Beware of False Prophets (2)

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

Yesterday we started to discuss how God views false prophets who use his name to prophesy falsely. We see other accounts of false prophets in the Old Testament and one story of significance relates to a young prophet and an old prophet.

There was a King at that time in Israel who built golden calves for the people to worship and an altar for the people to sacrifice. A young prophet came out of Judah and prophesied against the altar. The King stretched out his hand to give the commandment for his men to seize the prophet. The King’s hand dried and the altar was torn down just as the man of God foretold (1 King 13:1-5).

The King begged the prophet to pray for his hand to be restored and he did and his hand was healed. The King was so grateful that he begged the prophet to return to his house for a meal and to be refreshed. The prophet declined and explained to the King that God had warned him not to eat or drink with anyone, but to return to his own home.

An old prophet was told the story about the young prophet. He went on his way to meet him, convinced him that he was also a prophet who had heard from God. He told him that God said it was ok for him to eat. The young prophet agreed and while he was eating in the old prophet’s home, God spoke to the old prophet. The revelation was that the young prophet would die on his way home because of his disobedience (1 King 13: 6-22)

As it turns out, the young prophet was killed on the way home by a lion. The story reinforces the point that we need to hear from God for ourselves. Did the old prophet lie or was he testing the young prophet to see whether he would obey God or listen to man? The reality is that the scripture does say that the word of the Lord came to the old prophet concerning the young prophet’s disobedience. Either way, he had clear instructions from God concerning what he needed to do and he caused an old prophet to tempt him into disobedience.

Forget about people’s titles because none of that impresses God. “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man” (Psalm 118:8).

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