Honestly, reading this passage angered me!
(Quick Summary for those who are unfamiliar with the passage). As I followed the journey of this Prophet (only identified from his location), I admired his courage and obedience, as he stood before Jeroboam and delivered the prophecy given to him. Furthermore, we watch as Jeroboam, angered by the prophecy, lifted his hand against the messenger of God and discovered it to be a bad idea! The prophet is defended and protected by the Lord, and is obedient in that he refuses to eat and drink with the King who was in rebellion to the Lord. He was obedient in taking a different route, and on said route was confronted by an older prophet who lied to him, claiming that the Lord had instructed him differently. He listens to the older prophet, and thus finds himself disobedient, and suffers death by an attack of a lion!
I was angered because the young prophet, in respect of the older prophet listened, trusted and followed him. I know, The Lord gave him STRICT INSTRUCTIONS!!!! I know! I know! I know!!!! BUT…….His journey was interrupted by an older prophet, who commanded him to return with him, under the authority of the LORD. His claim was that an Angel of the Lord sent him, much like he was sent by the Lord with a message to Jeroboam. In defense of this young prophet, WHO would dare give a WORD in the name of the LORD when it wasn’t given from Him?
I know, The LORD gave him STRICT INSTRUCTIONS!!!! I know! I know! I know!!!! BUT the Older Prophet lied to him!!! The young Prophet knew to fear the LORD and assumed that the older Prophet would too, thus he believed his fellow servant. It seems in all this, the old Prophet should have been punished for leading the young prophet astray, but instead, the young Prophet was punished for listening to his elder.
Is this fair? I know, The LORD gave him STRICT INSTRUCTIONS!!!! I know! I know! I know!!!!
Have you even been mislead? Have you ever been mislead by someone you Trusted? Someone you Respected?
It turns out, that the first task was to Speak to Jeroboam, and the second task was to not to listen to the Old Prophet. God knew that their paths would cross. He knew that the Prophet would seek him, and lie to him!
Could it be that the LORDS instruction to not eat or drink in the Bethel was an instruction specifically to keep him from dining with the old Prophet. Seeing as though he was in the city of Jeroboam, one could suggest that he was not chosen by the LORD to deliver the message because He had demonstrated in the past the same characteristic that he displayed to the young Prophet on the road. It could be that the Lord was protecting the young Prophet not just from being on Jeroboams payroll, but from the influence and mentorship of a servant who had misused his power and position for his well being.
Though unfortunate; the LORD holds us responsible for the WORD that He gave to us. In our time with God, He prepares us for our journey, and for the events and encounters we will have in pursuit of being obedient to the assignment He gives us. Though He doesn’t announce and or give specifics to the exams, we can all attest to the fact that God prepares us, and we are armed with enough to conquer all we encounter.
I found it most interesting that the LORD protected the young Prophet twice in the passage, once in front of Jeroboam, and the second on the side of the road with the Lion. Though the Lion killed him, he was assigned to protect the corpse until the older Prophet retrieved him and gave him a proper burial.
All in all, I contend that the worst part of the last moments of the young Prophets life was not death by the Lion, but receiving word of his death from the very person who mislead Him.
I named this blog, “And Now a Word from our Sponsor” because of the scene under the oak tree. It reminded me of the interruptions we experience while watching our favorite programing. Advertisers use these moments to sway us to purchase their products, often exaggerating and or falsely advertising their performance and usefulness. They pressure the viewer into purchasing in a small window, because they are aware that the more thought spent on contemplating the purchase, the less likely the viewer is to make purchase. They use as many false testimonies and also claim to be recommended by experts in the field, who are actors and actresses paid to play a role in convincing the audience to purchase the item. We must not make choices hastily, because quick decisions often lead to our destruction.