1 Kings 13:18-19
He said to him, I am a prophet also as you are; and an angel spoke to me by the word of the LORD, saying…
I. THAT THE TEMPTER OF OUR RACE ASSAILS THE BEST OF MEN. The man who now became the victim of temptation was no other than a prophet of the Lord. He was Heaven's appointed delegate. While in this world we are on the tempter's ground. His agencies thickly play around us, and try us in every point of our character. If invulnerable in one part we are tried in another. Through them the best of men have been overtaken in faults. Once they turned the meek Moses into a creature of stormy wrath; the spiritually minded David into a hideous adulterer; the bold indomitable Peter into a contemptible coward. "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."
II. THAT THE TEMPTER OF OUR RACE INVARIABLY ACTS THROUGH THE AGENCY OF MAN. How did the tempting spirit appear to this prophet of Judah now? Not in the form of a serpent, as he appeared of old in Eden, nor in the form of an angel, but in the form of a MAN. The devil comes to man through man — acts on man by man. Look for the devil in man. Man is the tempter of man. The fact that man is the tempter of man shows:
1. The moral degradation of human nature. Man has become the tool of Satan. The false religionists, the hypocrites, the infidels, the blasphemers, the carnal, what are they? The instruments of the devil, to seduce and corrupt their fellow-men. Who shall destroy his works? There is One who can, and to Him we look, and in His all-conquering strength we trust. The fact that man is the tempter of man shows:
2. The necessity of constant watchfulness. In social circles be ever on your guard; be cautious as to the companionships you form, as to the books you read, as to the guides you follow.
III. THAT THE TEMPTER OF OUR RACE ALWAYS ASSUMES THE GARB OF GOODNESS. The temptation came to this "old prophet" not only through a man, but under the garb of piety.O that deceit should steal such gentle shapes!The fact that the tempter ever assumes the garb of goodness teaches:
1. The latent sympathy with virtue that still exists in human nature. If men had a natural sympathy with error as error, wrong as wrong, the devil need not disguise himself so. All the mis-showings, hypocrisies, hollow pretensions, in this false world, are a practical homage rendered to that sympathy with virtue and truth which still exists in human nature. The devil himself appeals to this in order to succeed. The fact that temptation works under the form of goodness teaches:
2. The importance of cultivating the habit of looking through appearances. "Things are not what they seem." Every man "walketh in a vain show." Brush off the varnish and examine the wood; ring the coin and test it; melt the metal and ascertain its worth. Believe no man because he says he is a prophet; trust no man because he says he is a Christian; yield to no man because he professes to love you.
IV. THAT THE TEMPTER OF OUR RACE GENERALLY BECOMES THE TORMENTOR OF HIS VICTIM. This tormenting conduct of tempters is:
1. A matter of necessity. A tempter is a sinner, and no sinner has any consolation to offer to a sinner.
2. Prophetic. It shows what must be the case for ever. The response of every appeal in the future world of misery, of the infidel to his agonised disciple, of the seducer to his tormented victim will be "What is that to us? see thou to that."
V. THAT THE TEMPTER OF OUR RACE ONCE YIELDED TO MAY ACCOMPLISH OUR RUIN. In the physical fate of this prophet we are reminded of two things:
1. The course of justice. That dead carcass lying in the wayside is an eloquent homily against sin. In it the voice of justice declares, with telling emphasis, that compliance even with the most plausible temptation is a sin, and that sin even in a good man, and a true prophet, must be punished. In the physical fate of this prophet we are reminded of:
2. The interposition of mercy. The ravenous lion, contrary to his instincts, instead of devouring his victim, stands over it as a kind guardian. Justice made that lion do so much, but mercy restrained him from doing more. Mercy triumphs over judgment. The philosophy of all human history is symbolised here. Justice goes with nature. It was the nature of the lion to destroy. Mercy interrupts the course of justice. It was contrary to the nature of the lion to guard rather than devour its victim.
VI. THAT THE TEMPTER OF OUR RACE IS COMPELLED TO DO HOMAGE TO THE VIRTUE HE HAS ASSAILED. There is not a being in the universe, even the prince of tempters, that is not bound by the laws of conscience to respect the virtue he seeks to destroy.
Parallel VersesKJV: He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him.
WEB: He said to him, "I also am a prophet as you are; and an angel spoke to me by the word of Yahweh, saying, 'Bring him back with you into your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.'" He lied to him.