread in Bethel with a prophet did not seem quite the same thing as eating with the idolatrous king; nor does fellowship with those who profess to know God, but yet remain in communion with the world, seem the same thing as fellowship with the world itself. It is thus that the testimony of the Church against idolatry and iniquity has so largely ceased. And then there is Scripture forevery concession. "An angel spake unto me... but he lied unto him." A worldly Church ensnares where the world itself cannot.
3. The fatal neglect. God was as near to him as He could be to his tempter, and he might have inquired of Him. But in the weakness of the flesh he desired to have it so. There is only one preservative from spiritual shipwreck - a sincere desire to know what the Lord saith, and a determination to follow that only.
III. HIS DOOM. (Vers. 20-22.)
1. It was uttered as he sat at meat. Conviction found him in his Sin, and the food he had desired became as wormwood and gall to him.
2. It came from the lips of his seducer. We do not rise in the world's estimation through compliance with its desires. As God used the lying prophet so will He use the men of the world for the humbling of those who yield before their temptations.
3. The penalty. Death in the land where he had sinned. His carcase, buried in Bethel, declared the truth his obedience should have impressed. God will judge His unfaithful servants. If not glorified in their service, He will be glorified in their punishment. - J.U.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.