In 1 Kings chapter 13, there is an example of a prophet, a man of God from Judah, who got a call from God and started it well, but finished it bad. This man of God was called to go to Beit-El, to Jeroboam, the king of Israel and to rebuke him for his rebellion against God and for deeds he led the people to sin of idolatry.
The prophet obeyed and left to his way. He met the king of Israel, while he was committing sin. The prophet rebuked him and then the king’s arm been hurt. God acted a miracle through the prophet and the king’s arm been healed. In recognition of this, the king invited him to his home to dine and to receive a reword. The prophet refused and said: “…If you were to give me half your house, I would not go in with you; nor would I eat bread nor drink water in this place. For so it was commanded me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘You shall not eat bread, nor drink water, nor return by the same way you came” (1 Kings 13:8-9).
So far, the prophet from Judah obeyed God’s call for him. After that, an old prophet from Beit-El heard from his son about what the man of God did in Beit-El, and asked to know in what way this man walked. He went and found the prophet from Judah “sitting under an Oak tree”. In a conversation that developed between them, the old prophet tempted him to come to his home and eat bread. The prophet from Judah initially refused, but the old prophet continued to tempt him with a lie – when he said: “…I too am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water’. ”He was lying to him” (verse 18). Here the man of God fell into the trap and been tempted to come to his home to drink and to eat. During that time, the old prophet told him: “And he cried out to the man of God who came from Judah, saying, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Because you have disobeyed the word of the Lord, and have not kept the commandment which the Lord your God commanded you, but you came back, ate bread, and drank water in the place of which the Lord said to you, “Eat no bread and drink no water,” your corpse shall not come to the tomb of your fathers.’ So it was, after he had eaten bread and after he had drunk, that he saddled the donkey for him, the prophet whom he had brought back. When he was gone, a lion met him on the road and killed him…” (verses 21-24).
The end of this event is very sad. The prophet from Judah died, because he didn’t obey God fully. Jeroboam, who probably heard about what happened didn’t turn from his evil way. “After this event Jeroboam did not turn from his evil way…” (verse 33).
God gave king Jeroboam a chance to repent, when He sent to him the prophet, to rebuke him. But the failure of the prophet from Judah caused the king’s failure. If the prophet from Judah would obey and complete the call God had given him to the end, maybe king Jeroboam would turn away from his sins and repent to God.
What is the conclusion of this event for us today? “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 peter 1:10-11). As believers, God’s chosen ones, we have a call from God to hold the faith and to obey God’s Word all the way to the end. As to these verses, we are called to be diligent and to strengthen this call, with deeds the Lord guides us to. Thus we will not fail and the way to the kingdom of God will be opened for us and thus we will be also beneficial tools in God’s hands for others. “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving” (Col. 2:6-7).
In our walk with the Lord, will come, temptations, false teachings in order to take us away from the right way, but we must be linked to our calling, to hold unto the complete Word of God and to obey Him with faith, up to the end of our journey to the kingdom of Heaven.
We must be careful not to be mislead by false teachings according to human wisdom. “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ (Col. 2:8).
In the Bible there are few scriptures which talking about, that we must hold on to the end. “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matt. 24:11-13).
“For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end” (Heb. 3:14).
“… whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end” (Heb. 3:6).
In the Bible there are examples of kings, kings of Judah, who started their way right, in a way of belief and confidence in God, but finished in a way of lack of obedience to God, which led them to fail and fail the other people:
King Asa – “Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God” (2 Chron. 14:1). But that’s not how he ended his life. He sinned when he turned to the king of Syria, for help with the war against Baasha, king of Israel, instead of turning to God for help. (2 Chron. 16:7-13). He did not trust God.
King Joash – “Joash did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest” (2 Chron. 24:2). Joash walked in the right way still Jehoiada the priest was alive and supported him. But after the priest died, Joash left God’s ways and turned to evil way. (2 Chron. 24:22-25). He was depended on man rather on God.
King Uzziah – “And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father Amaziah had done” (2 Chron. 26:4). He sinned when his heart was lifted up (pride) and he entered into the temple and wanted to burn incense on the altar. This was allowed only to the priests, the sons of Aaron, and then he was punished with the leprosy. He was leper until his death (2 Chron. 26: 16-21).
Today we have the teaching of the Word of God written in the Spirit of God that convicts, straightens and guides us to the right way, to the absolute truth of God. (2 Tim. 3:16-17).We must be linked to His Word, let Him works in our life and obey Him. “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure“ (Phil.2:12-13). He works in us not just to will, not just knowing His Word in our mind, but also to do as to His will – to obey His Word!
The enemy will try to deceive even us, God’s chosen ones, if we will let him. “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matt 24:24). Therefore, we must stand before Him steadfast in faith and to hold unto the truth of His Word. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world” (1 peter 5:8-9).
We must remember always: the Lord has reconciled us to Him through His death on the cross, in order to prepare us and to set us up before Him Holy and without blemish and fault. That will happen if we shall stand grounded and steadfast in faith, obey His Word to the end and not turn away from the hope of the Gospel, as it is written in His Word: “…yet now He has reconciled In the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven…” (Col. 1:21-23). The target of the Gospel in our life is – to bring glory to the Lord through the testimony of our life.
All of us are running the race to the heavenly target and we must proclaim, as our brother Paul proclaimed: “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14). Amen!