Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 13

A prophet’s responsibility

1 Kings 13:20-22

Often people think that, for God’s Spirit to work through a person, that person must be genuinely good and holy. They see God’s work in that person’s life as evidence that God approves of the person.

In our passage, the old man was a prophet, in other words, someone who declared messages from God. That is a truly great responsibility. He should have been a completely sincere person, who always declared truthfully his messages from God. However, in fact, he had just told a lie, to persuade the holy man from Judah to eat with him.

We might imagine that God would not speak through that man again. However, in fact, God speaks in the ways that he chooses. God can use even an evil person to do his work or to declare his message.

As the two men ate, God gave a genuine message to the old prophet from Bethel. It was a message of God’s judgement against the holy man from Judah. God had given to that holy man great responsibility to declare an important message about the future. God had given him clear instructions about how he must declare that message. However, the holy man from Judah had not obeyed God. He had chosen instead to please himself, to eat and drink in the place that he chose.

If he were not such a holy man, then perhaps God’s judgement would not have been so severe. However, God’s servants are responsible to him as their master. Therefore, the holy man would die before he reached his home in Judah.

Next part: The holy man does not turn back to God (1 Kings 13:23)


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